Pierce Brown: Red Rising

The Red Rising cover

Red Rising is a trilogy about a slave uprising on Mars.  In the book, humanity colonized the solar system, but when doing so, they genetically engineered different people into different "colors," with golds at the top of the hierarchy and reds at the bottom.  I didn't like the start of the first book, but once I got into it, the trilogy was good.

Before I talk about what I liked, some things I didn't like:

  • I didn't find the setting super interesting.  The technology was minimal and was as needed to support the plot (eg, terraforming, human genetic engineering, space ships, and weapons), and some parts of the social structures didn't quite make sense.
  • There were a few plot holes where one of the sides should have done something and it was never explained why they didn't.
  • There are a lot of plot twists in the book.  That's fine.  However, those plot twists are often because one of the protagonists is planning something tricky, and the reader doesn't know their plan.  That would be fine if the protagonist's thoughts were neutral, but the reader can hear the protagonist's thoughts, and the protagonist's thoughts in those situations are not consistent with what his thoughts would be if he knew the plan, so when the big reveal happens, it's kind of jarring.

Aside from that, the books were good.  They had enjoyable action.  The characters were each very different from each other and well developed.  The books are divided into emotional arcs (eg, there might be Part 1: Rage, Part 2: Glory or something like that) that coincide with major plot events.  

Also, the books had a strong thematic consistency.  The central notion was that blood begets blood.  The main characters all struggle to build a better world and uproot the social hierarchy without killing everyone who is a part of it in an act of revenge.  As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people.  The book showed how the hierarchy didn't just harm those at the bottom, but everyone who was a part of it.