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CEO Reads: Red Rising

Jane Cowell

4 November, 2021

The Red Rising saga follows the story of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy who becomes a leader of an oppressed people and fights for everyone’s freedom. This saga is very reminiscent of the dystopian Hunger Games trilogy, though it plays out on Mars. Yes, the world has expanded to include other planets, and humans have evolved to live away from earth. There have been persistent rumours of a television series of the saga but they have not eventuated yet.

If you love immersing yourself in alternative worlds then this trilogy will delight you. Red Rising introduces us to Darrow, a young miner working in the depths of Mars who never rises to the surface. He is a member of the Reds, an inferior class in the social order, and is married to Eo who believes in a better life. Eo leads him to a mildly rebellious act against the powerful Golds and she is caught and executed. Darrow is recruited by a rebel cell, The Sons of Ares, and through painful surgery becomes a Gold, entering the academy that educates the ruling elites.

'If you love immersing yourself in alternative worlds then this trilogy will delight you.'

- Jane Cowell

Family power plays remind me of the Game of Thrones series as cruelty, deception and intrigue are endemic to the society and the academy which is divided into houses. Darrow has to navigate dangerous situations with little knowledge and rises as a leader of a band of outcasts meant to be culled in the very real war games who conduct a guerrilla war to fight the houses that survive. The world-building is well crafted and is dominated by a warrior culture. Readers are taken on an exciting journey with many ups and downs — this is an adventure on speed! We are left with a cliffhanger and I quickly read the second instalment, Golden Son, which changed the situation immensely and again left the reader on a cliff so had to go straight on to the conclusion, Morning Star, to find out what happened.

Pierce Brown was named the Goodreads best new author in 2014 and his next two books were voted as the best Science Fiction books in 2015 and 2016. He lives in Los Angeles and has written another two instalments in the series so I have another two more to read to find out just what happens to Darrow and the social order in the stars next. I really enjoyed the multi-layers of the story, the political power plays that challenge Darrow in different ways, to the straight-out warrior engagements he excels at. The families, the exploration of the lies an elite caste puts in place to subjugate others both to themselves and to those in service, and what it means to be free. Totally recommend the full trilogy to you as an immersive, engaging read even if you are not a science fiction fan.

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