Unless you live under a rock, you know that Pierce Brown recently released the his latest novel, Dark Age. The 5th book in the Red Rising series, this beast clocks in at 757 pages and early reviews are glowing! I made the mistake, last year, of going into Iron Gold without a refresher of the series, and I feel like I had to have missed so much because of that. So, I have decided to do a full series reread before diving into Dark Age, and that brings me to this post!
I recently finished rereading Red Rising for what is somehow only the second time! I adore this series and in my mind I HAD to have read it more than this, but nope, this reread was the first since I originally picked it up in 2017. It was in 2017 that I also binged the original trilogy, so this is really history repeating itself. And did it hold up to my memories of it? Bloodydamn right it did!
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.
Summary courtesy of Goodreads
“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”
When it comes to amazing opening lines, Red Rising certainly makes the ranks among the best of the best. It’s the sort of opening line that sets the tone for the whole book. Pure. Awesome. I am going to overuse this word in my review, but the best way I can possibly describe this book is “epic”.
So the word epic has several meanings. The first is “heroic or grand in scale or character”. Well, Red Rising is certainly that. Everything about this book is grand and heroic, from the setting (the planet of Mars), to the people (1200 initiates, 12 Colors, billions of souls), to the characters (Darrow, Sevro, Cassius, Ares, Mustang).
The next definition is “a long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time.” Put a big ol’ check next to that! We are talking about the internal collapse of an entire universe’s government and way of life here. The freeing of entire classes of people from literal and figurative slavery.
And finally, “particularly impressive or remarkable.” Yes. Just yes.
I realized a few things during my reread. I had totally forgotten how intricate the plot is, and had forgotten so many things. This was actually sort of great because it was almost like reading it for the first time again, only I remembered just enough that it allowed me to look for deeper details and connections. If you haven’t read this yet, I would highly recommend taking your time and making note of the whole crazy web of details.
Next, I had totally underestimated my love for this book. Yes, I knew I loved it. Yes, I knew it was awesome. But I had clearly downplayed in my mind HOW awesome it really is. I was enraptured from cover to cover and fell in love with the characters all over again. Darrow is one of those characters that you will either love or hate, but I definitely fall into the love category. He is so complex and broken and it makes him all the more real. Sevro is my other favorite, and he always seems to win the popular vote among fans. And why wouldn’t you adore that blood-thirsty, bat-shit-crazy, foul-mouthed little Howler?
I am soooo glad I revisited this book again and cannot wait to get into Golden Son. I most likely will not review the next few books in the series, but fully expect me to report back on Dark Age!
Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite? Which character?
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