Posts Tagged ‘Pierce Brown

15
May
17

Part X-Files and part World War Z? Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. CBR9 Review 31.

UnknownMy local bookstore is really great about making recommendations for books I may otherwise have never known about. (You may remember, this was how I discovered Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle.) There’s nothing better than popping by the store and checking out what’s new and which employees have left rave reviews for titles and authors I might enjoy.

When I dropped by last Friday, I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. But when I started to browse the SciFic/Fantasy section, I saw a book with a note attached that said “LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN THE X-FILES AND WORLD WAR Z (NOT THE MOVIE)”.  I was intrigued, for sure. And then I saw the blurb on the cover was a quote from none other than Pierce Brown, so I just knew I had to buy it.

I tore threw this thing in record time and I worshipped every last page. Yes, the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are mixed. But this book was totally in my wheelhouse and did not disappoint me for a second.

It starts off with a mysterious incident: a young girl named Rose goes for a bike ride in the woods near her home in Deadwood, SD. The next thing she knows, she is lying in the palm of a gigantic (over 20 feet from wrist to finger) metal hand, in a very deep hole, looking up at her father and a team of fire fighters.

Rose grows up to become a scientist, and is charged with attempting to figure out the mystery of her metal hand. Who built it? How old is it? What is it made out of? What’s its purpose? And are there more pieces like it out there?

Slowly, but surely, Rose and her team of military specialists, scientists, and other academics find other pieces that fit together to create a giant woman. Rose guesses that this woman was built at least 3,000 years ago…meaning that it was not created by any known civilization on earth. But what is the robot woman for? Is it a statue? Is it a weapon?

The story is told in snippets of interviews, log entries, and recorded conversations with an un-named, unknown man, quite reminiscent of the CSM from the X-Files. He knows things, he isn’t going to tell you how he knows them, and he wants you to get the job done, no questions asked.

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But unlike CSM, this unknown narrator eventually starts to care a bit about the people involved in this mystery. Yes, he does some absolutely abhorrent things (um, the leg surgery part was really a bit much), but in the end, his decisions have mostly been for the greater good.

And this book has Star Wars jokes! In order to escape a potentially deadly situation, some of the characters plan an escape based solely upon a scheme Han Solo attempted once.

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Needless to say, I could not put this thing down. I devoured this book and was delighted to find that it is the first in a trilogy. The second book is on hold for my at my local library, and I’m getting antsy waiting for it to be my turn.

 

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10
Mar
16

Omnis Vir Lupus. CBR8 Review 13.

Unknown-2I really wish I was able to tell you that I loved this book. That it was as good as the first two entries in its trilogy, Red Rising and Golden Son. I wish I was going to sit here and tell you to run out and read this RIGHT NOW, to put everything else aside, and to get lost in the world of Reaper and Sevro for a while. But I’m not able to do that. Sorry.

Yes, you should definitely read this if you read and loved the first two.

But.

There’s just something missing from this one that was alive and vibrant in the other two.

Maybe it was all of the battle details. Tidbits about ships and brigs and defending the bridge, that were painstakingly researched, and maybe just explained to great a detail. (translation: THEY WERE BORING).

Maybe it was all of the Roman lingo that I simply just couldn’t keep track of. I kept flipping to the cast of characters and to the map at the beginning, hoping that there was another page that maybe I had missed. One that might explain just what in the hell was going on in parts of this book. Was the problem due to the fact that I had read each of these books when they came out, and that I had simply forgotten huge chunks of important names, places, and facts? Or was it that there were simply TOO MANY names, places, and facts to remember?

Maybe it was the fact that Pierce Brown is now a bit of a superstar in the book world and doesn’t have anybody around him telling him NO. Seriously, there is actually a scene in this book where a Gold named Felicia is brutally murdered, and in response, Darrow says, “Bye, Felicia.” COMMENCE EYE ROLLING.

Maybe it was just the underlying feeling of dread that any character that you may have any attachment to could be killed for no reason at any time. Like a Joss Whedon movie, this gets exhausting after a time. I only have so many fucks to give.

But I think what it mostly was is that I got tired of Reaper telling me things instead of showing AND PROVING things to me. The first two books were so filled with Reaper and his friends DOING things, that all of the talking in this last book simply pissed me off.

But yes, you should read it. Because Pierce Brown really is a superstar. And he can write. Some of the new characters were exciting and fun to read about. Some of the new locations (the ice land of the Valkyries) were just amazing to imagine. And there were passages that really just blew me away with their beauty.

They call me the Morning Star. That star by which griffin-riders and travelers navigate the wastes in the dark months of winter. The last star that disappears when daylight returns in the spring.

That’s kind of nice, in the middle of all of the ugly parts. And there are plenty of songs, poems, and speeches just as lovely. Like Darrow’s speech to his army before a huge battle:

In mine, in space, in city and sky, we have lived our lives in fear. Fear of death. Fear of pain. Today, fear only that we fail. We cannot. We stand upon the edge of darkness holding the lone torch left to man. That torch will not go out. Not while I draw breath. Not while your hearts beat in your chests. Not while our ships yet have menace in them. Let others dream. Let others sing. We chosen few are the fire of our people…We are not Red, not Blue or Gold or Gray or Obsidian. We are humanity. We are the tide. And today we reclaim the lives that have been stolen from us. We build the future we were promised…Guard your hearts. Guard your friends. Follow me through this evil night, and I promise you morning waits on the other side. Until then, break the chains!

Hell, I’d follow him in to battle after a St. Crispin’s day speech like that.

