Oh man, I am so in love with this book!! It completely tickled my geeky funny bone! This book has literally stayed with me for days after I read it. I kept it in my purse; at work so I could whip it out to random people as I was on the Info Desk...I even had it by my pillow for a while...so yes. I think it is safe to say that #1 i was a little overly obsessed, and #2 this book was bloodydamn awesome!
Imagine Gladiator, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games all rolled into one and you might get an idea of how cool and just neat I think this book is. Darrow, our protagonist, is a Helldiver on Mars – a type of maverick who mines Helium-3, a substance that is suppose to teraform Mars for the future of humanity. Unbeknownst to him and his fellow ‘Reds’ (the lowest of the colour caste system in this future societal system), Mars has been livable for hundreds of years and the Reds are being used as miners and essentially as slaves. Personal tragedy transforms Darrow from a lowly but gutsy miner to someone who tries to infiltrate the highest of the caste system, the ‘Golds’, in order to create a revolution.
As I was reading and especially when Darrow goes through his initial physical transformation with Mickey, I was worried that Brown was becoming over the top with making his hero too perfect. But he somehow saves himself from that by creating a character that is simultaneously crazy handsome, über smart, and wickedly cunning, but also deeply flawed – enough that you forgive him the sin of being ridonkulously perfect.
I also loved the setting that is created – especially towards that 2nd half of the book. It really has a medieval/Roman warfare-era feel…I’m (for some reason that I’m not able to put my finger on yet) really reminded of Arthurian/Roman fiction books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen ([a:Jack Whyte|45309|Jack Whyte|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1231090502p2/45309.jpg] keeps coming to my mind). I was impressed with Brown’s world building and flare for invoking such strong imagery in my head.
Anyways, I’m going to go further off track. I’m not a huge reviewer – I tend to talk out loud with people, but I love reading them and I had a really interesting convo with one of my best friends about this book and it got me thinking, and therefore, writing. Often I’m able to better formulate my thoughts when I writing them down...so! musings!:
One of the biggest parts of this massive discussion I had with my friend was that she felt that she didn’t feel invested enough in the lower-caste characters, especially the Reds, to truly root for them – she felt more time could have been spent with the Reds and especially Eo. She was more inclined to root for the Golds because we were given more time with them and were therefore more invested in their characters. I both agree and disagree with her. I feel that minimizing the time spent with the lower castes and spending more time with the Golds was actually was a good thing ultimately – I think our society automatically roots for the underdog, no matter what. And I think that by spending so much time with the Gold and sympathizing with them, we ultimately understand that the Golds are not all the horrible part of society that they’re made out to be – they suffer too. They’re forced to do things they don’t want to do as well.
I think doing this was largely Brown’s point (and one of the reasons I loved this book so much). Everything is not so cut and dried. By the end of the book, you start to get an inkling about how complicated this series is going to get (which makes me rub my hands together in glee). Perhaps the beginning of the book was short, but I am not convinced that longer is necessary. I think perhaps what my friend and I both disagreed on most was over Eo. My friend didn’t feel invested in Eo and therefore wasn’t moved when she died. For me this wasn’t the case. She thought it was stupid of Eo to sing a song that she knew would kill her – she felt that Eo copped out of fighting. I’m not sure I disagree….but I still loved Eo. I could understand why she did what she did and therefore I was upset when she died. I especially felt for Darrow. And ultimately I think that’s the point: it slapped Darrow in the face and made him truly understand the unfairness of the system and made him not want to live the status quo anymore. Eo was a child but not a child. I think she had a very child-like vision of what she had to do in order to get Darrow to see his potential. Was it effective? You bet. Did she cop-out? Perhaps. But I could imagine that she felt she her sacrifice was worth it. Death to the Reds was not a huge deal. So many of them die every day. I could imagine Eo would think that if she could make her death mean something, then it would be worth it.
Anyways! With that, I’m going to sign off…until the next thought pops into my head that is :). READ RED RISING! So worth your time!