Review: Red Rising

0345539788_01_LZZZZZZZRed Rising is the beginning of a trilogy from the debut author, Pierce Brown. The story takes place on Mars, far into the future. The society on Mars is constructed into castes, and Darrow, our main character is the lowest, a Red. Darrow is also a Helldiver, a person that controls a large drill in the bowels of Mars to mine an element, Helium-3. The Reds are under the impression that the mining teams are finding this element so that one day the surface of Mars will be in a livable condition for the weaker castes.

Darrow is 16 years old, but is nothing like teens in other novels; living in this Dystopian society, being a Red and a Helldiver, have made him hardened and able to make difficult decisions. When Darrow’s wife, Eo, shows Darrow proof that the higher castes have been lying, and the surface of Mars has been livable for quite a while, they are captured and punished by the police caste, the Gray. Eo is ultimately killed (this happens in the first 100 pages of the book). Eo’s death becomes Darrow’s driving force to find a way to punish the higher caste, the Gold, for their many lies to the Reds.

For the majority of the rest of the novel, Darrow joins a resistance force to take down the Gold, attends a prestigious school, and competes in a deathly tournament. There are going to be some comparisons between Red Rising and The Hunger Games because of the tournament, however, before I read Red Rising, The Hunger Games was one of my favorite young adult books. But, when I read Red Rising, this quickly became my favorite book.

If the notion of learning the castes seems overwhelming, a detailed and interesting book website has been created that will give you information about the world that has been created for this novel. (

Darrow’s journey from a lowly Red and his love for Eo will pull at your heartstrings, and Eo’s death will pull you right along with Darrow in his quest for vengeance. I have heard complaints from others that there is info-dumping and it becomes slow at times, but I never experienced this when I read this. When I first read this book, it became one that I wanted to read at all hours of the day. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Darrow and jump into the world that Pierce Brown has created.

This is an amazing debut by Pierce Brown and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the rest of Darrow’s journey. This is a novel that I simply cannot recommend enough.

Red RisingMackin Picks by Pierce Brown. 9780345539786. Gr. 9-12. 

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