 

I’ve read that Brown is putting together another trilogy about the same world. I’ll definitely read it, but am grateful for a rest. I hope the books are about Sevro, maybe years in the future, training a bunch of his kids to become Howlers. I’d read those books.

28
Jan
15

Per aspera ad astra. CBR7 Review #7.

Unknown-1Through hardships to the stars.

Christ. I just finished Golden Son a few minutes ago. And I am exhausted.

The sequel to the amazing Red Rising, Golden Sun picks up the story a few years after the events of the first book. And then the action LITERALLY never stops. Each time something completely nuts would happen, and a chapter would end, I’d say to myself, “well. there’s no way he can top that.”

And then I’d read the next chapter. AND MY GOD, PIERCE BROWN WOULD TOP IT.

This book is about so much. War. Politics. Love. Loyalty. Friendship. Society. The destiny of mankind. Still fighting to do what he thinks his martyred wife Eo would want him to, Darrow now plans to bring down all of society from within. To start a civil war in which all classes (in this case, colors) are equal. Where Reds and Golds are both seen as men who can contribute to society. Urged on by the secret Sons of Ares, Darrow wages war agains the Sovereign and her allies, in spectacular (Flying through space as a human missile in order to take control of an enemy space craft? Awesome.) fashion.

Easier said than done, of course. Other than two of Darrow’s closest allies, nobody knows about Darrow’s past, and how his secret affects his every decision. But his selection as the face of the revolution was well-planned by Ares himself.

I always knew a Gold couldn’t lead this rebellion. It has to be from the bottom up…Red is about family. More than any other Color, it is about love amid all the horror of our world. If Red rises, they have a chance to bind the worlds together.

Clearly, that’s a lot for Darrow to have put on his shoulders. And he and his friends do an admirable job for the most part to do what’s right. But it isn’t easy for any of them. Members of Darrow’s army who weren’t born Gold suddenly find themselves with a new world open to them. (Ragnar, the Obsidian, was an amazing character — the choices he made for himself were quite heartbreaking.) And not all of Darrow’s allies are open to the idea that other colors might be as worthy as the Golds.

The battles are brutal (my god, that scene underwater? I was practically holding my breath) and unforgiving. Like George RR Martin, Pierce Brown is not afraid to shock the reader with the violent and unexpected death of a favorite character. And that ending. Ugh.

Then farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear. Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost…Evil, be thou my good.”

Yeah, that’s not something you want to hear when you are hoping for a happy ending.

I love the style Brown uses in these books. Combining the spectacle of the ancient world with the technology of the future. The way that the Golds worship the customs of civilizations like Ancient Rome and Greece. The gravity boots that help you to fly.  The war-rooms and political maneuvering, straight out of history books. The razor swords that are a bit like bad-ass light sabers. The Shakespearean speeches given to rouse the troops before an epic, completely bonkers battle in space.

Lastly, a shoutout to Sevro, one of my favorite characters in both books. But every time I see his name in print, I see “Servo”, and picture this.

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I honestly can’t imagine what the hells and pain that the third book will bring. But I can’t wait to find out. These books are bloodydamn amazing.

31
Mar
14

Scootsa1000’s #CBR6 Review 14: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Unknown-3There’s been a lot of recent hullaballoo about Red Rising. Pierce Brown is young and handsome and eloquent and has a lot to say about the world he has created in Red Rising, which I’m sure is making movie studios salivate at the prospect of finally producing the next Hunger Games franchise. But Red Rising is a lot more than a potential movie series starring very attractive young people. There’s some real writing talent here.

What exactly is Red Rising about? Well. Its about a future society on Mars, and the civil unrest that exists between the classes. Its about the government taking the best and brightest and forcing them to fight to become the leaders of tomorrow. Take the political strife and personal sacrifice of The Hunger Games, the manipulation of children for the purposes of battle from Ender’s Game, the political maneuverings of A Song of Fire and Ice, the mythology of the Percy Jones books, and then toss in some inspirational Braveheart/Henry V speeches. And then mix it all together and top it off with a huge pile of bat-shit crazy killing from Battle Royale. That’s Red Rising.

To be honest, I wasn’t too into it at first. It starts out a story about a boy named Darrow, who is a member of the lowest class of Mars’ society, the Reds (class is based on “color” — reds are low, golds are high. Anything lower than gold is more or less a slave.). Darrow lives in the mines of Mars, living a quiet (yet very poor) life with his wife, Eo. Eo shows him a glimpse of what life outside of the mines is like, and that just maybe the government hasn’t been completely honest with them. When his world turns upside down and he is shown that life on Mars really isn’t all that it seems, everything changes. Darrow is used as a pawn: through many lengthy and painful surgeries, he is turned into a “gold” fighter, and sent as a spy to infiltrate the extremely selective institute where the best of the best are trained to lead. The end goal is to bring down society from the inside, leading to a potential revolution and end to the color caste system.

At this point, I wasn’t 100% sold on this story.

And then.

Well, the less said, the better. Darrow is chosen for entry to the prestigious academy, and then all hell literally breaks loose. The academy isn’t quite what any of the gold students expect. At all. And at this point, I couldn’t put the book down. The last 70% of the story is out of control. But in a good way.

I did have a few minor quibbles with this book. Many times, plots and characters were simply thrust into the story without any introduction or background. It took me a while to get used to this style of exposition (the first few times, I had to go back and check…had I met this character before? Did we already learn about this? No? OK.), but after a while, I simply got used to it. My other complaint? There is so much going on here, that when the next book comes out I’m going to have to do a re-read in order to prepare.

Please note: this book isnt’ for the feint of heart. It is at times brutal and violent. I noticed that it wasn’t in the YA section of my library, but rather in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, which I think is for the best.

 

 




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