I cannot emphasize enough how much I am loving the Red Rising series. I’m pre-grieving my reading and finishing of the next and final book. But, I’m also so addicted that as soon as the library checks it out to me, I’m going to devour it.
This is dystopian fiction at its finest: fully fleshed out, incredibly exciting, completely believable, deeply poetic.
The protagonist, Darrow has my heart. He’s driven, he’s thoughtful, he’s pure but emotional, and he’s young and beautiful. The villains of the story (I won’t get into much detail here, because, spoilers) are scary and heart-breaking.
And the entire world is a very believable possible future for us. Pierce Brown goes into some detail of the “history” of the human race, the failings and fall of our current society, and the building of this potential future. It’s absolutely imaginable, which both hurts and terrifies. It’s wonderful to believe that if this is our future, some vestige of heart will continue to run through the spirit of humanity, and that there will always be heroes fighting to save us from our worst selves.
Meanwhile, the technology is fascinating. As part of the fantasy of the future, it’s really easy to follow and buy into what Brown is describing. There is a plainness and beauty in our potential achievements, even if all of these imaginary accomplishments and tools lend themselves to the terror and horror of dominance and war.
And Brown’s storytelling is so exciting. There’s action and adventure on every page, and the story moves at lightning speed. It’s hard to believe but somehow easy to remember that by the end of Golden Son, Darrow is only 21 years old. The twists and turns kept me leaning in. Like I said, I’m addicted. The work is dense but thrilling.
If I had one complaint, it would be that I do wish that the female characters weren’t so stuck in their gendered roles. This future society is so pointedly ungendered in general that when the specific women at the heart of the narrative get pushed back into the box, I consistently find myself extra-frustrated. That said, I’m still, somehow, all in with this story.
As Ares, who we finally meet in Golden Son, says to Darrow, “If Red rises, they have a chance to bind the worlds together.” It’s a beautiful sentiment. I can’t wait to read Morning Star, whether it breaks my heart or not.