Red Rising - Pierce Brown This ARC was provided to me for an honest review and did not alter my thoughts in any way.

Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.

My favorite book ever is Brave New World. If you tell me it isn’t just the perfect representation of escapism in consumerist societies and I will literally punch you. Here’s a little tiny secret though, I hated the beginning of Brave New World.

Don’t ask me why, I reread it and it’s a wonderful beginning and I slap myself for ever hating it. But that’s a sort of relationship I have with dystopians. I don’t like their beginnings, and when you stop and think about it, you really shouldn’t like beginning of dystopians. They’re all about how weak the human race can be, and if they’re good enough, you should hate them in the beginning for how dangerously close they come placing human psyche on the table and pointing out all the nasty flaws in society you didn’t notice.

Or that you did notice and can’t remedy.

So I say, with a smile, that I had my doubts about this book in the beginning.

If you’ve read a Young Adult dystopian book in the last three years, then you know true pain. If you’re a dystopian fan and try to venture into Young Adult, you know true pain. These are romances parading around in futuristic worlds which are only slightly oppressive stating they are dystopian. Bitch, I know my dystopian genre, and you aren’t in it.

Red Rising isn’t just a Young Adult dystopian how dystopian should be, it’s a Young Adult book how Young Adult books should be written. There isn’t unnecessary instalove, there isn’t a confusing love triangle for the sake of a love triangle, and there IS a plot.

It’s the Young Adult dystopian that we’ve been waiting for!

Some people will compare it to Hunger Games. You have my permission to gut those bastards with an ionBlade. This is FAR superior than anything Katniss ever did in her small little tournament thing.

One of the best things about this book is that it doesn’t shy away from anything. Want to trample someone to death with horses? Let’s do that. Want to cut people’s ears off because Golds don’t know how else to treat people in society? Let’s fucking do that. If people thought Hunger Games was brutal, sweetie, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Darrow is, in one simple word, a BAMF (four words, but whatever, acronyms count). This is a guy who sometimes forgets his purpose, sometimes forgets who he is because of the mask he has. That’s okay! He always comes back to it, always remembers what he’s striving for and where he came from. And this isn’t some pansy ass hero either. He doesn’t whine incessantly about how cruel the world is to him the entire book. He goes out and gets shit done and will choke a bitch if need be.

If you like Darrow in the beginning, keep in mind that he gets even better. Like, not even a little bit. He goes from an arrogant HellDiver to someone that commands loyalty of people that never even realized what loyalty is. Seriously. He's Alexander the fucking Great. There's a scene straight from the history books, paralleling when Alexander denied himself water in a desert when he knew his men wouldn't have any.

Eo is also a BAMF (get used to this word, people, you'll see it a lot in my review). She's a beautiful, cunning, determined, and smart BAMF. She is also not your YA love interest. No. When Darrow says he lives for her, she pretty much tells him that there's more to live for. Greatest line in YA romance.

There are a number of minor and not so minor characters in this book. Here's a small list of what I thought of them.

First of all, all of them? BAMF.

Cassius is his pedigree and so much more. Darrow says that Golds don't know anything about love, but Cassius does. He clearly does. He's got the same single mindedness about him that Darrow does. But he really is a great friend. Darrow's paranoia is all I'll say here.

Sevro is hands down my favorite. He sort of reminds me of San from Princess Mononoke if San went fucking insane. And that’s a good thing. A GREAT thing. I’m not quite sure how, but he’s awesome. He also kills someone with his fingernails and that’s just the best thing ever.

Matteo is hilarious and I love him. It's sad that he's hilarious too, every time he does something that I think is funny, I laugh and immediately feel bad. It's the Society's fault that he's hilarious and loveable and I wonder what he would be like on his own nature.

Mustang is also awesome, and the single smartest character in this book, I think. She provides a foil to Eo in a lot of ways, but pales in comparison. Not because she does, because I may like her better, but because this is Darrow's POV, so of course everyone will pale with Eo. So if anyone has anything bad to say about Mustang, please direct them towards me.

Also, the Proctors. OH! The Proctors. I will skin each and every one of the Proctors, Moriarty style.

Titus. Misunderstood and angry Titus. And you feel bad for him once he slips and you realize what's driving his hatred and poor leadership.

Pax. Sweet Pax.

I am also a HUGE mythology nerd. Greek mythology gets more spotlight than Roman, so it’s nice to see Roman mythology get a bit of sun. The book acknowledges that the Romans bastardized Greek mythology too, which is a nice plus.

The government IS oppressive too. It’s none of this whiny “I can’t have rice on Tuesday, OMG, my awful life!” dystopian that’s NOT DYSTOPIAN AT ALL!

The government controls food supplies until people barter sex for food, it rigs who gets bonuses, the hierarchy determines your jobs and some breeding goes into it as well. If you’re an artist, they literally DRUG you so that you can think of crazy shit to paint later. Seriously. And that’s not a bad hierarchy to be in.

The top hierarchy? The Golds? They still fight to the death. They’re oppressing and killing off their own selected! Because Golds should still fear Golds, because that is how this society works. Nothing is granted, everything is taken.

This is a book with a lot of political research behind it too. You have some of Hobbes’ theory with the beginning of Mars and a sprinkle of Rousseau as well. This book explores what it would be like if society were stripped away from us, if we had to learn to rule and govern on our own.

Special scenes of note, though I refuse to spoil anything since everyone should read this book; the Alexander the Great scene I mentioned above, there’s a scene with Apollo, and a scene with Fritchner. Some of Darrow’s one liners are just awesome.

There are a few things that left me wanting in this book. Very few and far between, but I wouldn’t be doing the review justice if I didn’t mention it. Even on reread, I still hate the prologue. I only hate the prologue because of the style though, which you see in the first few chapters before it’s abandoned. Very early on, a TON of the sentences aren’t truly sentences. It’s strange, like they should have a comma but instead have a period. It gets a bit annoying when I have to reread a sentence a few times, but the author dropped the choice early on.

Also, I wish we could see a bit more detail into how the Colors are bred. It would give a better view on how the Golds are keeping up such an absolute oppression. It seems only the lowReds are lied to, so what’s stopping all the other Colors from revolting? There was a mention that Pinks had brittle bones, but that was one of the only hints I noticed.

Those above comments? They really don’t mean anything. This is the best YA book I’ve read since I read A Monster Calls.... And that’s saying a lot! I mean, have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Yeah, it’s better than that.

Read this book. I don’t care if you have to kill someone’s brother.