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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

©2013 Pierce Brown (P)2014 Recorded Books

Featured Article: 20 Best Sci-Fi Audiobooks for Exploring New Worlds

There is no genre that lends itself better to audio narrative than Science Fiction does. There is a magic that transports listeners to new worlds of wonder and mystery that is heightened by expert voice actors and narrators. A great writer can create an imaginative new world or dystopian civilisation, but it is up to the narrator to bring this world to life around you. We’ve gathered together 20 of the top science fiction audiobooks ranked not only for their stories but for the emotive and compelling narrative performances. Let these award winning tales and voices carry you away to worlds unknown.

What listeners say about Red Rising

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The Greatest Narrative Experience

The Red Rising Trilogy, is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE piece of fiction, of any medium. Tim Gerard Reynolds is THE BEST narrator in the industry!

18 people found this helpful

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crazy boring

maybe it's me, but the pace, setting and characters are all super boring. don't feel like anything happens and my attention was gone by the time things would hopefully pick up?
not for me

12 people found this helpful

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Loving the Roman Empire theme

Tim Reynolds gives another wonderful performance in the futuristic Roman Empire crossed with hunger games adventure!

10 people found this helpful

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Download this ASAP

WOW this has been one of the BEST books I’ve ever listened to. The story is sharp and funny and also heartbreaking. Paired with excellent narration, you will not regret this buy. I got this as the free download for September 2020 and honestly it was good enough that I will be buying the entire series. Amazing amazing amazing- and I’m picky!

9 people found this helpful

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1st Person Perspective Epic!

I really enjoyed this book. The 1st person narrative from Darrow provides a deep immersion into his mentality and thought process while he stuggles through this story. If I can suggest one thing to readers it is embrace the beginning of the book... I see some reviews saying the book has a slow start; I disagree, it really shows you what his life is like and drives his intentions in the rest of the book. I think the graphic styles blended so well with the futuristic and primative natures of the people, it really surprised me for an emotional read. Thank you Pierce and Tim, great writing and narration. I loved every bit of it and will be listening through the rest of the Saga.

8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic read with great narator!

This series is worth the plunge. It’s an original story with well developed and likeable characters. Fantastic plot.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing

One of the best books I have ever read or listened to. I can't wait for the next one.

7 people found this helpful

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One of the best books I've ever heard

I can't Express how good the good this book is, I was giggling half the time between the action and comedy. had goose bumps most of the way through the book

6 people found this helpful

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Good Book, File is skipping starting at Chapter 10

Great story, I like the language Pierce has created and the narrator Tim does an excellent job of relaying it! Unfortunately, my copy is skipping starting at Chapter 10 and getting much worse in Chapter 11 and as a FREE offering cannot be returned or exchanged!

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent Book

If you're used to reading the contemporary giants of fiction in sci-fi and fantasy, this may feel a little odd at first. The story is told in a way that makes a lot of it feel like exposition. Relatively few lines of dialogue, and a very fast pace. However, the excellent prose often sounds like poetry, and is generally a pleasure to listen to. Tim G. Reynolds did a fabulous job of narrating this book as well.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dubi
  • 2019-08-28

Grim Reaping

Seems like every other book I listen to is so highly derivative that my opinion hinges almost solely on whether it is a worthwhile step forward or a redundant rehash. Red Rising, after a promising start, slowly but inexorably proved itself to be a cynical exercise in cashing in on the popularity of The Hunger Games.

RR: hero is from the mines, HG: heroine is from the mines. RR: 12 tribes, HG: 12 districts. RR: kids go through a "draft" before being sent to a carefully designed course to compete in games against each other, with help from proctors, while being watched from afar by the privileged class. HG: ditto, ditto, ditto, except that they called them mentors instead of proctors and they call it a reaping instead of a draft. RR: young girl sings a song of rebellion before dying. HG: young girl sings a song before dying that becomes the theme of rebellion. RR has the Reaper, HG has the reaping.

This is not inadvertent similarity. This is either willful ignorance (especially on the part of the editor, who should have known better) or outright plagiarism. If you're going to do this, you have to add something. Especially in characterization, especially to the main character.

