My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I did not immediately fall in love with Red Rising. Rather the storyline slowly built over the first third of the book and then I found myself wanting to know what happens next. Darrow’s life as a Red is important to experience so you know what made him the man he is today, but didn’t captivate my attention.
The world that he knows is a lie. He is not the sacrificing pioneer his society led him to believe, but rather little more than a slave. His entire outlook and being is altered so that he may fight his way to the top, and maybe change the Society.
Darrow is filled with love for his people and his family, but does not understand the world at large. He must learn, and quickly, to fit into this new world without losing himself in the process. Each character in the book is unique and contributes differently to the story. Some force Darrow to question his resolve to the cause, others show him a different side of humanity, while a rare few make him wonder if all Golds are bad.
Mustang and Sevro are probably my two favourite supporting characters. Mustang is smart, strategic and caring even though she was not raised to be that way. Her father is the leader on Mars, so she led a sheltered but harsh childhood. Sevro is a strange human, but he grows on you over the novel and his dark humour is infectious.
The most fascinating parts of the book were when he was attending the Institute and proving that he had what it took to become a Peerless Scarred. It was almost a study on the absolute lowest that humanity can sink to, the darkness they can embrace when there are no consequences to their actions and the leaders that can rise despite it. It was disgusting and horrifying at times, but you can’t put it down.
Relationships form and are torn asunder, lies build and fester, and humanity sinks lower. The book was well written and I kept picking it up, needing to know what happened next, despite the darkness. I would recommend it to older young adult/teen readers, or adults, who enjoy science fiction novels.