I have a lot of thoughts about this trilogy, y’all. I tried really hard to sum them up into one concise post, but that wasn’t working and I had too much to say about them all. So I thought I’d do a review for each book and a post on my thoughts on the series as a whole, so June is going to be Red Rising month!! Sorry (not sorry).
Paraphrased from Goodreads:
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. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Reds are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. 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.
The trilogy as a whole: 5/5
OKAY this trilogy works SO WELL as a trilogy. I really enjoyed the flow of it; there’s quite a bit of time between each book, which I actually liked. It allowed the plot to develop further without us having to explicitly read through it. Everything was explained, but not outright. It was more revealed to us in little snippets, which I really enjoyed.
Brown does a really good job of that just in general, actually. Revealing things slowly. The world building in this trilogy is incredible. I think it’s one of the best built worlds I’ve read in a while. But one of the things that made it so good was how we as readers were told about it. There was never one part where any of the characters monologued about the history for pages on end. Just bits and pieces were shown to us at times, but still in a way that made sense.
Speaking of world building: I know I just said it, but seriously some of the best world building I have ever read. My issue with most YA sci-fi/dystopian is when the authors are asked “K but why?” they always mash together some shoddy reason. But Brown is like “because of these very explicit and understandable reasons” and it makes SO MUCH SENSE.
Moving on to the characters. THE CHARACTERS YOU GUYS. They were SO GOOD. The characters are as detailed and complex as Brown’s world. What I love are the side characters. They are so good and add so much! Eo is so complex. Mustang is the best. Sevro is the best. Roque is so good. The Jackal and Cassius are such good characters. Victra is fantastic. Ragnar is great. Pax is the best. Titus: what a great character. THEY’RE ALL JUST SO GOOD. And when some of them turn bad, you can’t even blame them because they’re just doing what they think is best!!! Each character will break your heart in one way or another.
I will say that I agree with one reviewer on Goodreads who said: “If Darrow were a female, I would not hesitate for one millisecond to slap a “Mary Sue” label on him.” I have to agree. HOWEVER I still love the books.
Talking about the plot, I think it is SO INTERESTING. It is definitely slow in places, especially in the first one. HOWEVER it is so well written that I never even noticed. I loved it so much and practically inhaled the books.
Please let me know if you read any of them! I’m always willing to gush about them!