Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Hey guys so I haven't done a book review in a while, not because I haven't been reading but mainly because I forget / am so excited to start the next book that I don't want to review it. However, I've banned myself from starting new books under the pledge that I'm going to review them all!

So I'm starting with my latest read: Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I discovered this whilst perusing the Kindle Store. It was on offer at something like 99p (result) and sounded like something I'd enjoy. Before I start up a spoiler section I'll give you guys the synopsis and tell y'all my general thoughts.


The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
Break the chains. Live for more.


So that's the synopsis, intriguing right?! Well I thought so too, and it was to be honest! All in all I did enjoy this book, I had a few problems that we'll discuss in a bit but in general very enjoyable. If I had to rate this I'd give it a 3.5 stars and a 63%. If you don't mind minor spoilers I'll talk about why I gave that rating below.


The first 25% of the book was the best, because frankly there was the most variety of plot. A vast amount of the story occurs in the Institute where the storyline is incredibly repetitive. This did cause - dare I say - boredom at some points. Which was a shame because there was so much potential. However I'm encouraged by the fact that apparently the second book has a lot more of a story arc - and I'll definitely be reading it! 

I would also say that the world is very complex. To be honest it felt more 'alternate universe' than a realistic telling of humanity's future. The multiple colours used to group society was confusing and at parts I felt it contradicted itself. Initially I believed the whole point of being Gold was to be the best, to be secure from the perils of society as a lower class. I sort of pictured it like the Capitol in The Hunger Games. But as the book progressed I felt the Golds were (at the Institute) treated just as poorly as the Reds. 

All in all it was a very miserable book. A lot of deaths, a lot of war and hardly much else. Like I said above, a shame, because it had a lot of potential as a book.

Now onto a more in-depth analysis. If you haven't read it I wouldn't read on as some hefty spoilers occur. Maybe I've convinced you that you want to read it and I'll see you soon! 


Right let's go back to the very beginning. Darrow is a 16 year old boy (already married!) who works in the mines as a Helldiver. Now I'm going to be completely honest and say that I still have no idea what that means except its very dangerous and lot's of people die. In fact I don't think Reds live very long (like 40 years) so that probably explains why they marry so young. 

Eo is his wife. I knew there would probably be a big plot twist which, in the end would result in her death as we can't start the story with a happy ending. Our protagonist needed a catalyst to turn him from society-obeying to society-hating. I wasn't too gutted about her death as frankly we only knew her for about twenty pages before she was gone. 

It was, in fact after this point that the story really began to pick up. As soon as Darrow escaped hanging and was taken to Dancer and Micky etc I was hooked. The whole process of turning him Gold was my absolute favourite part. I wished it had lasted longer and had been less rushed as all the operations were very essential to learning about the physical and mental differences between classes. If this had been addressed I think I would have been less confused when they eventually got to the Institute. 

However after this it all went a bit downhill... Because let's just say it: Darrow is insufferable. He's an absolute perfect main character, incredibly smart, alluring, charismatic. With very little training he manages to get an almost perfect score in his Institute test, and proceeds to lead throughout the whole process. I also felt as the story progressed he lost a lot of his humanity and in turn I didn't really connect with him as a main character.

Upon arriving at the Institute they were all split into Hogwarts-esque houses. Mars, Apollo, Jupiter etc. However it all got very unHogwarts when they had to murder another member of the house. Like crikey, can you imagine Neville Vs Harry in a side room to the Gryffindor common room?! That's what it felt like! And it was unfortunate because I really connected with Julian. He would have been a good friend and a bit of light amusement because let's be real NONE of the characters had a sense of humour at all.

After all that drama I hoped that they could just settle down into some nice classes. Like Hogwarts on Mars. Apparently not. After being shipped off into a Hunger Games style arena (did anyone else think that Pierce Brown just stole a tonne of ideas of other authors and mashed them together?!) it was revealed that they had to fight one another until one house became victorious.

Naturally Darrow, as boy wonder, soon became in charge of House Mars with his loyal buddy Cassius at his side. Ahhh Cassius, after Julian you were my favourite character and I'm still pissed that they ended up hating each other. 

But the whole arena part was my main problem with this book. It took up a good 70% and was incredibly repetitive. Attacks house, takes slaves, retreats, attacks house, steals castle, has argument, fights some more. And pretty much nothing else happened. 

APART FROM THE DEATHS. Like literally as soon as I started to like a character, guess what?! They were killed off. It was so annoying to read as it just made me more and more frustrated. At the end of the book Sevro (I think that was his name!) was the only character I liked left. 

Oh and before I go we have to talk about Mustang, the main female love interest. Hmm not a fan gotta say. I didn't warm to her, she was a bit of a bitch at times and generally just annoyed me. I didn't ship her with Darrow at all, (I liked Evey, remember her?!) she was better suited to Cassius in my opinion. 

So that's it really! I wasn't overwhelmed! If you've read this book, do share a comment or two below because I'd love to here your thoughts!



  1. This sounds really interesting but I don't think it's my type of book!
    Charlotte // charlottespicks.blogspot.com

    1. It was interesting - or at least it has the ability to become interesting! Fair enough, not everyone is into dystopian xx


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