Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I read until my eyes blurred into oblivion for a reason other than wanting to finish the book and move onto the next. So imagine my surprise when I picked up Red Rising by Pierce Brown and actually freakin’ loved it.
The least surprising thing about this is what drove me to the book–it’s set on MARS. As I’ve mentioned time and again, I have a love affair with the red planet. What started with Red Planet and spread with Total Recall, one thing is certain: If you set a book or a movie or a game on Mars, I WILL BUY IT.
P.S. If anyone is interested, I still want to start Tars Talkin’: the Mars-cast. We can discuss the name. Briefly.
But back to the book. It starts with Darrow, a young Helldiver–cool–that has spent his entire life mining helium-3 for the purpose of terraforming Mars for colonization. At this point, I was already hooked. In my opinion, this was enough material to write a book. Just tell me about Darrow and his clan spitting and pissing and dancing their way to earning the Laurel and I’m set.
But then all hell breaks loose.
Within days of losing his wife, Darrow learns that Mars has been colonized for years. Decades. And the powers that be just felt like keeping him and his people underfoot.
Again, this is enough of a twist that M. Night Shyamalan could have gotten two movies out of it. Yet, this is relatively the first few pages of what’s to come for Darrow.
What happens next is a tension-riddled bullet train straight to the highest ranks of dystopian society. To describe Darrow’s rise as meteoric isn’t doing it justice. And you’re there for every heart-pounding second of it.
Where Katniss rebels, Darrow infiltrates. Where Ender plays, Darrow kills. I love Ender’s Game. Love it. For years, it’s been the pinnacle of
young adult fiction. So imagine my gut-wrenching guilt when describing Red Rising to a friend, I said the words “it makes Ender’s Game look like a coloring book.”
This is Lord of the Flies in space. This is Hunger Games all growed up. This ain’t hand-brushes in the park, and cheeks blushing from across the room–this is bloody, sweaty, raw entertainment, while somehow still retaining the grace of a political thriller.
If you want a reading experience equivalent to waiting for the next episode of Lost, this is it. If your foot was constantly going for the gas pedal while reading Hunger Games, this is your book. And if you want a world so well thought-out, so established, that you don’t have to question whether not it exists, pick up a copy of Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
In his acknowledgements, Pierce Brown says you’re going to bloodydamn love this book. It would almost be arrogance if it wasn’t so freaking true.