A little slow in places, but a great ending to a fantastic trilogy. So many trilogies fall flat after the first book or two, and end with a whimper, but the Under the Never Sky series consistently proved its worth.
I will admit, I was half expecting a magical resurrection after the events of book two, but no such luck. (And it would have killed the sincerity of the plot. There is grief and pain and sacrifices need to be made, and that’s life.)
And authors, take note! THIS IS HOW YOU DEPICT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO YOUNG ADULTS. THEY TALK ABOUT THEIR ISSUES. COMMUNICATION! THEY DON’T GO FOR TEENAGE DRAMATICS! THEY SORT THEIR SHIT OUT!
That was worthy of the capslock, I might add.
"You have to talk to me. We have to tell each other the little things, the bad things. Maybe they’ll hurt for a while, but at least they won’t become big things. If we don’t, we’re just going to keep hurting each other. And I don’t want to do that anymore."
HEAR THAT, AUTHORS WHO WRITE SHITTY EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS? I FEEL LIKE I’M SHOUTING INTO THE VOID HERE.
Amen. (I really was mentally shouting in my head when I typed that, btw).
This book for me felt more like a character progression than a plot progression - we all know where they’re going, and what the ultimate goal is. It’s really down to who makes it, who doesn’t, and the tough decisions that need to be made.
Also, I have to commend Veronica Rossi on her depiction of wonderful platonic friendship. No weird love triangle or jealousies, just a pure supportive relationship, and it’s beautiful. I’m referring to Roar and Aria here, although I also enjoyed the brotherly relationship of Roar and Perry - no male posturing, just anger and grief over their shared loss, which they work through together. At the end of the day, they have each other’s backs.
I will absolutely be reading whatever the author writes next.
“But romance novels are trashy!”
This really means “romance novels depict women enjoying sex.” The fact that women enjoying sex is perceived as being “trashy” is THE WHOLE FUCKING PROBLEM.
It is 2014 and if a book contains graphic depictions of women enjoying sex, then it is scandalous. Let’s all just think about that for a minute.
Paging my fellow romance readers/writers…
Ai. I am conflicted. On one hand, I really did enjoy the storytelling and the writing. On the other, there were quite a few things that bugged me. Seriously, this was like a bloodthirsty Percy Jackson crossed with the Hunger Games.
For starters, we have the groupings of people according to traits - this time, organised by colours - Reds, the downtrodden miners (why are all the oppressed people in dystopias miners? District 12, anyone?), Pinks, the pleasure people, Golds, the ones at the top, Grey, the law enforcement, etc. And they are kept docile by propaganda spewed by
the Capital Gold rulers. Food and other goods are used as prizes for an individual mining group meeting their quota the winners of the hunger games and provided with food and other goods, there are public lashings, a sacrificial lamb, and a sneaky rebel broadcast of a televised message to try gall the masses. SOUND FAMILIAR?
And the blurb goes:
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, 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.
Which is when it feels like we switch to reading a completely different book. Suddenly, we are in the midst of another rivalry, this time, between 12 of the Gold Houses. I’m a little fuzzy on all the hierarchies within the hierarchies, to be honest. But we have House Mars, House Diana, Mercury, Jupiter, etc, and the kids in this command school are literally dumped into a battlefield and
have to fight to the death play a very violent game of what essentially amounts to capture the flag, and, oh, who the hell am I kidding, they pretty much fight to the death. There are benevolent and not so benevolent benefactors and nefarious parties with dodgy agendas, and the games end with the last one standing, who then earns a very privileged position in the leadership structure.
There were so many characters and alliances that I went a bit cross eyed trying to remember them all, and as I mentioned, all the groupings within groupings tended to overcomplicate things somewhat.
All in all, Red Rising feels like a blend of fantasy and dystopia, and my rating is based on the overall enjoyment factor, rather than the critical qualms I had, which were many.