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I kept bracing myself for the moment this book would turn into the Hunger Games, but the moment never came. And I was so glad it didn’t. Red Rising is decidedly more intricate, thorough, and exciting than even the best of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. Red Rising has more thematic romance than in the Hunger Games, but it clicks in perfectly with the other core elements of the plot and Darrow’s romantic struggle is so much more solid and believable than Peeta could ever hope to be within his unsteady love triangle.

The story carries on steadily from page 1, and by the time the real action begins it is already sweeping through seasons with smooth movement – a plot so well-planned and executed that there is no place to stop and yawn and no plot holes or missteps in sight. I used to really love and look up to Katniss, but once Darrow (or even Mustang) came into my life, I’ve started to forget why archery and tracker jackers were once so fascinating to me. Red Rising kept me guessing at every turn, even as I subconsciously read with a writer’s eye, dissecting the plot structure along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so power-packed and violent with such an emotional and relatable, yet incredibly MALE protagonist. On paper, this isn’t a book I would usually go for, but you know it’s good storytelling when you look up halfway through – remembering that you really like female protagonists and hints of sappy romance and sci-fi that isn’t based on an oppressive government – and then you shrug your shoulders and keep reading.

Darrow is the new hero of this generation – and Pierce Brown is my new hero.

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