[REVIEW] Red Rising – Pierce Brown

SummaryPierceBrownsRedRising
Characters – 5/5
Plot – 5/5
Style – 5/5
World-building – 5/5
Science – 4/5
Overall -5/5

Quote

I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.

Review
Darrow is a Red. All he and his people have known is hard work, danger and oppression, risking life and limb in the mines of Mars so that one day the surface may become habitable for the Higher Colours; the Browns, Greens, Obsidians and the ruling Golds. Except Mars has been habitable and inhabited for years, in fact, so have Venus, Earth’s Moon and many of Jupiter’s moons.

They were told they were pioneers, but the Reds are nothing more than slaves.

When a series of tragic events leads Darrow into the arms of rebel group The Sons of Ares, he agrees to join their efforts to free the Reds and take down the Golds from within. He was a Helldiver of Lykos and now he about to become a whole lot more.

At its core, RED RISING is a classic tale. The oppressed become strong and rebel against their oppressors in order to take charge of their own lives and create a better, more equal society. I’ve read this plot countless times, but never seen it so skillfully executed as in RED RISING; everything about this novel was practically perfection. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the story exciting and the pace was excellent. I was hooked from the first page and the action didn’t let up until the very end. I wanted more the moment I’d finished reading; the wait for GOLDEN SON is going to be absolute agony!

Firstly, the style of RED RISING is exactly what I’ve been craving recently. I’ve noticed that a lot of Fantasy/Scifi aimed at young adults has taken a turn towards simpler language and grammar, and while I don’t have a problem with this after reading book after book in this tone it becomes a little same-y. I needed something refreshing I could really get stuck into and RED RISING certainly gave me that. The writing is very strong and so rich in detail that becoming part of the story was easy, Darrow’s emotions became mine and his world was vivid and bright.

The world-building was a thing of beauty. From the rough mines of Mars to the extravagance of Mount Olympus every setting was clear in my mind and I could visualise it all in detail. I loved the contrast of Darrow’s humble beginnings against the backdrop of the Golds. It’s obvious RED RISING draws a lot of inspiration from the stories of Greek and Roman mythology, which I’m a huge fan of. I appreciated the references to various Gods and their personality traits and liked to see how they compared to the original characters in the myths.

While the science and technology isn’t particularly explored in-depth, I didn’t feel like it made a huge impact on the storyline. There weren’t any outrageous gaps between the unexplained technology of Mars and what is actually possible (considering we’re already living and breathing on another planet here) so I was quite comfortable with the kind of weapons, armour and tricks at play.

To me, the whole story encompasses the theme of evolution, growth and change alongside lovely philosophical nuggets about leadership. Darrow undergoes not only an extreme physical transformation but also a gradual, creeping emotional growth as his experiences of the world jump from the lowest point of society to the privilege of the Golds. I love this deeper, more meaningful aspect to the novel which is something a lot of current novels are potentially lacking; it really rounds out the book and makes it feel worth reading.

The trauma and change Darrow goes through really makes you root for him despite the extraordinarily difficult choices he has to make in order to succeed. He’s ultimately likeable but does have a full personality complete with both endearing features and foibles; he’s as complex as his motives and struggles to learn about himself as the story moves forward. The other characters also seem well-rounded as a whole, Darrow meets an enormous cast throughout the book but there has been time and care taken with each one to ensure they make a valuable contribution to Darrow’s journey; positive and negative.

RED RISING feels like THE HUNGER GAMES went to Big Boy School and grew up; a story of betrayal, rebellion and revenge that definitely doesn’t pull its punches. If you only give this genre one chance to impress you then let it RED RISING be the book to do it.

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[BOOKTOFILMFRIDAY] Introduction

Starting next week, every Friday at fireflyreads is officially Book to Film Friday! I’ll be posting about films that are based on counterpart novels, comparing the two stories and hopefully inspiring some discussion in the comments.

