First Impressions #1 // Red Rising, Rivers of London, & The Final Empire

02 April 2019

As I am in the most epic reading slumps of ‘I don’t know what I want to read’ I thought I’d take the advice of Wendy from my last post and try reading the first chapter of three books I already own and give you some first impressions. Will I end up reading one of these three books? I certainly hope so. But I thought it was a great way to try and read books I own and practice some shelf love. Even if I don’t necessarily read any of them straight away I figure it’s a good way to test out some books and decide if I will read them ever. I don’t always condone abandoning a book after a single chapter… but sometimes you can just tell if a book is one for you from reading and what better way to clear out some of my unread, right? I’d already thought I might feature a post of books I own and am excited about but hadn’t got to reading so I figure this weird bookish speed dating might be just as good a shout.

I had a hard time trying to decide which books to read since I have so very many unread books, but for convenience, I decided to choose three unread Kindle books. Each of them I have owned for at least a couple of years and each I bought because I kept seeing it about, either in book shops or on other blogs. Honestly, none of them made me want to pick up and reading since I bought them so they have been left gathering dust.

This time I am trying out Red Rising, Rivers of London, and Final Empire. Let’s see how it went.

Red Rising
Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) – Pierce Brown
Published: 28th January 2014
Source: Purchased
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

Ender's Game meets The Hunger Games in this, the first in an extraordinary trilogy from an incredible new voice.

This is a book I got purely due to hype online for it. I seriously felt like I saw it everywhere so when I saw cheap Kindle deals for the three books in the series obviously I went and bought them all even though I hadn’t gotten to reading the first one (I mistake I have tried to avoid making since). 

From reading the first chapter (ad little prologue bit) I am intrigued but mostly I feel like I've read this YA type book before. Am I interested in reading more? Maybe but I've read Hunger Games, I've read some of the Red Queen books. I know it’s only a small sample of the book so I shouldn’t judge it too harshly, but I feel like I’ve seen this story of the lower classes rising up and a revolution occurring and I’m not in a rush to read it again. Can I really expect to see anything new in this? Feel free to tell me I’m wrong and it might help motivate me to read… but from what I read I could easily give this books a miss.

Also, I do not like the voice in this. Who knows what the MC is called (just Googled, they’re called Darrow? Really? Yeah, didn’t retain that at all) but he has his slang and the book is written in his voice and I know I would adjust to it as I read, but from the bit I did read it threw me off a little and found myself reading sentences twice to make sure I got the meaning right. Not a major thing and something I know wouldn’t stay being a problem for me, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Verdict?: Maybe abandon… I could be swayed to power through my doubts, but if you guys don’t try and convince me this series maybe marked as DNF.
Published: 10th January 2011
Source: Purchased
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

This one has been on the old Kindle for like four years. I thought it would an interesting modern day fantasy type read and I remember picking it up at Waterstones several times dithering over it so when I saw it going cheap for Kindle I one clicked so hard…. and then didn’t read it (it happens so often I’m embarrassed).

I had expectations and I really think that’s where I went wrong. I expected it to be more like The Rook, I think. I mean, when I bought it I didn’t, but since I’ve read that I expected it to be like that… and maybe it is later on, but it didn’t have the same feel to it from what I read. Way more police procedural and less fantasy fun. I mean, you guys might not get what I mean but that’s how it felt from reading. Also, the MC, he didn’t wow me. Not loving him. Didn’t hate him either, but just didn’t care that much about him and the woman he works with? Yeah, really didn’t like her. Also, long chapters! I hate long chapters, it’s a stupid thing to hate but there we go.

I went into each of these books blind. No reading the summary and refreshing myself on what drew me in the first place (apart from seeing the book everywhere). If I had read the summary I'd have known it was more mystery with a side of fantasy/supernatural and not the other way around
Verdict?: DNF… I just don’t have the time to read books I’m not loving.

Published: 30th March 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasy trilogy overturns the expectations of readers and then goes on to tell the epic story of evil overturned in a richly imagined world.

A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. The sun shines fitfully under clouds of ash that float down endlessly from the constant eruption of volcanoes. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk are condemned to lives in servitude, sold as goods, labouring in the ash fields.

But now a troublemaker has arrived and there is rumour of revolt. A revolt that depends on criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy - the magic that lies in all metals.

A word of mouth success in the states the Mistborn trilogy has, this year, broken onto the New York Times Bestseller list. The time is ripe for its success to cross the Atlantic.
I’ve read some Brandon Sanderson before so I at least knew I liked his writing. I think I have seen his books on so many blogs that even if I couldn’t name anything he wrote I would know his name. I think that’s the main reason I bought this first book, along with a good Kindle deal (anyone noticing a trend here?) and this poor book has been gathering dust on my Kindle ever since. I have a couple of other books unread from him but this one I have seen so many places I figured this would be the one I would try.

They couldn’t all be duds now, could they? Thankfully, this book redeemed this post’s book selection. If I hadn’t enjoyed this one as well, whilst I would have been throwing a party to have three books off of the reading list, I would have been sad that my book buying choices have been so questionable. I can tell this is definitely a book I will be reading at some point… although not right now as I am not in the mood for a long fantasy read part of an even longer fantasy series. But I can tell I will definitely enjoy it all the same.

I have to say, I only read the prologue on this one (it was so long!) but there were three different POV from that alone, I would hope that wouldn’t continue throughout the book but it was easy enough to see the POV change and each voice felt distinct at least. I felt invested in this world and the characters. I know this was another of a downtrodden people rising up but I cared about the Skaa and wanted to see how things would progress. I could see the 600+ pages getting a bit much, though, longer books are just daunting to me nowadays.

Verdict?: Definitely read… but not right now.

Have you read any of these books? Can you convince me to give Red Rising a chance? And do you try to do this too with your books as both a clear out and an opportunity to find your next read?

Post Signature
© A Fool's Ingenuity. Design by FCD.