In that respect, Red Rising is retrograde. Katniss (like Harry Potter and Tris from Divergent) is never that sure of herself, is the last to recognize her power, is always the reluctant hero. Darrow/Reaper, from the very first scene, is the best ever, and he knows it. And yet as brilliant as he will tell you he is, he falls for four, five traps in a row, getting many of his friends killed in the process. And when faced with a choice between doing the right thing or getting revenge, the always self-righteous Darrow inevitable chooses bloody revenge.

Jeez, if you're going to rip off a beloved story, don't reverse all of its best qualities. To which you can add the central conceit of Red Rising: social, political and economic inequality is embodied in a facile color-coding system. Hunger Games presents the same issues in a far more nuanced way (even down to the subtleties of fashion and mannerism) without resorting to obvious gimmickry.

Other bones to pick: the level of violence is off the charts for a supposedly YA entry, and the internal logic of this world fails early and often, especially the technology. I for one will not be moving on to the ensuing episodes in this trilogy.

300 people found this helpful

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  • qlawdat
  • 2019-10-11

An Ayn Rand wet dream

Wow. Just wow. It’s rare to see a book so far up its own main characters ass. He is the chosen one. For the people. But is the best ever. He uses potions of intelligence that for some reasons no one else does. And it’s all his cleverness that’s brings him to victory... except for being saved by deus ex machine CONSTANTLY. stay away from this.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Amy W
  • 2016-12-06

Brutal and Violent

I tried for almost a year to listen to this book but gave up with only two hours to go. I could not enjoy or like this book, it is a bitter nasty book about vengeance in a dystopian society. There is forced natural selection and culling among students. “He didn’t score like I did on the tests, so he was a sacrificial lamb. 100 students and the bottom 50 are only here to be killed by the top fifty... I know they made me do it … what other choice was there? I do not understand how this series could have received so many positive reviews but I will return my book.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Gene
  • 2019-12-06

this is awful

took hours to get just okay, but then went back to awful. don't buy it.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Jared G
  • 2016-08-27

Wow, what a performance and what a story

I don't remember the last time I stayed up all night to read a book, but this one had too much intensity too much momentum to put down. I just had to finish. Darrow's story is rich with memorable characters and emotion and had plenty of suspense. It's one that I'll remember for a long time. I can't wait for the second novel.
Tim Gerard Reynolds makes it come alive. his accent brings the story a perfect edge and he does the wide variety of characters justice.
A must read.

141 people found this helpful

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  • SteveT
  • 2019-08-02

I couldn't get past chapter 3

Slow, monotone story that just didn't make me want to listen . Gave up by chapter 3 and returned the book.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-05-09

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.......

Total snore fest. Good if you want to while away your time in a total haze of nonsensical drivel.

15 people found this helpful

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  • C. Hatchett
  • 2017-10-18

Man I didn't even want to write this.

I guess this counts as an updated review because I didn't remember writing one to begin with. Some of the negative reviews of this book are honestly utter garbage. I see a lot of comparisons to Hunger Games and I think that is fair but I think at a certain point the book definitely comes into its own and the series as a whole is nothing like Hunger Games. Most important to me, the main character is just so completely different. I think there are plenty of reasons for people not to like this book but I don't think it starting similar to HG is a good one. I am not sure if some of these people even made it past the first 3 chapters honestly. This book is the reason I started listening to audiobooks actively. I went from a Library of like 10 to 50+ because of this book. I wish people would be more fair in their criticisms.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Evan
  • 2017-02-27

Go ahead and download the next two as well

Any additional comments?

What a tremendous series. This was one of my favorite listens in a long time. The first book starts off a little bit slow, but picks up the pace quickly and maintains it all the way through the end of the trilogy.

One of the biggest draws of this book, for me, was how deep and rich the character development was. Each character is so multidimensional. And the complexities of the characters' personalities are reflected very well in the dialogue and the plot.

The narration was one of the best I've heard. I loved hearing TGR's representation of Darrow mature with the character over the course of the trilogy.

I highly recommend this book. And the next two as well!

86 people found this helpful

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  • Todd
  • 2020-02-12

Top 5 series of all time - start it right now

Absolute must read. Everyone who has finished it has become a total fanatic. It is the greatest series of its kind. Book 1 is thrilling and then you must continue to book 2 - it has some of the best moments in any book I’ve ever read.

