Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Ten Reasons I Love X — could be a certain book, character, author, your indie bookstore, a fandom, a tv show, reading, a hobby, a genre. Honestly anything you want to gush about.
We are both enamoured with Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy. In fact, one might say that our friendship has survived due to our mutual love for this series. So much so that despite any differences in opinion about other novels we can always take comfort in the fact that we both adore this series. As such we have composed a list of the top ten things that made us fall in love with this series.
I have never fallen so easily in love with one character. More often than not the protagonist of a novel is not my favourite character, which makes Darrow unique in that it’s hard not to be enamoured with his clumsy brilliance and passionate reckless ambition.
2. Secondary characters
Every character that is introduced serves a unique purpose. Whether that be to unflinchingly follow Darrow into the jaws of death or to act as a symbol of a broken society, each character is given a voice. And despite the multitude of characters none of their character development suffers.
I will judge anyone who’s not taken with Sevro’s crass humour and dark ambitions. He’s loyal to Darrow and one of the only characters who Darrow can trust fully in an ever-changing landscape that is littered with masked men.
4. The Jackal
What’s a hero without a compelling villain? As villainous as he is unpredictable the Jackal is one of the most intriguing characters in this novel. Not only does he portray certain weaknesses he’s got a manipulative restrained violence within him which is unparalleled in this novel.
5. Character Growth
There is no easier way to have me drooling unattractively after a character than to dangle good character development in front of me. The growth of not only Darrow, as he learns the strange brutal customs of a new society and sharpens his tongue and his mind, but also supporting characters such as Mustang and Sevro, is elegantly done. Allowing for brief periods of confusion and anger as the characters make and come to regret their decisions.
6. Betrayals and Plot Twists
I am always continuously and relentlessly left gaping at these novels in either shock or glee.Whether the plot reveals are big or small they always take me by surprise. This in part due to the unpredictability of certain characters and the continuous upheaval of the Gold’s political world.
7. World Building
I admittedly don’t read a lot of science fiction so it is perhaps because of this that I was impressed by Brown’s cleverly crafted world. The explicit all consuming class system isn’t original but it is geared to being inescapable in every way. Made more prominent by the lengths which Darrow goes to in order to become part of the high order of Golds. Brown strikes the balance between descriptive and exciting.
Though it is impossible to state that Red Rising is a political thriller, Darrow would never have been able to achieve his goal of total domination in the games, without his political nature. Mustang helped Darrow develop his political skills, that he never learnt as a Red, helping him take control of the deserters, where eventually Darrow was also able to win the loyalty Tactus by introducing democracy into the autocratic rule of the golds.
9. Subdued Romance
The romance, though present, is very underwhelming which I was very happy about it. And while it does play a part in the plot it’s nowhere near insufferable. Darrow is, for the most part, capable of separating his emotions from his ambitions.
10. Going Above and Beyond
The characters, especially Darrow, aren’t confined to lazy clichéd plot lines, instead Brown strives to take them beyond this. Forging paths for the characters which take them above the expected and into which their desire for power transcends the mediocre ambitions of common man.