Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Red Rising
by Pierce Brown
Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Del Rey, 2014
E-book, purchased
416 pages
16 hours, 12 minutes
Grade: A-
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

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

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

She kisses my cheek. ‘Then you must live for more.”


Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.


  • Excellent book. It went places I wasn’t expecting.
  • Excellent narrator. I really enjoyed the audio version of this book.
  • An amazing debut book.
  • The world building is excellent. We don’t find out all the whys and wherefores, but that makes me want to come back for more.
  • There are three distinct parts of the book. Darrow and his life as a Red, his transition, his life as an elite Gold student.
  • This would have made my top ten books of 2014, but I hadn’t finished it when I wrote that post.
  • At the beginning of the book it seems the personal loss Darrow suffers and the lie told to the Reds are the worst things which could happen in this story. It seems it will be the focus of the book and it is in the background during the book, but there is so much more to this book.
  • I like the whole culture built around the Reds and the life they lead. They’re a proud people glad to make sacrifices for the human race–except their sacrifice is all a lie.
  • Everything Darrow does is done for Eo. Even as he moves forward with a completely new life he keeps his name, he keeps the one thing to remind him of Eo, he keeps his memories of her.
  • The battles and strategies between the houses as well as the interference by the adults are fascinating reading.
  • The whole time at the school is so bizarre, brutal and corrupt.
  • At times it’s hard to keep reading the book–I found it very intense and sad in places.
  • By the end of this book Darrow has grown and changed. He’s discovers not all Golds are the same; he makes mistakes, but learns from them; he will do many things to achieve his ends.
  • This book was a Goodreads Choice 2014 Winner (Debut Author).


  • None.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • Golden Son, the second book in the series, published on January 13. I’ve seen reviews which show people enjoyed the second book as much or more than the first book.
  • I’ve seen many comparisons to The Hunger Games, but I find more Lord of the Flies in it. Nathan @ Fantasy Review Barn makes the connection to both books, but I found more Lord of the Flies.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge–this is the last book of the year–the 102nd!
  • 2014 Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • 2014 New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading