Review – Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce BrownDarrow is a driller, a Red — a member of the lowest class of humanity — living below the surface of Mars toiling in hot tunnels all for the greater good of human civilization. A displaced person of a conquered Earth, he’s among the settlers mining the precious minerals that will be used to make the surface habitable for future generations. He’s always stretching the limits of what he can do, knowing he’s the best driller in his group and wanting to prove it. What he really wants though is to win the laurel and be able to provide more food for his family.

Just when Darrow thinks he’s won the laurel, everything changes. His wife opens his eyes to another world — a world he didn’t know existed and one he wishes he could instantly forget. When his wife is sentenced to death for showing Darrow the surface world, and the truth about class distinctions, his life shatters. Sentenced to death days after his wife’s public hanging, Darrow finds death isn’t so easy to come by. Taken in by a rebel group, he becomes part of the revolution — transforming into a Gold, the highest class of society on Mars, to infiltrate and bring down the system from the inside. With his wife’s death as motivation, Darrow assimilates into Gold society learning to live among the decadent and immoral people he didn’t know existed, and couldn’t even imagine in his previous life. He’s physically changed through surgery, learns a new language, and becomes, for all purposes, a new person — a person who must now win a game to find revenge for his wife, and his family.

When children are of age, the Golds enroll their children in an institute where survival is more than just an academic term. In order to earn sought after positions in society, the Golds fight their way through a game of life and death, all striving to be at the top. Darrow understands very little about the people and situation he’s been thrown into but quickly takes to the game becoming one of the most conniving and fierce players the institute has ever seen. His unpredictable nature works for and against him propelling him to an end he seeks but doesn’t necessarily want.

Darrow understands the game better than any of the other students and has much more at stake. He’s also slightly unlikable and unreliable. He knows who he is at heart but he also knows he needs to be a killer to survive. He has no problem holding himself above the others believing that what he’s doing is for a greater good. Darrow is now a man with a purpose even if he’s a man who no longer recognizes himself. He’s internalized being a Gold — he’s dark, cold, and mysterious to those around him.

This game that’s being played among the students, and the Gold society in general, is just brutal. You quickly understand the players and what they need to do to survive and even though some are thoroughly unlikable, you like them anyway because the situation is absolutely vile. Reading this book is like watching a fight to the death cage match. Brown’s Mars is a dark and unforgiving place where death is always close, especially for Reds like Darrow.

It happens but I wish it wouldn’t — book comparisons. This book is a mix of things — The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and The Lord of the Flies. There’s a competition among the students, it takes place on Mars, and well, in the end, it is mass chaos; students killing students all in the name of winning a game that can’t be won. What that means for the reader is that time will disappear as soon as the first page is read, because once you start, you’re not going to put this book down until the end.

Red Rising is the first book in a planned trilogy.

In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. The above review was done for the Book Reporter which can be found here. The book was provided to me by the publisher.

Red Rising

Pierce Brown

Del Rey

ISBN: 9780345539786

 

Travel, again…

Actually, I’m quite happy about this trip as it’s a vacation! I’m sad to be missing this week’s Republic of Thieves Read Along (Little Red Reviewer is hosting this week, so go visit on Monday) but I’m already looking forward to the catch up session and the fact that I get to read two sections for the next highly anticipated discussion. Cross country plane ride, I am ready for you!

I know it’s been quiet here, but I promise once I finish the class I’m taking, there will be discussion. I will bore you with all I now know. No, I really won’t I promise.

Anyway, read on!

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The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 2

The Shadow of the SunWeek two of The Shadow of the Sun read along. nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness is hosting and if you’re interested in joining us, the schedule is here.

This week, chapters 8-15.

1) Ellion has quite a mystery on his hands with yet the third assassination attempt. The assassin is the same dude, and once ‘dead’, he proceeds to disappear once again. What do you make of this elusive, reappearing, dead guy assassin?

The reappearing dead guy assassin is starting to freak me out. Ellion needs to whack off his head the next time he appears, because obviously, he’s coming back for him. I want to know what Ellion did because he seems to have really annoyed someone for them to go through the trouble of sending this guy after him, repeatedly. They obviously want him dead and seem more than willing to try, try again.

2) Throughout this section, Ellion and Amien have several exchanges of words. Did you have the urge to ask them politely, yet firmly, to step out back and settle the matter for the duration of the trip?

Or swat them upside the head. Obviously, these two are living a bit in the past and what happened between them.They really should share this with the group, and by sharing with the group I mean me, so that way we can all move on. Actually, I’m really curious about what happened between these two. I feel as though Ellion let Amien down but I think it goes slightly deeper than that as well.

3) The Tanaan suffered a great loss in the past, calling it The Deluge, believing it to have been brought upon them by a wrathful goddess. Do you believe this Deluge was due to a goddess striking a disobedient people? What could the Tanaan have done to warrant such action?

