I don’t know why I expected something lesser than what I read. I think I’d heard too many murmurs of “derivative” and “boy Katniss” but this really isn’t any of that at all. Sure, Red Rising and The Hunger Games both have dystopian settings featuring underdogs who rise to the top via brutal competitions, and both are excellently written, but that’s like saying all sci-fi is the same, which is stupid and reductive.
Anyway, Red Rising? Is an amazing novel. Pierce Brown isn’t afraid to take the rawest emotions and situations and put them on full display. I did have reservations about the whole Eo situation (it was clear that she was going to get fridged, but I was won around to what actually happened because she was the agent of it all) and the whole adoption of martyrdom as a winning tactic made the pragmatist in me recoil, but I was swept up in the drama of it all, that never, thankfully, teetered over into the maudlin. By the end of it, I wanted to go out and binge read the rest, which is pretty much the highest recommendation I can give of a book in a series. Alas, I have too many other books in the way, but soon!