Red Rising Audiobook by Pierce Brown (review)

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Reviews | 51 comments

Review of: Red Rising Audiobook
Pierce Brown

Reviewed by:
On November 19, 2014
Last modified:October 26, 2015


Red Rising Audiobook

By: Pierce Brown

Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds

Published by: Recorded Books  o1/21/2014

Red Rising Audiobook Cover


4.5 stars rating

Red Rising Trilogy # 1

16 hrs and 12 mins

Whispersync for Voice-ready

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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


Red Rising Audiobook Sample

My thoughts - Red Rising

Finding Red Rising as a finalist for best YA Fantasy novel for 2014 doesn’t surprise me at all.
I listened to the Red Rising Audiobook back in January, but I got busy with other things so I never wrote a review.
Now with the approaching release of the next novel, The Golden Son, I finally got back to it, and these are my thoughts.

I’ll start by saying, the complexity of this book makes its comparisons to the Hunger Games and Divergent very unfair. I got nothing against those novels, in fact, I highly enjoyed them, but Red Rising is on a league of its own.

It has always puzzled me the YA classification, not because of the age of the characters. After all, our hero is only 16, but it’s set in a world where you’re not expected to make it past 35. The violence and semi-adult content don’t make it a book I’d give to my 13-year-old.

We meet Darrow in the deepness of Mars. In a future world where color determines their fate. We meet him at a time when his life is colored by innocence and content, but the revelations and the events that are to follow will change all that. This will uncover a strong and purposeful hero whose triumphs, failures and heart- break will pull you into the story.

Red Rising is set in an amazing dystopian world, where the color GOLD reigns supreme, the REDS are the lowest, and every color in between has its place. You can check this color code society HERE

Finding that he (as a red) has lived a lie, and he has been nothing more than a mere slave, plus the desire for revenge propel our hero with the help of others to put a plan in motion. A strategic plan to change the injustices of the “powerful ruling GOLD’ who have succeeded by oppression and fear. And it’s a fascinating journey.

In an ambitious effort, the author succeeds in taking you into an intricate, enthralling and imaginative world where your attention will be demanded to connect the pieces and follow a hero in the making. A world where alliances will be made and broken, the idea of good and bad will shift as the story unravels and loyalties are constantly questioned, including those of our hero.

I love how the author takes you to a world of color, but lets you experience the blackness in it, because there is blackness!

While the story doesn’t shy from brutal violence it never feels gratuitous, but makes you experience the injustices of this world.

This is an adventure that if it grabs you (I’m sure it will if you give it a chance) won’t let you go until there’s no more to listen to. To say that you will be in awe of the imagination, writing skills and execution by Pierce Brown, would be and understatement. An imagination that takes you farther than you thought possible and leaves you with a little fear that all this could one day be real. Bring on the RED RISING!

The only bad thing about this novel has been the year wait for the next one.

Red Rising Audiobook Narration

My review

The Red Rising Audiobook was my first experience with narrator Tim G. Reynolds, since then I had the opportunity to listen so some of his work in other Fantasy novels, like Theft of Swords that I totally enjoyed.

With this other novel I began to appreciate his talent, and I realized how his tone and is perfect for this kind of Fantasies.

Red Rising a not only a complex story, but the amount of characters demands an expert narration and Tim Gerard Reynold didn’t skip a bit bringing them all to life in a vivid and convincing way. It was almost like watching a movie.

He made the world more vivid and the violence more real, his timing for the action scenes was flawless.  His interpretation takes you there and keeps you there for the 16 hrs of the book.

The thing that hit me right away was the accent – I think is Irish..I’m not sure, I know is not Scottish or English  – I wasn’t sure about it. Since I read the first five chapters I didn’t expect an accent, the story it’s set in the future after all; nevertheless within a chapter I had settled into the story and enjoyed the ride.

I’m curious to see what others that read the book think about the narration. He doesn’t sound like a sixteen-year-old, and I imagine someone that has a young voice cemented in their heads might have a problem with his interpretation.

All in all, this was very good performance, but IMO it puts it even farther away from YA novel – It didn’t stop me from enjoying the heck out it tho.

Author Pierce Brown

Author Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown
Image by Jessica Chou

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating from college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate campaign. Now he lives Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

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Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds

Narrator Tim Grard Reynolds

Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds

Tim Gerard Reynolds trained for the stage at the Samuel Beckett Center, Trinity College Dublin, and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, New London CT. His acting work has taken him from the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, to the London fringe, the Official Avignon Theatre Festival, and to the U.S., where he participated in Regional Theater, as well as on and off Broadway. In recent years, Tim has become an established audiobook narrator, working predominantly for Recorded Books, and Simon & Schuster Audio. Titles include, but are not limited to, “The Legend of Broken,” by Caleb Carr, “The Heather Blazing,” by Colm Tóibín, “The Infernals,” by John Connolly, the latter half of Hugh Howey’s epic Sci-Fi series “Wool,” and Michael J. Sullivan’s best-selling “Riyria Revelations.” In 2010, he received an Audiofile Earphone award for the thriller “Faithful Place,” by Tana French, and his performances was named one of the best audiobooks of that year. In 2013 he has been nominated for an Audie Award—the industry’s highest—for work in the Fantasy genre.


