Sit down, my dear ones, this Christmas Eve, and I’ll tell you a story, of Paul Atreides, and Ender Wiggin, and Roland Deschain, and Harry Potter, and Luke Skywalker, and Katniss Everdeen and Buffy Summers, and Danerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, and Kara Thrace, and Usagi Tsukino, and Claudio Kilgannon, and Moana of Motunui, and Clark Kent.
Let’s sing songs and tell tales of those heroes. Because it’s only in knowing them as I do, after these past six years of immersing myself in the culture that holds them up, can I tell you, that Red Rising is one of those glorious bits of genre fiction that stands on the shoulders of things that came before it and holds them together. Pierce Brown has written a pure hero’s journey story that’s fun to read, peopled by imperfect characters in a fully built world.
That’s not easy.
That said, I was more impressed by this book than loved it. It’s propulsive in it’s plotting, but I never fell for Darrow, our intrepid chosen one, a member of a low caste mining clan on Mars, in a distant future plucked into a deadly game of elite warriors by chance and possibly fate, the way I love those I listed above.
The book’s good though and worth reading if this is your thing. (Again, look at that list, it is decidedly my thing) (Also, check out The Marina Chronicle, where I’m peddling my own version.) (I know, I haven’t updated in a while, it’s coming soon, I swear!) Without spoilers it pulls of an early in twist of the kind that I haven’t seen since The Matrix (AH! Neo! Also on the list!) you think this is one sort of story and it’s another entirely. It’s got a lot of The Hunger Games in it, to be sure, but I think more of Dune. (Then again, Dune is kind of the Ghengis Khan of the speculative fiction game, it’s DNA is ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE.)
The world building is superb, the plot simple enough (there are two or three too many double crosses for my taste, but I get it.) and it’s the beginning of a series, so we’ll see if I go further down the rabbit hole this time.
Up next is I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson, because between this book and Deadwood I’ve been mired in Man’s being philosophical and violent so I need something light and female at the moment.