The Red Rising Trilogy is a New Adult sci-fi/dystopian novel set over a thousand years in the future. It is a thrilling read, with layer upon layer of intrigue, intense action, and a merciless number of character deaths. Personally, I liked each book more than the one before it. The first book had a rather Hunger Games feel, the second had more of an Ender’s Game vibe, and I felt the third book really came into its own. Overall, if you like sci-fi or dystopian fiction, and are looking for something a little more intense and gut-wrenching than your average YA novel, this is the series for you.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! BEWARE YE WHO HAVE NOT YET FEASTED THINE EYES UPON THIS LITERARY SPECTACLE.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
The first few chapters were interesting, but not very exciting. Things didn’t really pick up until Darrow got to the Institute, and I didn’t realize how high the stakes were until Darrow nearly died several times. My favourite characters were Sevro and Pax for their humour and sarcasm, and Darrow because he is very smart and kick-butt. As I said earlier, the book reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games, especially all the scenes in the Institute. The ending felt a little rushed, and I was disappointed that the Sons of Ares didn’t show up or made contact with Darrow after his Carving. Knowing now what happens later in the series this makes sense, but if I hadn’t had Golden Son sitting on my dresser waiting for me to read it, I may not have continued with the series at this point.
This book was even more intense than Red Rising. Darrow left the Institute arrogant and invincible, but Brown didn’t let him stay that way. My favourite scene was when Darrow admitted to Sevro that he was a Red. Those two are fantastic friends. And can I just say that Ragnar is my new favourite character? He is so awesome! Every time the Jackal was around I wanted somebody to just shoot him, because I knew that no good could come of his and Darrow’s ‘agreement’. I was pretty cut by Roque’s betrayal, and so sad when the book ended on such a cliffhanger, with everything going to crap. I loved all the space travel and sci-fi technology and complicated plot twists and schemes. It felt a lot like Ender’s Game in that way, but at the same time this book was in no way a copycat or knockoff of Ender.
This book is, in my opinion, the crowning glory of the entire series. So much action! So much character development! So many plot twists and roadblocks! The climax nearly killed me, it was so intense and sad. I loved the realism in this book, too. Brown offers his characters no easy solutions or quick answers to the massive problems they face. The characters were raw and real and sometimes they royally messed up. Other times they surprised me with incredibly kind, trusting, or selfless acts. This is one of the best dystopian series finales I have read so far, even though (or perhaps because) it was ruthless with my feelings.
This series surprised me with its complex exploration of themes like loyalty, trust, perseverance, and love. It could have done with a little less swearing, but aside from that I loved it. The writing was clean and to the point, and I found the author’s choice of first-person present-tense narration made sense for the fast-paced action. It added a feeling of unpredictability to novels, which I felt really augmented the vibe the books were aiming for. All in all, this was a great read, and I would recommend it to readers aged 16 or older who enjoy science fiction or dystopian fiction.
Have you read the Red Rising Trilogy? What are your thoughts on dystopian or science fiction novels that deal with large-scale rebellions or wars? Do you find them unrealistic or do you love the sweeping and epic plot lines? Tell me all in the comments below!