I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without a care.
All that we have is that shout to the wind — how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.
– Pierce Brown, Golden Son
If I were to rate the books of the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown, it would go like this: (best-worst)
- Golden Son (Book 2)
- Morning Star (Book 3)
- Red Rising (Book 1)
I thought long and hard if I was going to write separate reviews for each of the books but to be honest, I don’t think I have much positive things to say about Red Rising. And you probably won’t believe why I rated the book 4 stars nor will you believe my claims that Pierce Brown is a favorite author of mine if I did write individual reviews.
So here are mini reviews for each of the books.
I DNF (Did-Not-Finish) this book 4 times before I finally picked it up again and tried for the 5th time and actually finished it. The reason why I kept trying was because I kept hearing people say how phenomenal this series is and I really wanted to see why!
The first 100 pages BORED and CONFUSED me. I felt like we were thrust into a world (in this case Mars) where we’re expected to know everything the moment it was first mentioned.
Thinking about it now, I think it’s because it’s written in a 1st person perspective. Not many science-fiction/fantasy books are written this way so it was kind of off putting.
After getting through that first hundred pages, I didn’t fall in love with it. Not yet. The plot turned in a direction where it felt mostly like rereading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins peppered in with elements of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan.
Darrow is a Red (the lowest born of the hierarchy of the Sovereign). We get to follow him as he is turned to a Gold (the Gods of the Sovereign) by the Sons of Ares (a rebel group) to infiltrate the Academy where young Golds are trained to survive and prove their worths by outsmarting and killing each other.
That being said, I felt like I’ve read the plot before so I wasn’t entirely thrilled reading it. But then 80% into the novel, all hell breaks loose and lots of craziness happened and I live for craziness! This is where people’s love for the book suddenly made sense to me. This is where I knew I was going to continue on with the series. This is where I started to appreciate the characters whom I couldn’t give a damn about before.
This is definitely my favorite of all the 3 books. It’s also definitely one of the best book I’ve read in 2017.
You know how most sequels to a series suffer from “second book syndrome”? Well, Red Rising trilogy definitely didn’t!
We follow Darrow in this as he serves the Archgovernor of Mars. 3 years (if I’m not mistaken) have passed and he and his friends are Peerless Scarred (ironic that name): the feared army of Golds. Blood depts are being paid; friends turn on one another; unlikely alliances are made; death begets death; and the Sons of Ares seem to have abandoned Darrow and started to become terrorists.
This book is one big crazy! I loved it.
In this book, I finally grew out of my feelings of meh about Darrow (because let’s be honest, he’s very one dimensional at times) and started to appreciate him. However, my dislike of Mustang was stronger. She reminded me of Annabeth in Percy Jackson series.
Anyway, I freaking love Sevro! He’s nasty but I feel like I’ll personally get along with him if he were real. I loved reading about him. I also love Kavax Telemanus! That Jellybean chapter was my favorite. To have a Gold that still believes in something more like magic… precious.
Okay. Enough gushing. Just know that this is my favorite in the trilogy. Read it please! I promise, if you struggled with book one the way I did, it’ll be all worth it once you read Golden Son! Especially with its ending.
I have a problem with reading a final book of a series. It has nothing to do with Red Rising series as a whole. I’m just like this in general. So I wasn’t surprised that it took me quite a long time to get through this book. At first I was motivated to finish reading it before I went to meet Pierce Brown at a book signing. But that didn’t happen.
Here we finally see Darrow suffer. All throughout the series it was kind of comical how he meets certain bumps in his life’s figurative road but he always comes out the victor. He finally sees that in war, there’s no fine line between what is good and what is bad. It’ll always be death begets death.
We lose a number of characters we’ve grown to love. And more than once did I feel my heart breaking and felt the need to pause reading and breathe. Intense is probably the word I’d use for this book.
It wrapped up nicely. But it was obvious how there were things left out for future hopes of making a new book or a spin-off (and now we’re going to get Iron Gold soon!).
This trilogy was definitely worth the read.
If you stopped at book one, please give it another chance!
And lastly, these Del Rey paperbacks are floppy and beautiful! No fretting over a cracked spine. It’s my favorite kind.
Red Rising: 4 stars
Golden Son: 5 stars
Morning Star: 4 stars