Wednesday, October 25, 2017

RED RISING by Pierce Brown

The Harry Potter books seems to have inspired Lev Grossman’s series, The Divergent series, and maybe this one, too.  Red Rising is more sci-fi than fantasy, but the story still takes place at a school for students with exceptional physical and intellectual capabilities, where they are sorted into “houses.”  Darrow is an infiltrator from the Reds, the lowest caste on Mars.  The resistance group known as the Sons of Aries recruits him, after the death of his wife, to undergo some surgical alterations so that he can masquerade as a Gold.  This book follows Darrow through his first year of school at the Institute, and that year basically consists of a battle among all the houses for domination.  It’s not hard to guess who wins, but the storyline is more about the journey—forming alliances, learning what it means to be a leader, and ferreting out the traitors—than it is about the outcome.  This is a very violent story of survival of the fittest—natural selection in a microcosm of the best of the best.  I found the battle tactics and even the battles themselves hard to follow at times, but I don’t think I missed much.  Darrow is an angry young man, raging against an unjust society, and his minions are equally one-dimensional.  This was an enjoyable read but not particularly thought-provoking or particularly satisfying, and I’m not particularly gung-ho about continuing with the series, as I expect it’s more of the same.

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