Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Setting: Space: Mars and other planets, sometime in the future
My copies came from: I purchased the three books from Amazon.
Review: Intense and violent, with characters you won’t soon forget. I loved this trilogy, but I don’t recommend it to everyone.
The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown is comprised of the books Red Rising, Golden Son, and Morning Star. All three books are fast-paced and full of violence, action, and strategy. Think The Hunger Games but with a whole galaxy at stake, not just people on earth.
First off, I’ll start with the world building of the series. You are thrust into this world, and I thought it was very well done. Practically every detail was thought of, and there would be things mentioned briefly and then never mentioned again, and this had the mark of an in-depth world that Pierce Brown has built. There were parts where I was confused, as the different terms were never explained, so I had difficulty picturing what certain things looked like.
I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.
Where I thought this series really excelled was in the characters. Told from the POV of Darrow, we only see into his mind, and he was a captivating lead. With great potential for evil as well as good, you feel his struggle once he begins incorporating into the world of the Golds, and makes friendships. While I liked Darrow, and thought he was fascinating, my favorite character was Sevro, a Gold who is crass (he is seriously so gross sometimes!) and obnoxious, but has a loyal heart. I enjoyed Darrow and Sevro’s friendship, and liked reading their interactions and liked reading about Sevro’s Howlers (his crew that he leads). Other favorites of mine were Cassius, a Gold who Darrow has an up-and-down friendship with, and also Ragnar, an Obsidian Stained (basically he was bred to be a warrior), who first appears in book two, Golden Son. Another favorite of mine was Victra, a fierce female Gold who is a friend of Darrow’s and arrives on the scene in book two. There are many characters, both good and bad, who were great on the page. Some characters are there very briefly, but their impact is lasting.
In terms of characters I didn’t like, there is the Jackal, a Gold who is pure evil. He reminded me of a more strategically minded Ramsay Bolton from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. So yeah, just a bad guy all around! But, even though he is such a bad character, he brought interest and an air of unpredictability to the page, which I could appreciate.
One character that I just could not stand at all was Mustang, a Gold girl whom Darrow forms a connection with. Yes, she is highly intelligent, capable, strong, and kind, but there was something about her that I didn’t like. I just found her irritating and frustrating, and I wanted Darrow to stay away from her!
In another life, you would have been one of my sons, Darrow. I would have found you earlier, before whatever happened that filled you with this rage. I would not have raised you to be a great man. There is no peace for great men. I would have had you be a decent one. I would have given you the quiet strength to grow old with the woman you love.
In terms of the action, this book is exceedingly violent. There is warfare-type violence (fighting, explosions, etc), but there’s also torture, maiming, cannibalism, and many other violent acts that are not shied away from. The violence was almost too much for me, and there was so much action that I was confused during many of the action scenes. There’s just so much going on that I had trouble following who was shooting what/where, and who was doing what.
When the action slows down is when, I think, the books really shine. There is a lot of strategy in the books, and there are many great conversation scenes between the different characters. As I mentioned above, I particularly liked Darrow and Sevro’s interactions. I just really loved Sevro, as gross as he could be!
There are lots of twists and turns in this series, so much so that at the ending I felt like it was too much twisting, and certain twists were overdone (hard to specify without spoiling the series). Some twists I figured out, other twists I was taken aback by, and I will say that if you start this series, be sure that you have book three, Morning Star, in hand before finishing up book two, Golden Son. Because the ending to Golden Son has a heck of a cliffhanger, and you’ll want to dive into Morning Star right away.
If it is not me, someone else will rise. Ten years from now. Fifty. A thousand. We will break the chains, no matter the cost. You cannot stop us. We are the tide.
So, should you read this series? I’d say yes, provided you can handle violence. Oh and there is swearing in this book as well. The language was something I really noticed in book one, Red Rising, and then kinda stopped noticing the longer I read the series. The violence factor is really the only thing stopping me from recommending it to everyone. Not all readers can handle this unflinching violence. I’d say it is more violent than The Hunger Games series, so if that was too much for you, then this definitely would be! But if you can handle the violence, give this series a try, as the characters are unforgettable. And I was SO excited to flip past the ending of book three and see an ad for a new book, Iron Gold, set ten years after the ending of Morning Star, that will be released in the US in January.
Bottom Line: Fast-paced and violent, with unforgettable characters. I loved it!
Have you read The Red Rising Trilogy? Which of the books is your favorite? Who is your favorite character? Are you excited for Iron Gold? Which characters do you hope make an appearance in the next adventure?