I’ve noticed recently that a huge number of fantasy, scifi and dystopian novels are being snapped up and made into films; every movie is touted as ‘The New Hunger Games’ and I wanted to explore how these films compare to their origins. But it’s not only fantasy that’s getting the Hollywood treatment, since the success of The Fault in Our Stars YA book covers are awash with ‘Soon to be a major motion picture!’ stickers (which are a nightmare to peel off, may I add).

Book to film developments are usually met with either excitement or horror from fans and I want to get in on the discussion! I’m currently reading The Maze Runner and plan to finish it before I see the film; keep an eye out for a post in the coming weeks!

Hope you like the idea, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Charlotte x

[FUN STUFF] Things literature has taught me about love

Inspired by Valentine’s Day and the uncountable displays of public affection hitting social media all over the world, here’s a little list I put together of things I’ve learnt about love from my reading adventures.

Image(Clary and Simon – The Mortal Instruments Series) 

1. Your best friend is absolutely, 100%, secretly head-over-heels in love with you and has been since the day he first laid eyes on you. How you remain persistently oblivious to this is kind of baffling, I mean have you seen the way he looks at you?! You totally lead him on too. You’re mean.

Image(Cole and Nikki – Everneath Series)

2. You will ignore your best friend’s frustratingly obvious affections and become obsessed with a seemingly unattainable rebel and/or supernatural being instead. Not cool.

Image(Bella and Jacob – Twilight Saga)

3. When the rebel and/or supernatural being inevitably breaks your heart, your best friend will wipe your tears and pick up all the broken pieces for you. He might even refrain from saying ‘I told you so’ (even though he so desperately wants to).

Image(Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter Series)

4. Your best friend will probably turn out to be the perfect guy after all. I told you so.

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(Tris and Four – Divergent Trilogy)

5. If you’re a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man, it turns out you probably need a man. Because romance, right?

Image(Karou and Akiva – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

6. Opposites attract. Yeah, things might get a bit rocky when you realise he’s slaughtered hundreds of your people, but true love conquers all, right?

Image(Hazel and Gus – The Fault in Our Stars)

7. No matter how you might see yourself, someone somewhere loves every single inch of you. Whether you like it or not (hopefully not in a creepy way).

Image(Cersei and Jaime – A Song of Ice and Fire Series)

8. Forbidden love is forbidden for a reason. No more Joffreys, please lord no more Joffreys.

Image(Ethan and Lena – The Caster Chronicles)

9. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Image(Pat and Tiffany – The Silver Linings Playbook)

10. Never give up. There is someone out there who will understand your particular brand of crazy and love you for it, not in spite of it.

I feel far too mushy and sentimental now, ew gross. Do you have any favourite literary couples? I want to hear what books have taught you about love, life… anything!

[FUN STUFF] 2013 End of year review

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Hosted by the wonderful Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner, the End of Year Book Survey is a fun way to look back on 2013 through your bookshelf! Since I’ve not been blogging for the whole year I only have detailed information about a small group of books so I’ve cut some of the questions out that I can’t answer. I’ve had an amazing first few months as a bookish blogger and I can’t wait for the year ahead! I’d like to say a HUGE thank you and Happy New Year to everyone who follows, reads and comments on booklahoma and I hope to get to know you all better through 2014 🙂

Best Book You Read In 2013? 

I read so many amazing books this year, this is such a difficult question! I think my favourite scifi novel of 2013 has to be Note To Self by Peter Ward and the best YA I read is a toss up between Divergent and Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Draykon by Charlotte E. English was fantastic. I got it for free on Amazon and wasn’t expecting much for that reason but I was so, so wrong. I also really enjoyed Slated by Teri Terry, I’d been debating buying it for a long time but wasn’t convinced by the blurb. I gave it a chance and was glad I did!

Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

I feel that I’m going to be mentioning Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone a LOT in this review! I bought my sister the books for Christmas and I’m constantly telling other people to read them as well.

Best series you discovered in 2013?

