What’s your favorite color? Listen this week to hear if Robert and Bryan see red when they review Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Darrow is a Red, the lowest caste in a color-coded society of the future. He works all day in the mines so his descendants can live a better life. Or so he thinks. When he learns the Reds have been betrayed by the top level Golds, Darrow must sacrifice everything to infiltrate the Institute, a proving ground for the Golds. With blood on his hands and in his past, Darrow will do anything to bring down his enemies: even if he has to become one of them to succeed.
Red Rising is by Pierce Brown
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Robert) What a wild ride! I love sci-fi and intrigue and Red Rising has it in spades. Every page seemed to have a twist and turn, once past the initial setup (which was hardly slow). I couldn’t stop reading it!
2. (Bryan) Wow. We’ve read a lot of books that borrow elements from the Hunger Games. This one actually improves upon the original. Color me impressed.
3. (Robert) It’s quite an “alpha male” story with very intense violence and explicit gore, not for the faint-hearted. There’s sexual content too, so this is for an older, 16+ YA reader. Best book I’ve read this year, and if you love sci-fi AND an intense thriller-style battle of wits, this is for you.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Robert) The entire story is told from first-person, present tense POV (Darrow’s, obviously). For a book this length (130k words) and to maintain the suspense without us knowing what any other character is planning, means that we experience Darrow’s decisions and plans and understanding of his enemies all through his own thoughts, with not a misstep in the author’s direction. You roll with Darrow’s mistakes (sometimes grave misjudgments), and feel his wins. Magnificently done.
2. (Bryan) How do you enhance the Hunger Games formula? Develop all the characters even more, add several hundred people to the games, make the people who run the game active in the proceedings. He really nailed it.
3. (Bryan) A reluctant hero living for his wife’s dream living in a surgically enhanced body and sent to a school that tests his will. Darrow is very interesting, and it was awesome being in his head for 16 hours (8 hours on double time).
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. Who would have thought another Mars-based sci-fi setting could be such an original take (despite the 1-star nay-sayers, who reckon it’s all been done before).
2. If you’re going to tell a familiar story, tell it better. Go deeper. Take it to the next level.
3. The Roman-style political intrigue and family-feuding is not at all boring, but Shakespearean in its application. I (Robert) wish I’d written this book, and I’m going to stop writing now, because I’ll never be this good 🙁
Prompt of the Week:
What would you do if your the purpose of your people was revealed to be a lie? Would you rebel against your powerful overlords or continue to live out your untruthful existence and why?