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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

Tag: dystopian

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Genres: Science-Fiction | Dystopia.

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

I’ve been getting hassled about reading this series for a while, so finally sat down and read the first installment — Red Rising. It was fantastic.

Red Rising is set on Mars in a distant future. It follows Darrow, a red, who believe themselves the first colonists on the planet, mining the resources necessary to terraform the surface and make the planet safe for full colonization.

Only, that’s not really true.

A series of events reveals to Darrow just how badly they’ve all been lied to. Left with nothing but a hunger for revenge, he agrees to become the enemy in order to bring them down.

“See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?” Darrow.

What follows is a brutal adventure and Darrow’s first steps on his mission. Darrow is a great character who grows significantly throughout the book and Brown does an amazing job building a believable world. I became completely caught up in the narrative and cheered out loud on several occasions as Darrow successfully pulled off something particularly outrageous. He is wild, audacious, and driven, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Where to find it

If you're interested in Red Rising, you can learn more on Goodreads here, or buy a copy from Amazon here.

While you're here

If you enjoyed this recommendation, why not have a look at my other recommendations as well?

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The Seclusion by Jacqui Castle

This month, the the Writing Bloc's Best of June post, I recommended The Seclusion by Jacqui Castle. Read all the recommendations by Writing Bloc contributors here.

The Seclusion is the debut novel from journalist Jacqui Castle and it’s a ripper. The story is set in a dystopian future America that has been twisted into an isolationist authoritarian nation, separated from the rest of the world by the enormous Northern and Southern Security Borders. All history predating the walls is banned and information is tightly controlled. In this new America, the people are ruled by a faceless board and mindless patriotism is favored above all else. Into this setting we meet Patricia. As an environmental scientist, she’s one of the few people permitted to roam beyond the city walls. It’s while on one of these research trips she stumbles upon a trove of forbidden information that triggers a harrowing sequence of events.

In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known.
While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband―unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board.
Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise.

There’s no pretending The Seclusion isn’t political. It was written before the election of Trump, but many will see it as prescient, with the world it paints an extreme conclusion to the right-wing populism currently sweeping not just the USA, but many other countries as well. Basically, if you’re a racist, right-wing conservative who doesn’t believe in human rights, you’re probably not going to enjoy The Seclusion. Suck it.

I loved this novel. Patricia is a great protagonist who grows throughout as events spiral out of control. The world, though extreme, is well realized and the journey from present-day to dystopian future all too believable.

Disclaimer: The author and I are both contributors to the Writing Bloc. I read an advance review copy of this novel. However, I had already pre-ordered and paid for a retail copy before receiving the version I reviewed.
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The Seclusion is out now, you can look it up on Goodreads or order it from Amazon. If your local bookstore doesn't have a copy, ask them to order it in for you!

Before you go

If you enjoyed this recommendation, why not see what else I have for you?

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