My goal is to read at least one book per month that is on "my already owned by never read" TBR shelf as part of two reading challenge I'm doing for 2016. I've considered trying to rearrange my book shelves like normal people to plan which books I'm going to read. It's daunting. PLUS! And this is key: I would have to separate books in a series! I'm not a monster!
Anywhoo... I've read three TBR books in January: a Kindle Book, a classic re-read, and Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Yes!! Red Rising has been on the shelf for quite some time. It was one of those Buy 2 get 1 free things at Barnes and Nobles which you know I'm a sucka for.
"...Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so."
Here's the Review part, if you've made it past my ramblingOk, the Goodreads summary spoils the whole book... I mean, it sets up the conflict and sort of gives away the over-arching stuff, here. Darrow is a Martian who works at the planet's core to ready the planet for Earthlings to settle there. His people live below ground and are righteous in their role as pioneers of the new terrain. And then there's a Braveheart moment where someone he loves dies (you have to read the death stuff, it's heart- rending) and he loses his damn mind. Then, he becomes righteous in his role as the person who will take down the Society that has lied to the Lower- Reds. Then, the story becomes part Lord of the Flies, part Hogwarts/ Percy Jackson as people are sorted into Houses based on skill and traits and then there's a fight to the death and then setting a bunch of kids into the woods with limited resources and then... all hell breaks loose. But, then... humanity! Maybe! And friendship! Perhaps. And Betrayal. or not! And Love! Of course.
This earns my support as a Diverse book because, while the characters are not described as different in the current lingo of present day earth, there are definite themes of class, race, and family warfare that are reflect important thoughts, feelings, and actions related to looking and being different from those around you. There's a clear hierarchy and stereotypes (e.g., including insults and discrimination) based on the "color" you were born to. It's interesting to watch Darrow struggle with the very real adolescent notion of authenticity as he seeks to "become a Gold" but stay true to his rusty side. And, then, as a Gold, see himself take on behaviors his Red-family would likely hate.
I feel like a lot happened in this book and that I might need to read it again because maybe I missed some things... for example, I thought the Heads of the Houses were just named for Greek/ Roman gods but then they went up to Olympus... so... was that a metaphor or are there actual gods in this world? Of course, I might just look it up on the internet...
And am I crazy or does Pierce Brown look a little like Skinny Josh Peck? My kid says I'm nuts. But, I present to you, Exhibits A and B. #twinning