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Book Review - Red Rising

The second book I read this year after Martian is also set on Mars. Haha.. Talk about variety. This book though is a sci-fi set in the dystopian future when man has conquered all of the solar system and is colonising different planets. I’ve enjoyed the book very much. Although, it does seem to be inspired by Hunger Games and Ender’s game this book can stand on its own. I liked this book so much, I read the sequel immediately after finishing this.

Pierce Brown’s book is too enjoyable to be a called a commentary on class inequality and the caste system, but it is. It explores so many concepts especially through the high class golds, the best of humanity, what they can accomplish if they don’t let the morals fall by the wayside. It shows the horrors of a unempathetic society, the chaos, no the order it leads to, order built on fear, pain, distress and abuse of people. It is a dangerous story. The premise can easily spiral towards violence and vengeance, but through Persephone as a symbol and Mustang as a living embodiement of that ideal, Pierce Brown provides our protagonist Darrow with a direction.

The hatred Darrow feels for the golds at the beginning is now glazed with confusion. As he gets closer to the golds and understands the people what makes them great, but he is not overwhelmed by their power and charm for his love for his deceased wife makes him see them for what they really are.

The majority of the book is set in an institute where the different houses have to conquer each other, the objective here is not survival like in hunger games but conquering, taking people along with you. In Titus, we are shown what can happen when vengeance takes hold of a distressed soul with more strength than he can imagine. Let that vengeance fester and some sense of betrayal to it and you have Cassius. The way the characters of Darrow and Cassius evolves is beautifully done. One from the dark to light and the other vice versa all this while one sheds vengeance while the other embraces it.

There are a number of other characters that each have their own arcs, all beautifully done. It is a good book. It is worth your time to read it and reflect on the myriad of themes it explores. No wonder this book won the 2014 Goodreads Choice award. Before I leave, here’s a quote from the book

Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.