Before I jump into this backlist review, I have to apologize for how many times I’ll be using the word “brutal”. Because, damn these books are brutal and Pierce Brown is cruel and capricious and I love him.
Red Rising (Read December 28, 2015 – January 7, 2016)
This is the kind of book that’ll remind people that the science fiction genre is not to be trifled with. For lack of a better term, this book will fuck you up. Brown’s visceral prose digs into you and brutally burrows into your soul. Every sentence is crafted with such care, you can’t help but fall in love with the terrible world Brown has created.
We follow Darrow as he goes from a naive Red (the lowest, or slave, class in the Society) to a vengeful infiltrator of the Golds (the highest class in the Society) and their Institute, where the next generation of Golds compete for the power and prestige that will carry them through their lives in the Society. Darrow must navigate the brutal world of the Institute, gaining the trust of those he intends to destroy and keeping himself alive through the twisted war games the Golds.
Nothing prepared me for this book. I went in with the thought that it’d be a little like Hunger Games but on Mars. And while it had some similar elements (kids killing kids for a messed up society), it was so much more. The world building rivals that of Brandon Sanderson and the cast ranges from delightfully sarcastic to disturbingly psychotic.
Red Rising sets up what promises to be a wonderful and brutal trilogy. Once you finish this one you’ll want to jump straight into the next book.
Golden Son (Read January 8 – 13, 2016)
Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising trilogy, but the brutality and intensity does not lessen as time goes on. Darrow finds himself deep into the Society and begins to start his work of dismantling it from within.
Brown’s writing style continues to be beautiful and brutal. He brings us deeper into the Society and introduces us to a host of new characters. Brown is so good at building solid characters without drowning you in their backstory. The politics are very heavy in this book, but they are interesting so it never bothered me.
But really, what Golden Son boils down to is the ending. And while I will not spoil anything that happens, I will say that it is one of the most beautiful and painfully crafted endings I have ever read.
Morning Star (Read February 12 – 24, 2016)
So, I could have sworn that I had to wait like a year after reading Golden Son before Morning Star was published. Maybe it just felt that way considering the whiplash insanity of the ending of Golden Son. I’ll be brief with this review because I have endeavored to not spoil anything throughout these reviews.
Brown finishes his epic trilogy with many of the things we expect from him: brutality, betrayal, insane plot twists, enough snark to sink a ship, and some damn beautiful writing. Everything in this book drips with intensity, sometimes to the point where you feel as though you are drowning. Some people have complained about the pacing in this series, but honestly, sometimes you need a break. I’m not sure I’d survive non-stop Pierce Brown chaos.
Even though Brown eventually continued the series with Iron Gold, Morning Star is as close to a perfect ending as I could have asked for. The Red Rising Trilogy is still one of my favorite Sci-Fi trilogies to this day.