“So this kid is what? A predestined Alexander? A Caesar? A Genghis? A Wiggin?’ I ask. ‘This is slagging nonsense.” (Red Rising by Pierce Brown)
There is nothing better than books within books. Imaginary books, real books. Characters reading them, authors referencing them. All wonderful. This is why, when Pierce Brown references Card’s Ender’s Game (above), I almost die with happiness. Brown not only mentions another beloved sci-fi novel, but actually brings that world into his own, implying that his story could be a potential future of Card’s. With just that one word, he helps me imagine countless scenarios that could connect Ender’s and Darrow’s stories, allowing me to write spin-offs and fan-fictions to my heart’s content. Though the worlds don’t truly connect (Brown later says that his people have never seen aliens), it shows that Brown is one of us – just another reader who grew up on the greats of fantasy and sci-fi.
Red Rising has also been hailed as the next Hunger Games since both books are dystopias with teenaged characters. They are almost similar, except that Pierce Brown is the more reliable author. He is consistent where Collins is not. Collins disappointed her fans by repeating her plots over and over again, not paying attention to her characters, and not valuing her audience. It is always possible that Brown will crash and burn on the second or third book in this trilogy (as many have done before him), but his strong writing makes that seem unlikely. It’s easy to trust an author who builds conflict from the first moment, who isn’t overly protective of his characters, and who doesn’t get bogged down in the details. I have high hopes for the conclusion of this trilogy.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Ending: Hopeful, tense
Incidental Learning: Fate of Ender Wiggins’ world
Further Reading: Read the second book Golden Son immediately.