Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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The year is 736 PCE – over seven hundred years after the former colonies of Earth across the solar system rebelled against their mother planet and won. Now, the world has been divided into rigid social classes that depend on the color of one’s skin, from the ruling Golds to the slaving Reds. 

Darrow, a Red Helldiver who risks his life daily to procure helium-3 from the bowels of Mars to make its surface habitable for human life, does not suspect what truly lies above the surface of the planet. But when circumstances force him to fake his own death and join the rebel group on Mars, Darrow quickly realizes that his entire life is a lie – there is already a city of Golds on Mars, and the Reds are merely slaving away beneath the surface to provide a life of luxury and comfort for the higher colors.

Furious at this deception, Darrow agrees to infiltrate the Mars Institute for Golds as a student by changing his skin color in an arduous and painful process called the Carving. However, once the now-Gold Darrow arrives at the Institute, he quickly understands that to become the best of the best requires courses of action .that he would not have dreamed of taking while he was a Red. As Darrow progresses on his journey to become the Primus of House Mars, he unearths the deep corruptions within Gold society, as well as the horrifying truth behind the power of the Golden people.

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising holds a slight resemblance to The Hunger Games, but it is only a slight one – this novel takes the idea of colonization to an entirely new level, and questions the idea of a “perfect” society of social classes. This book is definitely recommended to fans of science fiction and adventure novels.

-Mahak M.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

After discovering that The Hunger Games was my 7th-grade extra credit reading book and that I haven’t read it before yet ( say what?!), I decided now was a good time to pick it up and finally start on it.

Yeah, I know, how could you have not read the Hunger Games before? Face it, everyone’s probably pretty familiar with this book. You know of it, of course. It’s a famous book that almost everyone knows, just like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. 

Anyways, once I picked up this book, I found it impossible to put down. I read for two straight days and got it finished. And then I reread it. And reread it again.

I probably would recommend this book for older children, particularly because of a few violent scenes. But other than that, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who looks forward to action and thrillers.

Starting off with the famous Katniss Everdeen, the book takes place in District 12, her hometown. There are twelve districts, although there used to have been a 13th, which was destroyed because of their rebellion against the all-ruling Capitol, Panem. Because of this, the Capitol has ordered the event called the Hunger Games, where two tributes, a boy and a girl, are selected from each district (24 tributes total). They will be placed inside of an arena whose conditions can change with directions from the inventors of the Hunger Games, the Gamemakers. The whole point of the Hunger Games is for the twenty-four tributes to kill each other as a sport; the last tribute standing wins, leaving the arena with a life of luxury.

And the purpose of all of this? To prove how everyone is at the Capitol’s mercy, how they take the people’s children to watch them fight to the death.

From District 12, Katniss and the boy tribute, Peeta Mellark, are pitted against the other twenty-two tributes. They have no idea what the arena conditions will be like; the yearly Hunger Games change every year. All they know is that it will be difficult, and definitely lethal.

I have to say, Suzanne Collins, the author, was really suspenseful. Every fight scene, every page that she wrote, was filled with action from top to bottom. That’s what kept me hooked to the very last page. But even through all that, she also manages to weave in just the right amount of romance between Katniss and Peeta.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Catching Fire! I’m sure it’s as good as the first one.

But first, who will win the intense, action-packed Hunger Games? Because the tributes will either get out of there alive…or dead.

-Katherine L.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive