Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown


“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

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.


First, I want to say I love using Overdrive. It allows me to rent ebooks from my local library and I have already read 5-6 fantastic books by using this service. Yes, I would be happier if I owned all the books I read but overall I am so satisfied with using Overdrive. I haven’t actually had a chance to just rent a ton of books because I already own so many I want to read first, but I put a reserve on a few popular books and get notified when they become available, sometimes I have to wait weeks and forget that I even put them on hold. Red Rising was one of those books. It wasn’t on my TBR for October although it was a book I wanted to read at some point. When I got notified it was available at the library, I had to read it right away and I am so happy I did. Red Rising just became a strong contender for my favorite YA dystopian book.

Before I even started Red Rising, I was attracted to the book for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons was that Darrow is a male protagonist and the author is male. I love my YA books, but they are heavily dominated by female authors and protagonists and it was nice to see a little variety. While I have to admit the premise didn’t sounds incredibly original from the synopsis, the world was well-constructed, detailed and frankly, quite brilliant. People in Darrow’s world are of different classes based on their colors. The highest color, Golds, rule the others. They are considered to be stronger and smarter and have had years of breeding and genetic enhancements to support that. Each color has a job- violets are the artists, pinks serve people in terms of pleasure, yellows are the doctors and scientists, and so on.

Darrow is a Red. Reds are part of the lowest caste and are used solely for manual labor. He is a Helldiver on Mars and has a dangerous job of helping his people farm helium-3 in hopes of making the landscape livable for future generations. While Darrow’s life is hard, he knows he is a pioneer and his sacrifices will not go unnoticed. He is married to his love, Eo, and hopes to provide her with a good life. A series of catastrophic events bring Darrow to the horrific realization that his colony of Reds are not, in fact, the first people on Mars.

“The terraforming is complete. This is the future. It should not be this way for many generations. My life is a lie.”

Darrow is devastated. He comes into contact with a rebel group called the Sons of Ares and they share their plan for a revolution against the Golds and societal structure. They also share their plan for Darrow’s integral role in the revolution. Darrow must infiltrate the Institute where they train the Golds as a Gold himself. I feel like I’m not sharing anything that’s not already in the synopsis, don’t worry! Darrow’s transformation into a tool to be used by the revolution is both brilliant and terrifying. I felt so conflicted throughout the story- I was angry at the suffocating structure of Darrow’s society and I wanted to bring down the Golds for how cruel they were, but then as Darrow starts to form relationships with other Golds I forgot they are supposed to be the enemy.

Much of the story has heart-pounding action in a game of survival that has a very Lord of the Flies, Hunger Games feel, but is still a unique story of its own. I was absolutely enthralled by the action, the characters and the environment throughout the entire book. I was on the edge of my seat and I had absolutely no idea what would happen next. I haven’t been this excited to read the next book in a series in a long time. I cannot wait to pick up Golden Son!

Did you enjoy Red Rising? Have you read the entire series? Tell me in the comments!




14 thoughts on “Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown”

  1. Great review Alex!!! Red Rising is one of my all time favorite trilogies!!! Each book after is just better than the last & it’s one of few series I’ve read that wrapped up well. I hope you enjoy the rest of this series. I’ve actually seen this series in the adult sci-fi section but can see, based on the characters ages why it might also fall under the YA umbrella 😊💕


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