Red Rising was one of my favourite books last year. I marked it as my first favourite, but I made the list right after reading it, and I might have still been coming down a bit. Either way, it was a fantastic novel. This is the second of the trilogy, and it easily lived up to the first book.
He always thinks because I’m reading, I’m not doing anything. There is no greater plague to an introvert than the extroverted.
I had a couple of small problems with the first book, mainly that the protagonist, Darrow, was a bit of a Gary Stu. He was fantastic at almost everything, which I could overlook since there were valid story elements that made that possible, but things seemed to come a little too easy for him. In this novel, outside of the ‘academy’ environment of Red Rising, not everything goes as smoothly, and that does serve as an interesting contrast to how he was used to being treated.
The first novel mainly took place in a training, clan-based, Hunger Games scenario, which was fun, but it left you feeling like not much happened. The scenario had real-world consequences, such as death and the forming of future alliances, but in a way it didn’t feel like it furthered the overall plot of Darrow’s mission. That turned around in this book, though, as he left the academy environment and made huge strides not just on Mars but throughout the galaxy. It made the stakes feel that much higher, the victories far more important and the failures even more painful. With this wider scope it did unfortunately meant there was less of the specific Ender’s Game like analysis of his tactics and motivations, which was my favourite part of the last book, but it made up for that in other ways. There are some brilliant scenes in this book
I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind – how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.
This managed to avoid becoming the awkward middle child of the trilogy. I thought the plot had a strong fresh start, built off the first book, finished in a great place, and left the reader curious about what’s next to come. Everything a middle book in a trilogy should be. In many ways this improved upon the first, in some it fell a bit short, but overall this has been a fantastic series so far. Tim Gerard Reynolds’ narration of this is extraordinarily good as well.