Definitely Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy! I read both Divergent and Insurgent within two days and had to live in torture all year waiting for Allegiant! Thanks to university work I haven’t had time to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to finally picking it up.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Laini Taylor, without a doubt. Her style is so fluid and enchanting. (I warned you!)

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I’ve not read a whole lot outside of my YA/fantasy/scifi bubble this year, I guess that’s a bookish resolution for 2014!

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Note to Self by Peter Ward. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy through Net Galley and was completely blown away!

Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

It’s been a while since I first read Angelfall so I might give that another read before picking up World After! I know I’ll end up re-reading a lot of complete series like Divergent and Harry Potter as well, I do that so often!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

angelfall

Most memorable character in 2013? 

There is only one acceptable answer to this question; Tiny! (Will Grayson, Will Grayson) 

Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor. I can’t wait to review this in 2014!

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick. I adored this book, I really felt for Pat. His voice is so honest and real, it’s a very powerful novel.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

Slaughterhouse Five! And I’m so glad I did, I don’t think I could have appreciated it properly if I’d read it any earlier.

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Ahhhhh so many choices! This is the first one that popped into my mind but I’m sure there are tonnes that I jotted down somewhere.

“i think the idea of a ‘mental health day’ is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it’s like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying ‘i don’t want to deal with things today’ and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.”
Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? 

The final chapter of The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa absolutely killed me. I thought I was going to burst. Never before in my life have I had a true, physical NEED for a sequel; just thinking about it is driving me up the wall again! The Forever Song isn’t due on my bookshelf until 29th April. Breeeeathe.

Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?

I really loved the friendship between Will and Tiny in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It was honest and felt very real. Romantically, I’m not sure I can think of a relationship that really springs out at me; I’m not usually a huge fangirl about stuff like that! Although thinking about it, Nikki and Jack were just so strong and perfect together in the Everneath series.

Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

I read a LOT of new authors this year, which I guess can only be a good thing! So I’ll have to go for an obvious answer and say Looking for Alaska – John Green.

Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Young Adult and Fantasy/Sci-fi. As always!

Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

I think Draykon by Charlotte E. English just pips Daughter of Smoke and Bone to the post here for the totally original concepts behind not only the main world in which the story takes place, but the two off-worlds. English created all the plants, animals and history for three completely beautiful worlds that were a pleasure to read about!

Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

It has to be Will Grayson, Will Grayson!

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

All the John Greens, because well, John Green.

What were your favourite books of 2013? Which ones are you looking forward to in 2014? I’d love to read your recommendations!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Best sequels

Image Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks list is the 10 best book sequels ever! I really struggled with this list as while I love series, I often find the first book is the best. For example, even though I’ve included Catching Fire in my list, Hunger Games is by far my favourite in the trilogy. It also doesn’t help that I haven’t read a lot of these series in full for a while!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
It’s always tough to pick a favourite from the Harry Potter series, but I love Azkaban purely for the Lupin and Sirius content. There’s less Voldemort so Rowling could focus on things like characterisation and plot, which definitely set up the rest of the series.

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor
I can’t get enough of Laini Taylor’s writing, she’s amazing! The plot is so strong and Karou really grows up, I seriously can’t wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters!

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Another sequel with a good plot, I loved going back into the arena with Katniss and seeing the revolution build around her.

The Eternity Cure – Julie Kagawa
The Eternity Cure was so fast paced and every turn was completely unexpected. I love the way Kagawa writes and Allie is such a great protagonist.

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maquire has turned Oz into a dark world and it was amazing to continue Elphaba’s story with her son. The story is original and fits perfectly into this more sinister Oz.

Insurgent  – Veronica Roth
While I didn’t think Insurgent was quite as good as Divergent, I really enjoyed visiting all the factions and following Tris as she tries to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

Since I didn’t make it to 10 make sure you comment below with your suggestions and ideas! Do you tend to prefer the first book or their sequels? 🙂

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] TBR List (Autumn 2013)

BlogAfter last week my TBR list has definitely at least doubled! Everyone had such great picks that I couldn’t help but add a few to my list. I’ve managed to pull out a mix of the Top Ten I can’t wait for this Autumn and the ones I’m really excited to pick up next!

