Red Rising – a 10 year old novel

It has been ten years the science fiction novel Red Rising by Pierce Brown, labeled a young adult dystopian-type story, was published. At the time, it was compared to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and more recent highly popular Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Both somewhat fair comparisons if you wanted to target similar avid readers of that genre.

Admittedly, I was one of those that fell for that marketing campaign, seeing Darrow being compared to Katniss and Ender on the paperback cover. Yes, it also means it took me at least a year after it was initially published to get to reading Red Rising, but I haven’t gotten off that train yet.

Ten years later, Red Rising has come a long way. The next two books, Golden Son and Morning Star, followed routinely each consecutive year, with each book stronger than the next (although many would say that the second book had the strongest ending by far.)

Because of it’s popularity and how the movie studios seemed ready to take on novels of this ilk and bring it to life – they had already done so with The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, though only the former was truly successful as far as box office numbers goes – Red Rising fans were looking forward to seeing Darrow on the big screen as well. There was talk of that as well.

However, author Pierce felt there was more to Darrow’s story, which is why two years after Morning Star, he would continue on with Iron Gold (which expanded from a single first-person POV to multiple first-person POVs), then Dark Age the following year. Covid-19 delayed the release of Light Bringer, book six, which was released just last year in 2023. It would be odd to call it serendipitous that the final book of the Red Rising Saga is to be released on the ten year anniversary of its first publication, but that would be too good to be true! (Looks like we’ll be waiting a little bit longer for the finale on this, Howlers.)

And still no movie news.

But at this point, are fans really disappointed about it? Yes and no. As stated there was talk of a movie or maybe movie franchise depending on how well it went, but on at least one occasion Pierce did mention how studios wanted to make changes to the story/character(s). This is not uncommon, but this is also sometimes what often makes or breaks a deal. This is also what often makes or breaks an adaptation for fans of the book(s). Sometimes the studios are willing to risk it. Sometimes the authors are not. Pierce was not.

2024. At this point, I’m willing to wait to finish the saga before seeing anything in live-action form. I want to know how it all ends in my head before knowing who will actually play those characters on screen, whether it be on a streaming channel or in a movie franchise. Either way, if/when it does happen, we can only hope they do it 75 percent justice, because let’s face it, characters in books are extraordinary. Darrow is extraordinary. Sevro is extraordinary. Mustang is extraordinary. To find the right actors to play these extraordinary characters, to have the right crew, the right producer, director, writer. These are no easy tasks.

As much as I’d love to see this tale on a grand scale such as, say what I’ve seen in the latest iteration of Frank Herbert’s Dune, that would be lovely, but likely unrealistic. For now, let’s just bask in the enjoyment of our imagination and Pierce’s way with words.

By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.