The writing is stellar, narrator is awesome. So amazed by the author.

Only downside is that it will hurt your sleep schedule. Hard to ever turn it off. Last 4-5 hours are a rush.

PS - ONLY read books 1-3. Books 4-5 completely ruin the series. Wish I had never read them, literally some of the worst books I’ve read in years.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Sophie
  • 2022-01-09

Mind blowing and outstanding narrator!

All the stars!

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.'
'I live for you,' I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. 'Then you must live for more.”
― Pierce Brown, Red Rising

Years ago, my son asked me to read Red Rising but I wasn’t in the mood. He has never stopped praising that series.
Two months ago, bookstagram friends asked if I was interested in buddy reading the series in 2022, beginning in January.
I thought it was a good idea to motivate me.

The plan: read Red Rising in January, Golden Son in February, etc till May.
Today we are January 9th and I have listened to Red Rising, then Golden Son and I am 60% into Morning Star! 😊

My son was right all along, that series is AMAZING and ADDICTIVE!

He is trying not to spoil me and I take 3 pages of notes for every book I read to avoid spoiling my buddy readers when discussion time comes!

What to write about that series that hasn’t been written over and over again?

-First, Pierce Brown is a plotter!!!

I am usually more of a character driven reader but the plot in that series is simply incredible!
It’s filled with twists and turns, some I had seen coming but the majority I had never expected!


-Second, it’s history repeating itself.

By that I mean the Pierce Brown made me think of ancient Rome and ancient Greece with the slaves, the gods etc. This is certainly exacerbated with the names of the Golds like Augustus, Caius etc. Add to it “Olympus” where the “teacher” at the institution live and you get the idea.

But later on in the series, there is a character, a true villain that I won’t name here who reminded me of Hitler. With torture, extermination, insanity…

All along I couldn’t help but make comparison with past history.


-Third, this is also the altar of moral values.

Darrow, our hero, represents values like courage, loyalty, empathy, mercy, bravery etc.
But everything is not black and white because Darrow, determined as he is to see the fall of the Golds reign and a better world, can’t help but become friends with Golds. He can’t help to feel love for some. And even if he always has his mission in sight, he’ll be torn and will feel guilty for lying to his new friends.

Darrow also firmly believes in second chances.
He believes that if you were raised not knowing any better, you should get a chance to become who you really want to be and not the preordained product of your upbringing. Actions tell more about a man than his birth.

I am a firm believer of all said above so it’s no wonder that Pierce Brown had me abroad so easily!


-Fourth, it’s a spectacle!

That book is filled with action, acts of bravery, last minute escape, 180° turn, rebirth of the hero when everything is lost. It’s flamboyant and it’s gritty at the same time!
When you think that everything is “in the pocket”, someone just pulls the rug under our hero and he stumbles very hard! And when you think all hope is lost, there is an unexpected ally or opportunity that will save our hero’s butt and spin the story in a new direction!

You never have a respite, always panting and gripping the edge of your seat!
That’s why I breezed through these books!


-Fifth, the characters are amazing!

Darrow will have a huge growth! And the narrator ( Tim Gerard Reynolds) did a splendid job rendering that growth! In the beginning Darrow will speak with a thick Irish accent. I had to focus really hard to understand. And the more the story progressed the more Darrow’s speech became smooth and cultured.

Darrow is a true leader that you will have no other choice but to root for.

Opposed to big, golden, strong and charismatic Darrow you’ll have the beautiful Cassius, the goblin Sevro, Roque the philosopher etc.

The characters will all have growth in this series and their relationships will constantly evolve. You will love them as your own friends, you will suffer with them and you will feel the deep cut when there is betrayal.


To conclude I’d say that this book blew me away, even if science fiction/dystopia is far from my favorite genre! My son was right all along! Why did I wait so long to read it?

PS Now my son is reading one of my favorite books of 2021, Empire of the Vampire and he is..smitten!

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  • Tarek El Ghadban
  • 2021-04-13

great story and reading

Captivating. The plot is interesting, the twists unexpected. Strongly recommended. It leaves you wanting more.