In no particular order:

Allegiant – Veronica Roth (22nd October 2013)
The final installment in the  Divergent Trilogy, I can’t wait to see how Roth wraps everything up and I’m especially excited to see how the double narration works. This book can’t come soon enough!

World After – Susan Ee (19th November 2013)
Does November count as Autumn? I’m not sure I care. I loved Angelfall and I’m so excited for the sequel, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ee can keep up the pace in World After.

Not a Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis (24th September 2013)
I already love the plot outline and I’ve heard so many great things that I couldn’t not add it to my list. Survival in a barren world with limited water supplies is a completely different game to the other apocolypse books I’ve read so far and I’m interested to see how this pans out.

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
First published in 1999, Speak sounds heartbreaking and dark with a strong message. I’d like to read this for something more serious than the usual.

Wool/Shift – Hugh Howey
I picked up Shift a few weeks ago thinking it was the first book (somehow missing the giant II on the spine, duh), but then I found out it’s actually a prequel. Which do I read first? Help!

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
A classic I should definitely have read by now, I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a long time but it keeps getting pushed further down the list the more new books I find. I’m going to find time to finally read this soon!

All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill
Another book that is blowing up right now, the concept is different and interesting so I’m excited to get my hands on a copy! I’m pretty sure this will feature as a review soon enough.

Feed – Mira Grant
I’ve never read a zombie book and Feed seems like a good place to start. The reviews are great and I like that we enter the world 20 years after infection, offering a different take on the classic zombie thriller.

Neverfall – Brodi Ashton
Another book I keep putting off, I finished Everneath and Everbound within a matter of days and I need to find out what happens to Nikki! I did love the first two books and I will get round to Neverfall at some point!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus was all over Top Ten Tuesday last week and I want to find out what all the fuss is about for myself. It’s supposed to be really visual and magical so I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Have you read any of my choices? Or are you adding some to your TBR list too? Leave your comments below!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books that should be required reading

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My memories of required reading in High School extend to an entire anthology of poetry, a lot of Shakespeare and Holes by Louis Sachar. Hopefully nowadays kids are encouraged to read a wider variety of books in their English classes! In no particular order, here are my ideal picks for the modern Required Reading List.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

One of the first books I independently read for pleasure, the Harry Potter series is fantastic for younger readers first breaking away from Primary School books and holds so many positive messages to carry through High School.

1984 – George Orwell

One of my favourite books, best for slightly older readers who can understand and appreciate the original dystopian fiction. Father of so many modern novels, programmes and ideas I think kids would really identify with the tone and themes of 1984.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

I adore this book. High School can be a tough time and so many teenagers feel alone and unable to talk about their emotions. The Bell Jar struck a chord with me as a 13 year old, made me feel hopeful for the future and showed the true power of a great novel.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Real vampires do not sparkle.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Animal Farm explained more to me in a much more enjoyable way than any history class ever did. It’s short but packed with strong messages that an English Lit teacher couldn’t help but love pulling apart.

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

The father of all modern fantasy and adventure novels deserves recognition. Perfect for students graduating from Hogwarts, JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is the perfect introduction to the original world of elves, magic and unsuspecting heroes.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Funny and powerful, Stockett vividly captures the two sides of life in the Deep South throughout the Civil Rights Movement. A history lesson and a great novel all in one, perfect right?

Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

I will never stop professing my love for Slaughterhouse 5. It’s completely stuffed with messages to decode, a strong anti-war declaration and the perfect scifi slant that keeps the reader guessing. It will be forever relevant and I will never stop recommending it!

Since I didn’t quite make it to ten choices this week make sure you comment below with your thoughts!