Series Review: The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown (Red Rising, Golden Son, & Morning Star)


Official Synopsis of the first book in the trilogy, Red Rising, from Goodreads: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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!

Links for Red Rising on   Amazon  Goodreads

Links for Golden Son on  Amazon    Goodreads

Links for Morning Star on  Amazon  Goodreads

Links for Iron Gold on  Amazon  Goodreads

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?


28 thoughts on “Series Review: The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown (Red Rising, Golden Son, & Morning Star)

    1. Yay! So glad there’s another Victra fan out there 🙂 I love her! Can’t wait for Iron Gold. I’m hoping we get to see Lysander again. His story would be interesting, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve mentioned many times before how I try to avoid series because there’s so much that could go wrong! What if I finish book #2, but book #3 isn’t out yet and I have to wait, which makes me forget everything I read in books #1 and #2? What if I read book #1 and I hate it, but everyone tells me the series really picks up with book #2 and I get stuck reading it? There is so much time devoted to reading a series! *whew*

    Just this morning I was looking through Mira Grant books and trying to figure out whether or not I should dip my toe in. She has two trilogies, one about zombies and the other about parasites. She has a deadly mermaid book, so I thought I would try that one, but I learned there is a 2nd book coming out, so I’m assuming it’s going to be a trilogy! Oh, and she’s one of those authors who writes a trilogy and then adds a bunch of 0.5 books. Am I ranting? I think I’m ranting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I go back and forth with series. I get really frustrated with cliffhanger endings, and then I forget what happened in previous books and feel like I need to re-read to get back into them. So, I was glad that with this series the three books are already out. I think the 4th book here is a spinoff and feels like a start to another series.
      OOh deadly mermaids? Interesting!


    1. Yay for Sevro and Ragnar! I loved them both, but my favorite is definitely Sevro. I’m so excited for January! I hope for more information on Lysander. I think his story could be really interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I adored this series!! You are right though, it is violent and brutal (necessarily I think though, for the kind of story it is telling) so I guess it’s not for everyone. The characters really were one of its greatest strengths as you said, and I loved Sevro too.

    I actually really enjoyed most of the twists, but – and without being specific to try and avoid spoiling anything – the very final twist/surprise (i.e. the one in the last few paragraphs of Morning Star) was the one I had an issue with as it felt kind of unnecessary and too happily-ever-after for my liking… but that’s probably just my personal preference showing through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that bit at the end was a bit much. Although, I did like it, and the happiness it brought, it was as you say, “too happily-ever-after”. I had trouble with all the dead/not-dead reveals. It just seemed like that was played one too many times.
      This is a series that I keep thinking about – I’m really looking forward to Iron Gold when it is released in January!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah true some of the dead/not-dead reveals were a bit of a stretch, but because I was so relieved to find certain people were not dead I kind of forgave them 🙂

        Oh wow, I didn’t even know he was starting a spin off series!! Thanks for informing me, Iron Gold is now on my to-read list 😀 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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