Friday, January 31, 2014

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

2 Stars
(and that's being really generous - if I take a minute longer to think about this one the rating has a good chance of being even lower)
Darrow is a 16-year old class of human called a “Red” who works as a Helldiver miles below the planet Mars. His job is to drill for the helium-3 that will make the surface of the red planet inhabitable one day. At least, that’s what he has always been told. After the most unspoilery spoiler of all times (seriously, everyone should see it coming from page one), Darrow finds out everything he believes is a lie. Mars is already populated by “Golds” and Darrow, and all of his fellow Reds, are mere slaves. Darrow finds himself recruited by a rebel group, who plans on morphing him into a Gold, infiltrating the school where future leaders are bred and bringing down the ruling class. But no one can really guess what will take place once Darrow is inside . . .

Of all the overhyped books out there, this may just be the most overhyped-ist (????, yeah not a word, but I’m going with it anyway). It seems a lot of the initial hype was about this being a YA novel that was really breaking boundaries of what is okay in YA literature by including rape in the storyline. Wellllllll, my library has this filed under plain old “Sci-Fi” – not YA, so that may be a moot point now that we’re dealing with the actual book and not ARCs. I also saw a lot of comments saying “get through 20% or 30% or whatever% and you’ll really get into it”. Sadly, that was not the case for me. The first 20% was world building – followed by the unspoilery spoiler – followed by a whole new batch of world building. Truthfully, I had to force myself to keep reading up until the last 50 pages or so. Then it was action-packed and interesting (although, once again, the big “spoilery” issues at the end of the book were as predictable as the one in the beginning). I did not like Darrow’s voice, I didn’t like that once he was at school the book became a poor man’s Hunger Games (with bizarro shout-outs to ancient Greece rather than "Districts") and I didn’t like the fact that the “cause” he had been recruited for was almost completely glossed over through the entire book forcing everyone to read Red Rising #2 in order to get any answers. It’s pretty presumptuous of an author or publishing house to assume a first time novelist will be so successful. Lucky for both, it appears to be the case this go around.

For all of you who enjoyed it, I am truly jealous. This is the only book I’ve ever attempted to get an ARC of using any means necessary. I was so looking forward to it and I’m bummed that I didn’t like it. I’ll deal with my misery in the following manner:

On the plus side, Pierce Brown is like 12, so there is a good chance he will hone his skills and I will become a fan before his writing career is over. It just won’t be with Darrow.

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