Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

August 3, 2023

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Filed under: Adventure — Tags: , — Randolph @ 2:43 pm

I have to say that this book is disappointing in many ways.

The setting is interesting and has a lot of potential, but this author could not carry it off. The writing is decent and at times good, but the storytelling and the characters are a problem.

The story takes place on Mars in a highly stratified society where mobility isn’t possible, even when some believe it is. The protagonist, Daro, is just about perfect except for his anger and foul language, yet no one really faults him for this. He is chosen by the Sons of Ares to be transformed by genetic engineering and training into a gold, the top strata of society, stronger, smarter, faster reflexes, better in every way. He is not the type of person who would be likely to succeed at this, nor the type the Sons of Ares would select.

There are opportunities for strong symbolism usage which the author started but didn’t play with. One is dance. His people dance to celebrate life and to forget their problems. Dance was important in the early parts of the book, then almost forgotten. The other was the allusion to Roman mythology, sometimes Greek. The leaders have taken on the persona of Roman gods, the secret organization which helps him is the Sons of Ares, yet this isn’t really explored.

Whoever edited the book for continuity and content didn’t do his job, if there was anyone who tried. The author seems to write from the beginning to the end of the book without going back for edits, on several occasions the author writes himself into a corner then uses a plot device to write himself out when going back and adding a relevant scene or two could have handled the problem.

Another editing fault is that, after his transformation, Daro is constantly explaining his ability to leap or run due to Mars’ lower gravity, tell the author it is 38%, not 37%, having lived his entire life on Mars Daro would have nothing else to compare it to, that is all he knows. He should attribute any changes to his genetic engineering.

His female characters are either plot devices, such as his wife, who adores him, yet seems to withhold important information, specifically about his world being a lie, then reveals it all at a single event and pointlessly sacrifices herself to further the plot. He talks about women being fighters and leaders, but doesn’t demonstrate it through the story other than a single woman-on-woman battle.

I can go on, issues include: using conflict as a way to improve the species when they have genetic engineering, pacing of the book is too fast at important points, leaders not noticing that their game is fixed, leaders not using armies or other force when their Olympus is invaded, military tactics that just don’t make sense or were used in the middle ages and now unknown to these people with vast computers, how Daro could possibly have learned what he needed – the Sons of Ares could not have known.

Don’t waste time on this book.

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