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  • 4.5
    editor rating
Loupe Duffy
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an Audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
Loupe Duffy

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  1. Everybody has suggested this book to me but I can’t quite get to it. Sounds amazing though.

    • It’s Jennifer!! – My language skills failed me when I want to convey everything that goes on a book like this one, I figured there’s a lot great reviews of the book its self on Goodreads, so my main focus is the narration, but how I wish sometimes I could..LOL

  2. I keep hearing great things about this book, and then I turn away from it because I’m not a big fan of YA. It does sound really compelling. Maybe I need to go ahead and add it to my list. Great review.

    • Yeah, I really don’t understand the YA rating for this one, and in the narration he doesn’t sound it, plus the story is so intricate, Game of Thronish type, so I hardly see it as a YA listen.
      I think you would like it, if you enjoy Fantasy.

  3. OMG! Why I haven’t listened to this audiobook? Why!? I need to listen to it and soon!
    I have two more audios in the Charley Davidson series, as soon as I’m done with them I’ll listen to this one.
    Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    • OMG! Marcela! I’d thought you had picked this one up already! You’re familiar with the narrator I think, I think you recommended to me Theft of Sword – I loved that too.

  4. This book sounds so good! Many friends have been recommending it to me, but I was always hesitant because it’s marked as a YA, but it doesn’t sound YA, so I’ll read it eventually. Great review!

    • Give it go! It’s slow start, but oh wow! When it gets going is something else, this is a book where you have to pay attention tho…I least I had to..LOL
      There’s a lot better reviews on Goodreads – but I had to put my 2 cents on the narration 🙂

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this one but I might have to do it on audio. I’ve been into fantasy lately and I’ve been enjoying what is out there.

    • Oh! If you have been listening to a lot Fantasy you might be already familiar with the narrator, he narrates a lot Fantasy novels.
      If you decide to give it go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if not more! 🙂

    • Not as bad as Game of Thrones, but I found it so much more than than Hunger Games, I’d would have to see your book shelves and see if you should stay away from it, when I get a chance I’ll take a look 🙂

  6. So I just looked and I have this book on audio (like bought it when it came out back in Jan). I just find that interesting but after your review I think I need to read it! 🙂

    • LOL felicia, I thought it was positive narrator Or is it because the violence is more real on audio? It is always to me, I’ve found that some how my brain tones down the violence, but on audio seems more real.

      • Nope I meant listen to it. I just think I need to bump it up on my TBR.

        hehe I can handle violence–Zombies and Thrillers are my jam! 🙂

  7. I’ve read some great reviews on Red Rising, and the unique world of colors and world building sounds pretty fantastic!
    “In an ambitious effort, the author succeeds in taking you into an intricate, enthralling and imaginative world where your attention will be demanded to connect the pieces and follow a hero in the making.” I need to get this, on my tbr list for sure 🙂

    • Is a big Fantasy, there’s a lot to pay attention to but the world is amazing! I read some review where a peep said it gave her a headache…LOL But if you get into to it, it’ quite a ride 🙂

  8. I loved this book so hard and isn’t he a cutie. I am so glad the audio rocked.

    • Oh Kimba! I know you’re a busy bee, but the audio brings a new dimension, I can tell this by the difference I felt with the first five chapter I read before I found the An audio re-visit might be a must 🙂

  9. Love the sound of this book, hadn’t heard of it before.

    • Read some of the great reviews on Goodreads – You know me, my main thing here is the narrator and the audio experience, but I don’t have the language skills to do justice to book like this 🙁

  10. I very rarely do sci-fi and I saw somewhere this was set in Mars or something like that? Not sure if I’m the best reader for this, I know a lot of people liked/loved it though including you. I saw the next book up in NG/EW

    • I know!! I heard a lot excited peeps about the book being in Netgally – But you know me, I’m an audio fiend!..LOL
      If you liked Hunger Games, than you could love this one – Not as YA as that read tho.

  11. I totally agree, it is in a league of its own. It’s one of my top reads of 2014. But I promise that the author being so damn hot has not influenced my love for the book. lol

    • Hahaha! No I’m not thinking that at all!..LOL 😉
      The book so good it could have been written by George R. R. Martin and I know you’d till love it..Right?

