The Red Rising series is a collection of books that need little introduction. It is a series I have been meaning to read for a while which I know is extremely popular with excitement building for the next book set in this world, Iron Gold, which is published next month. But for me it was time to see what the fuss was about, as I finally settled down to read Red Rising this week!
Set on Mars, the protagonist in this story is Darrow, a miner who lives in the planet’s interior. Darrow is a Red, and it his mission, amongst the rest of the Reds, to extract the elements required to make the planet’s surface habitable. But a day arises in which Darrow discovers that his life has been a lie all along, that the planet he worked tirelessly for has actually been habitable for generations. The Reds, who could be considered as crucial to the survival of humanity, turn out to be regarded as little more than slave labour, looked down on by a world Darrow is only just discovering. I quickly became engrossed in this story and the way of life on Mars and the differences between various classes of people. From the offset it becomes clear that life is difficult, and their world is a dangerous one. And as this story progresses life for Darrow becomes all the more challenging. He learns of the Golds who have the control, and with the help of a bunch of rebels, he is intent on taking down his oppressors, disguising himself as one of them to battle from the inside. But this is only the start of the battle, as he finds that he is not alone on the battlefield…
Red Rising is a book that had me hooked from the beginning and I really enjoyed discovering more about this dystopian world. The premise of this story was one that really intrigued me, and I liked the idea of there being different classes represented by colours, which each have different roles to play within this society. It is a well plotted and action packed story, as Darrow and the rebels take to the battlefield and find themselves facing tough opposition from different students in the command school. He is sent to the training academy which he must advance through if he has a chance of making it to the top of the ranks, where he can then start a revolution against his oppressors. I have seen comparisons made between Red Rising and The Hunger Games, and there are some parallels to be drawn with relation to the training and combat between the students all under the watchful eye of the powers that be. But whilst there were aspects of the story that were familiar to me, there is much more to this story which made for an enthralling read. The class systems, the world building, a complex world filled with violence and a quest for justice. It also introduces an interesting collection of characters many of whom have their own agendas to fight for. Not least Darrow himself, who despite his young age finds the strength to fight for himself, to fight for those has loved and lost, and to exact revenge on those who have mistreated his people for generations. As the story progresses we get to see a young man used to a life of poverty as a miner, and see him rise.
I really enjoyed Red Rising and found it to be a gripping dystopian thriller. As I read the final pages I was left eager to find out more, and would be interested in picking up the next book in the trilogy. It is an action packed story of survival and heroism in the face of a frightening society, and an exciting introduction to the series.