My Year In Books: Red Rising by Pierce Brown – Book #35

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Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy (#1)
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Recorded Books
Medium: Audiobook
Voice Actor: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Finished Reading: July 30, 2014

About:‘I live for the dream that my children will be born free,’ she says. ‘That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.’
‘I live for you,’ I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek.
‘Then you must live for more.’

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow – and Reds like him – are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies…even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.”

I’m not sure where to begin or how to write an accurate review of this. First of all, re-read the “About”. Usually I don’t fully grasp what the “About” section is saying. Having read the book, and writing this out now, it is dead-on. For this post, I’m going to do it a little differently. I’m just going to list out my thoughts. Good, Bad, Ugly, all mixed in together. Just because there is so much going through my head right now. So, shall we begin? (Rhetorical, we’re going to begin.)

  • Eo. Eo is probably my favorite character. She is such a fighter. She is the rebel that every rebel-without-a-cause and every rebel-with-a-cause aspires to be. Let me just lay down a bad-ass example. (Trying not to give anything away, so it might be a little vague, bare with me.) She is caught doing something that is against the Red’s laws, so there is to be a public whipping. While she is being whipped she starts to sing. BOOM. First of all. Hi. Who the EFF sings when they’re being whipped?! And she’s not just singing any ol’ song. No! She’s singing a banned song. One that seriously causes havok. One that Golds fear could cause a riot. BADASS. I want her strength, her conviction, her dream.
  • This book is insanely dark. There are waaay too many examples to put down to show you just what I mean. If ever there was a question about whether or not this should be a YA book or an adult book – let me put them to rest. ADULT. Dark, dark, dark. Loved it. I loved how gritty, true, and honest it was.
  • We learn things as Darrow is learning things. We’re not given insider information that he finds out 50 pages from when we already knew it.. hell no. We find out simultaneously. There were times when I was definitely taken aback. (All over the board with my language choices today.) Loved.
  • Brutal. Good God is it brutal. If you shy away from that sort of thing, this book is definitely not for you. Example: There is a Gold who wears bones and teeth in her hair to show off her trophy kills and destruction. Yes. I did not just make that up.
  • Voice Actor! I cannot forget to give a huge shout out to Reynolds. He definitely has the voice that I would imagine Darrow to have. It’s gritty, accented, and gravelly. Loved.
  • There is an insane dichotomy going on! I cannot go into details on this one without giving away plot ….things…points… surprises. You’ll just have to read to know what I’m talking about.
  • Power of three. YES! As a writer, I love the way Brown frames the story with his power of three. The song! It comes up three times and in a different way each time. Different meanings, different settings, different feelings evoked. Genius.
  • Ready for action. This whole book made me want to fight for something I feel truly passionate about. I want to be up there, on the front lines fighting (hopefully not physically) for something I hold dear to my heart.

That was a nice ramble, mambo-jumbo, list of points I wanted to talk about. This is a trilogy, so now I’m waiting for the next one, which doesn’t come out until 2015. The time I’m writing this, that’s at least a five month wait! (Now only a mere few – so close, yet so far!) I will definitely be ready for it. I have discussed my annoyance that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of new books coming out that aren’t series (why can’t the book just start and finish in one volume?!) I have no qualms with this one being a trilogy. There was just so much going on. At times it seemed long, but it definitely went with the tone of the book. It seemed long because there was a huge passage of time. Very fitting. Much props.

My rating and why: I give it four stars! There is sooo much going on and I’m truly excited about this book. Legit. When, if, you read it – we need to talk! Loved the characters, plot, whole idea, where the story is going, everything. But Megan, why isn’t it five stars? Great question! It’s not five stars becaaause I’m having a hard time giving it five stars when the other books are not out. There are so many questions that came up and I want them answered. I’m reserved only because I want to see how the others play out.

That all being said: tell me what’s going on in your head? Are you excited? Is this on your “to-read” list? Have you read it and think everything I wrote is crap? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come out tomorrow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!

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Top Books I’ve Read In 2014 Thus Far

It is August already. (Here comes a cliche for you…) This year is just flying by. (Told you.) There have been so many awesome book releases this year and insane books I’ve read this year. This is a tribute to the top 10 books I’ve read this year (so far…). DISCLAIMER: These aren’t in any particular order. I’m not going to explain why these are my favorite because if they have not had a blog post up yet, there will be one in the “My Year In Books 2014” series. I will just be writing what is on the back of the book to get you psyched and give you a peeeeeek.

Without further ado.

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Wonder by RJ Palacio
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

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The Giver by Lois Lowry
December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man-the man called only the Giver-he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The war begins…
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable – and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.
But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

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The Ten Minute Activist: Easy Ways To Take Back The Planet by The Mission Collective
The planet is in trouble. Global warming, record-breaking natural disasters, 9/11, two hotly contested presidential elections, and a war abroad has left many Americans feeling uneasy with the state of our own lives and the security of the planet. We know that life cannot be sustained at the current rate of consumption, yet it is easy to succumb to helplessness and apathy. But if making a difference only required ten minutes of our time a day, how many more people would try to make a difference? Written in an edgy, engaging style, The Ten Minute Activist, shows how even the busiest person can make a difference. From buying organic milk and bison to switching from free-trade to fair trade; from choosing a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) retirement plan to car-pooling with colleagues, The Mission Collective has compiled the most up-to-date information on energy conservation, global warming, wildlife preservation, community building, spiritual awareness and political action. The Ten Minute Activist informs and inspires with easy acts that can truly have an impact if engaged en masse.

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough… Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises… Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Probably Garcí­a Márquez finest and most famous work. One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, alive with unforgettable men and women, and with a truth and understanding that strike the soul. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpiece of the art of fiction.

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American Vampire Vol 2 by Scott Snyder
While trafficking in a bestselling sub-genre, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire — a more muscular and vicious species, born of the American West.
It’s Las Vegas circa 1935, and Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City.
In just a few short years, young police Chief Cash McCogan has watched his native city of Las Vegas go from cow-town to wild, glittering boomtown. And when the bodies of prominent businessmen start showing up drained of blood, Chief McCogan finds himself facing a threat much darker and deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . . and the only sure bet in town is that Skinner and Pearl are right in the thick of it.

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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

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Bossypants by Tina Fey
Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

There’s the top 10. There are a few others that I rated pretty high as well, but they just didn’t fit inside the number 10.

What book are you most anxious about reading this year? Have any of these made the cut? What’s your favorite book you’ve read so far this year? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow.

Happy reading!