I greatly dislike the idea of a god this vengeful but it makes for interesting reading. Would a god do this to its people? I don’t know but let’s just say that if I were the Tannan, I’d avoid this place and never bring up anything having to do with it. Ellion, blundering his way onward, brings it up and can’t seem to let go until scathing looks are sent his way — the only clue as to his social inadequacies. I actually wanted him to keep asking questions because there’s something very interesting about a god like this one but he was stifled, after stepping on a few toes.

4) The Tanaan are use to fighting in tourneys, one-on-one, and not in formations with team goals. How do you think they will take to Ellion’s attempts to school them in real combat tactics?

If he can convince them that learning fighting tactics will help them protect the Mora, then I think they’ll be open to learning. Of course, that’s if Ellion can keep his mouth shut and treat everyone with respect while doing it. I’m not so sure he’ll be able to keep his mouth shut. It opens before his brain starts the processing.

5) Letitia has been wearing her mother’s diamond on her torc, which turns out was a gift from Amien. He crafted it himself and says it is a tool. What kind of tool do you think it is?

I’m suspicious of Amien and Letitia’s mother. Obviously, they had a close relationship but now I’m wondering how close. Amien thinks Ellion isn’t being honest but he needs to knock off the games too and come clean.

6) What is up with the Tuaoh Stone having a strong reaction to Ellion?
Ellion is much more powerful than he lets on or, me thinks, understands. I’m not sure he can handle the power either and maybe that’s why Amien is pissed at him. Obviously, Ellion has some power not even he’s aware of at this point or he’s aware and trying to avoid. I think he’s hiding a lot.

Easter

I had grand blogging plans for today but those plans have been tossed. We have people arriving soon for Easter dinner. A turkey is in the oven and sides are going in soon. It’s been a busy morning but a good one so far.

If you’re celebrating today, best wishes for a happy Easter with family and friends.

Tomorrow, blog things will happen!

Lazy Sunday

Do you ever have one of those days where all you want to do is stay cozied up in bed with a book? That’s me today and that’s what I’m actually doing. It’s just me and a copy of Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill. Monsters, wizards, djinn, and fairies all acting badly. So good. Yay for a lazy Sunday afternoon and a good book.

Happy Sunday. Enjoy whatever you’re doing, wherever you are.

Long Books

We all have them on our shelf, and in some cases, we avoid these books because of their size. We don’t want to carry them around (Let’s face it, my shoulder would be in much better shape if I didn’t lug 1,000 page books with me everywhere.), we don’t want to spend weeks reading them when there are so many other books out there waiting to be read, or whatever your reasons are.

For the past 10 days +, I’ve been reading The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I finished it last night and now feel bereft but I’m going to leave that for the review. In terms of size, it’s 1,000 pages, exactly. It’s a very large book, a very heavy book, but an incredible book. I sometimes wonder how editors let books like this one through the editorial process, but after having read all 1,000 pages of this one, I know why. Rothfuss is a talented writer and the way he tells this story cannot be told any other way. Well, I imagine it could but the impact wouldn’t be the same. Epic. Yes, it is. Meandering. Yes, that too. Engrossing. Most definitely yes.

I bought this book months ago after finishing the first book, The Name of the Wind. I had plans to start it but the size put me off for a bit. I needed time to read this one and it never seemed to be the right time to start it. I decided that the New Year was the time. Clean slate and all that.

It’s not the only humongous book waiting for me either —- A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin has been on hold for over a year now. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is another.

One thing I know, I will be picking up a much smaller book after I finish this one. I love being so engrossed in a story that it seems no other book can exist beyond the world of this one, but when that last page passes, it will be time for something that I can walk away from in a day and feel lighter for it. My shoulder will thank me.

What say you, thoughts on long books? What appeals? Keeps you away?

A Note About a Small Press

Back in December, Elizabeth from Darkcargo asked if anyone would be interested in helping out a small press with a little bloggy love. I googled and liked what I saw. Mercury Retrograde Press publishes the types of books I read, so naturally, I agreed. I thought of several ways to help out — maybe a read along, a post about the press, maybe interviews with the authors, reviews, etc. But first, I wanted to read the books.

In thinking of ways to help get the word out, I was planning to ask for a few review copies. Then I decided not to. No, I would buy these books. If I’m going to help out, buying books seems the most logical. The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish and Secret of the Sands by Leona Wisoker are now officially part of my to read list. I plan to pick up There Was a Crooked Man by Edward Morris soon too. Since there is a self-imposed book buying ban in place at my house (we have no more room) these are ebooks but I’m considering a hardcopy of There Was a Crooked Man which was the only reason this book wasn’t purchased along with the others.

I plan to start The Shadow of the Sun in the next few weeks, and if you’re looking for a new book to read, why not join me? I’m not looking to do a formal read along but I think it would be great to discuss this book with a few like-minded readers. And in the process, you’ll be helping out a small press. Think on it.

Info you need:

UPDATE:

A few things are going to happen including a read along of The Shadow of the Sun which is tentatively planned for April. More info about the read along will be available at Dab of Darkness. You can also find more info at Darkcargo who will be keeping track of things. I’m going to be doing something as well but I’m keeping that a secret for now, at least till we confirm everything. More to come…