Sci-Fi is a genre that I enjoy, but rarely find myself reading. I tend to consume more sci-fi in movies than in books, but if you ask me what I would recommend for this genre, I will always say Red Rising.
Red Rising is what I would classify as a space opera. There are hard elements of sci-fi in that it is set in a future hundreds of years from now, has space travel, futuristic weapons and machinery, and the people have the ability to genetically modify/engineer other people. The softer elements are the dominating caste system, societal unrest, and the all-out war that comes from the previous two things.
The premise of Red Rising rests on a young Red, named Darrow, who learns the hardest way possible that his people have been lied to for the last 800 years. The lowest of the caste system in the Society, Reds mine the Helium-3 that allows the Society to continue to terraform the planets into habitable places, expanding the dominion of the Golds, the highest members of the caste system. The Golds are the rulers, bureaucrats, and warmongers of the Society. The other colors (too many to go into detail here) have all been modified over time in order to work for the Golds and ensure the continued prosperity of the Society. As you can imagine, that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, and the Sons of Ares are a rebel group that emerges in order to fight against them. Darrow joins the Sons and becomes a Gold in order to fight them from within.
You have to give Red Rising the first 50 pages or so because it does start a little slow. The author, Pierce Brown, has to do a lot of world building and set up before Darrow makes it to the Institute where he will learn alongside Gold children how to lead and how to destroy. Once he makes it there, however, the pacing increases and then it’s a dead sprint until the end of the third book. Brown does an excellent job of creating a world that feels very real, and characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Darrow is a little bit of an antihero because he is so deeply flawed, but his flaws are what make him such an excellent protagonist.
I first read this series on the recommendation of some friends, and I’m glad that I did. It’s become one of, if not my absolute, favorite book series to date. I was even lucky enough to have a friend give me a signed copy from a big book festival in New York City where Pierce Brown was signing and giving a talk! If you’ve ever heard of this series and didn’t know if you’d want to read it, I hope this helps you decide. I can’t really say enough how much I love this series! I’m currently waiting on the third book of the spin-off trilogy to come out, and I’m dying to see how it ends. If you decide to read this series click here to find it, then comment below and let me know! I could talk about it all day!
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