top of page
  • Writer's pictureLilie

Red Rising by Pierce Brown | Food for thought

About the book:

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.


Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Space

About the author:
Hello. I'm Pierce Brown, the author of the Red Rising Saga, a NYT #1 bestseller. I figured I'd write you myself than have corporate copy pasted below my totally natural author photo.
In my books you'll find stories of men and women finding their inner strength when all seems lost. You'll also find me exploring themes of love, violence, hope, and power--what it means, why people seek it, and how they hold onto it.

This is quoted directly from Brown's Goodreads profile.


** spoiler alert **

Spoilers of the story within this post. These are my thoughts about the novel.


There are things I took note of. A few bad and a lot of good.

This is purely my thoughts on the story.


A few bad...

While it's not exactly bad, I just find it a bit disturbing to read gravBoot or slingBlade, etc in the pages. Sometimes I wouldn't know what it meant until Darrow describes it. It's original and definitely unique and it just catches on as the chapters go.

It took over 30% before the interesting part comes. That's like 14-15 chapters of introducing Darrow, giving him purpose, extracting him from the mines, giving him a makeover, and give him proper training. It's just a lot of process to go through and it's getting harder to try and keep reading with interest. It's got a good plot ahead and there's a big stretch of introduction read-blocking the readers from getting there. I think it could have been shortened or summarized and still not miss the point of it.

While the names are indeed hard to remember, I just adjusted to it by not remembering who's who. If they are important people, Darrow will keep repeating their names anyway and eventually it'd hammer to my head as an important character.

There are reviews mentioning it's like Hunger Games. I'd say there are similarities indeed but it's not the arena that makes it Hunger Games. One way or another there would be similar elements of one story to another. Sure Eo could Prim. Dancer and Fichtner could be Cinna and Effie. Katniss is good with a bow and Darrow is the Helldiver of Lykos. But it's not that. What gives it a Hunger Games vibe is that (1) there are people watching the supposed exam of the young Golds and (2) there are footages to edit to showcase a rebellion rising.

Those are the two main elements that I think is closer to hit Hunger Games vibe.

A lot of good...

What I like about this is that the romance isn't abrupt. It's not like Edward Cullen falling head over heels to Bella. Given that Darrow is married to Eo and he still loves her, but it doesn't open his romance immediately with Mustang. There was control on his part and I'm fine with it. It doesn't have to be "in love" so fast. They went through something and it got them closer.

Second, while it's still a question to me how Darrow is so wise to think of strats, quick thinking and suddenly a born leader and fighter vibe, coming from the mines with boxed thinking and bending the knee to live, now he's different. I just considered it as Eo saying he could be so much more if he wants to.

What I like about the new Darrow is that he cares for the Golds he's with. I know he's trying to stay in control for Eo's dream's sake, but the friendship with Roque and Sevro. The respect from Pax and Tactus. That feels real.

Third, not all characters are lovable. And not everyone can be remembered. Death scenes are tricky to write because it has to bring impact to the readers otherwise it meant nothing. Pax was mostly brute strength but it made me sad to see him go. Titus gave me mixed feelings when I found out he's a Red, but it doesn't excuse what he did. It felt satisfying to see Apollo die because that Proctor is so hot-tempered. Julian I knew very little from the beginning but I got to like him from his few appearances. It's not easy to like someone who appears only a short period of time. There are many more.

Fourth, Mustang is best girl in the book. Darrow recognized she is what the Golds should be and I too see that it should be so. I also imagine she'd be what Eo would have become if tables were turned. Mustang thinks differently than Cassius or Antonia, her perspective of things is broader. She helped Darrow become a better leader. True that I myself doubted her and was going crazy that she would betray Darrow and join her twin brother but she didn't. Surprised but I'm glad.

Fifth, Sevro is best assist in the book. While I question the foundation of his loyalty to Darrow, I like him as a character since their arrival at the arena. He's resourceful and could be trusted. Darrow was right when he said he'd trust no one but Sevro to handle the editing.

Sixth, the mini twists are not bad. Like Darrow paired with Julian at the Passage. Cassius becoming his close comrade then transitions to being his rival. The twin Augustus twist. Sevro's father twist. The cheating part I hated because the Proctors and the system were being crappy but it's part of the plot so let it be.

Seventh, I'm no stranger to books of violence and misconduct. This book didn't go into detail of Darrow and Eo's forest scene or Titus and the tower. And it's not just pointless scenes that just needs to be there just cause. And Darrow takes action to deal with it and the girls don't fall in love with their assaulter.

Some question/s I have about it is...

Why is Sevro so loyal to Darrow all of the sudden? When they met Sevro cares for no one but at some point within the arena, he was just loyal. Did I miss anything?

Overall I finished the book and came to a conclusion that I want to see if Darrow succeeds, what would Mustang and Sevro's fate be.

Goodreads review: click here

Goodreads profile: click here

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page