Review of Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy

I really didn't know what to expect from the Red Rising trilogy and new author Pierce Brown, but I had to read it because EVERYBODY else was and it was developing such an unbelievably loyal and fervent following. Glad I did!

Red Rising begins with an almost staccato, jarring, even somewhat abrasive style that hooked me just because it was different - and I like different. That smooths out a bit, and then I was wondering where all this was going to go - and then the hook, which I won't mention, but what a hook.

Brown has managed to provide so many things I like in fiction together in one series, and kept things moving so quickly, I read these books one after the other and groaned when I had to stop reading for the night and get some sleep. Action worthy of any action-adventure novel, grand scope of epic fantasy/sci-fi, even ancient history and mythological elements, fascinating characters, all in a supremely intriguing future setting. It's got the "school," it's got the dystopia, it's got the "rebellion," everything we've loved about the biggest fantasy and sci-fi novels of the last two decades. But far from being derivative, Brown makes it all work in a refreshing, exciting way.

Sure, Brown takes some liberties with his "science," and a few are a little eye-rolling, but what the hell, it's all in the service of great fun. One of Brown's greatest skills is the ability to fork the story into entirely unexpected directions, providing "what the...?!" moments that make you wonder why he did it and how the heck he's going to make it work - but he does, and that is not an easy thing to do. Highly recommended!