  12. Oh yes I remember when everyone was reading this one. I confess that I haven’t but it sounds very well done. I love a good dystopia and this one seems like it. I should try. Great review!

    • This really is on league of its own – It’s hard to compare to any other dystopian book I read before. Give a go when you’re in a mood for something big – This is very Game of Thronish 🙂

  13. It’s about time you got around to reviewing this one, Loupe! Haha Just kidding, I know all to well how that goes. I wasn’t surprised to see this book in the GoodReads awards either; every 2nd blogger I talk to seems to be in love with Brown’s writing. The colour thing sounds kinda like the Black Jewels… is the mature content mostly just violence, or that other thing too? I enjoy dystopian YA, but it really depends on how alternate the universe is.

    • I need to get around and review a ton of books! LOL I did write something about it on Shelfari tho. Probably the only place I try to keep updated – try! LOL
      There’s no sexual content except for a rape scene – (I wouldn’t call it sexual – just brutality..Remember the book is sold as a YA) the violence is nothing you haven’t seen on Game of Thrones, if you can watch that you can read or listen to this one with no problem – I hope I don’t traumatized you, again! LOL There’s a lot more detailed reviews in goodreads, maybe you could take a look and make a decision 🙂

  14. After Jonetta raved about this one in her review a while back I grabbed it for my Nook when it was only $1.99. I didn’t know it was available on audio. Oh well. I’ll read it and save $. LOL

    • I bought the Kindle after I read a couple great reviews when it came out, and I was on the 5th chapter when I found it by accident on audible – I don’t even know what genre they listed it under, but I know it wasn’t romance.
      I know that if you like the Hunger games, you’ll love this one – a lot darker tho, not in any sexual kind of way, just a more brutal world.

  15. Yes, I LOVED this book and think it would have been ideal to listen to, which I plan to do with the second one. I agree totally with your points in the review. Great job!

    • Did you listen to the sample? I’m so curious to hear what you think after reading.
      I can’t wait for the next book! As I can imagine you can’t either.
      Thanks Jonetta 🙂

      • I did and really like the narrator. I’m anxious for the release of the next book, too.

        • Aweosme!! We’ll be listening twins when it comes out..YAY! 🙂

  16. “The only bad thing about this novel has been the year wait for the next one.”

    Love when that is the only negative to a book! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I’m hoping to get to it over the holidays, and then I can just binge read both books:)

    • Oh yes! That would be the perfect time! I’d have loved to go to next book right away 🙂
      It’s fantastic,I though it was a little slow in the first few chapters, but it gets so much better, worth hanging in 🙂

  17. I don’t usually pick up YA books but your review has convinced me to try a sample of this on Audible (not an easy thing!). Now might be the perfect time to get into it with the sequel being released soon. Great review!

    • Oh Lori! I hope you like it!!! It’s very Game of Thronish – You just have to get through to the first few chapters – they were a little slow for me, but before I knew it I couldn’t stop listening. I made a 16 mins sample, maybe you should check it out, is a lot longer than what they put on audible. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you’ll enjoy it, because if you do, you’re in for quite a ride! 🙂

  18. I actually started this a few days ago on audio and had to drop it because it was too dark for me at that particular moment. But I’ll definitely go back to it at some point, I know I’ll enjoy the story, it just didn’t work right then.
    Great review!

    • Doesn’t the tone of book surprise that is rated YA? I’m glad to hear it was the darkness that stopped you from continuing, I’d hate to have heard ” I was bored”..LOL I know the first few chapter were a bit slow for me. I totally understand your feelings, sometimes were just not in the mood 🙁 I hope one day you are 🙂

  19. I haven’t listened to an audiobook before. I’m kind of in a podcast kick right now, and the presenters always talk about them. Maybe I should give it a shot! 😀 Red Rising sounds pretty cool.

    • It is! Especially if you enjoy fantasies of this type – I’ll say this is such much more than just a dystopian novel. Listening about the strategic plans for the rebellion is a great ride 🙂

  20. Great review, I also keep hearing good things about this but I too am not a big YA fan but maybe my pile could use a dose of youth LOL

    • This is not so YA IMO – But it would be a great youthful addition 🙂

    • I know! It’s along wait Anna! I’m sure you know the

  21. I’ve heard great things about this book and it sounds like the audio is amazing too. So I might have to get the audio soon and give it a listen 🙂

    • It’s a good one Julie! If you decide to listen I hope you have as much fun as I did 🙂

  22. This sounds so good and I need a good YA Fantasy to restore my faith in the genre after reading he Divergent series. Great review.

    • Oh it is Sharon! I enjoyed Divergent because it was one of my first dystopian audiobooks, and the narrator did a good job (I’m big fan of that narrator), but this is bigger in so many ways. No kid’s play here.
      I hope that if you decide to give it a chance you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

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