Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the colour-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow - and Reds like him - are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. 

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 (from Goodreads). 

Rating: unrated as unfinished

So I aimed to start 2018 off with a bang and tick off one of my 2018 Ultimate Book Challenge books, the book recommended to me by a friend. Instead, sadly, I've ended up with a book I can't bring myself to finish. 

Red Rising is a book that's been on my radar a while now, having been recommended to me by a friend sometime last year. She does not typically read a lot of fiction, particularly not dystopian fiction, but she offered such praise for this book and had bought the rest of the books in the series. I wouldn't have even known from her description that it was young adult dystopian fiction, a genre I'm starting to move away from, but I gave it a shot as she had made it seem really interesting. 

The first part of the book was quite good, the first few chapters grabbing my initial attention. Darrow and Eo's introduction worked, and I really grew to care about them and their lives. The world of the Reds, the culture they had created, was interesting to learn about. There was great potential for the book to continue on this trajectory. Even as the setting changed and Darrow learned the truth about society on Mars, that the Reds had been lied to, there was such potential to tell a gripping story about destroying a corrupt society from the inside, starting with his adventures at the training academy for the Golds. 

Unfortunately, the training academy is the real letdown of the book. Taking up about 3/4 of the actual book, the story stagnates as for some reason the author thought it would be interesting to spend that time playing pretend war in fortresses and forests. The students are placed into factions and the game ends when one House dominates all others. What should be an interesting exercise of morals, of discovering the lengths one will go to to survive, of rivalry and friendship, it is just dragged on far, far too long. A few chapters would have been much more suitable, and actually allowed for proper story development in other ways. 

I grew to hate everything and everyone in the book, and have been unable to bring myself to complete it. Another fifty pages and I would have been finished, but I can't do it. Getting this far has already been so painful. Nothing of any interest has happened in the past hundred pages, so I'm cutting my loses. 

I know a little about how the series goes, and that there is a sequel series coming set in the same world with many of the same characters, but I don't think I'll ever get to reading them. Red Rising was actually just highly disappointing. 

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