Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Saturday Morning Cartoons

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons of Ares // A Graphic Novel Review

Have you heard of the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown?! Are you intrigued by the idea of a class system sci-fi?! Well if you are on the fence then you’ll want to pick up this graphic novel!! Come check it out…

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Genre Graphic Novel, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance, Spin-off



A graphic novel spin off of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series… It tells the tale of a forbidden love between members of opposing castes that lead to the formation of the Sons of Ares. In the future, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one’s caste. “The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red?”

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons of Ares (issues 1-6)
Story by Pierce Brown and Rik Hoskin
Illustrated by Eli Powell

Published March 6th 2018
by Dynamite Entertainment

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Art graphic for mangaIt took a bit to get my feet under me with this graphic novel because the art was… disturbing. I can appreciate the dark and heavy art style that gave the story the feel of a film noir… BUT why were the faces obscured?! UH HELLO!!! THE FACES ARE ALL THAT MATTER!!! DUH ITS A ROMANCE! Yeah no art style will work if we can’t see the faces. There is so little internal dialogue that we NEED the faces to tell us what the characters are feeling. The nuances of emotion. ALL LACKING! Gorgeous art is beautiful but graphic novel art MUST communicate… otherwise it doesn’t perform its function.

Red Rising Sons of Ares Fitchner

Tension graphic for manga 2

Fitchner was someone that intrigued me from the get go even though the world was brutal and he wasn’t a particularly good person. At first I was confused who was his lover and who was her sister but I eventually got it straight that Brynn was who I was rooting for. I actually quite enjoyed the fact this was told more from Fitchner’s POV that Brynn (who would have been the typical POV). And while it was confusing what they were racing to do (because I was still trying to establish who was who) it did add tension that wouldn’t have been there with a linear story. And by the end I was screaming at my tablet I was so caught up in the outcome.

Red Rising Sons of Ares couple

Plot graphic for mangaIn the start of this volume you are told that this is to explain the uprising that happens in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series. I can’t say that I understand how these events lead to the uprising… even the last few pages said little to me. But I did ENJOY the events of the graphic novel, the love story between a highly ranked, Fitchner and a red, Brynn! It was tragic how their love caused their downfall but also gave hope (I think!?) for the future generations to act on.

Red Rising Sons of Ares the killing
This is the clearest you ever see Fitchner’s face!

Authenticity graphic for manga 2

I read this because I wanted to see if I would like the world that Red Rising is set in… and I have to say that I am pleased. It seems complex and worthy of some serious story. It really helped that I enjoyed the plot arc of this volume of issues. I don’t really understand WHY they fell in love or the events that lead them both to take such risks. I’d need more story in between events; instead the story relies too heavily on well worn romantic tropes, instead of giving us an individual story. Still the outcome of that love was something I could root for and felt genuine.

Overall rating graphic BlueRating Heart Red GrungeRating Heart GoldRating Heart Striped Orange

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My thoughts as a writer Typewriter Pink Purple Logo

Writing stars rating graphic

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Tension
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot
⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆⭐ Art

I’m less worried as a reader about stereotypical stories because with the right enhancements a story you’ve read before can take on new light… With a graphic novel that light comes from the ART!! So when the art is hampered in its communication to the reader… the ENTIRE story suffers.

For example I really loved the idea of the masks at the beginning… Basically ALL the character we got about each figure was through which deity they represented with their mask… Now was it clear which deity they presented?! No. I struggled to make out each mask and to link it to the names and facts given about each one. THIS IS SUCH A WASTE! The purpose of art in a graphic novel is to communicate… i.e. to HELP the story… not hinder it. (Can I harp on this fact anymore?! I don’t think so either…)

This was a great attempt at giving us a glimpse of the Red Rising world that Pierce Brown has crafted. I’d be willing to give the first book a shot due to this graphic novel… but missteps were made in the art and the story lacked the nuances that could have made this mind blowing!

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Do you enjoy graphic novel spin-offs?!

I do! I love that I can get a sense of the world and the breadth of the story in a quick and easy bite. And graphic novels are great breathers between larger books and in between series! I LOVE art too so it is a win, win. It’s actually ALL ABOUT THE ART!!

Dani Signature

Thanks for Reading XOXO





Thanks to Edelweiss and Diamond Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.



12 thoughts on “Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons of Ares // A Graphic Novel Review”

  1. Ouuuh, someone who has read the spin off graphic novel before the book series! That’s a pretty curious way to kick things off. I do like the artwork style though. It really does have a very film-noir-ish vibe to it, but with a plot centered around that subject, I can see how the art is sort of in the way. I would have thought maybe the focus wasn’t in the details of the artwork but in the dialogues, but I guess not! Awesome review, Dani. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    1. I wish I could say the dialogue wowed me but it was pretty basic 😭 Maybe a comic reader would like it much better than a manga reader?! I like when the art, dialogue and story are all intriguing and best of all work together. Are you going to read this Lashaan?

      1. I have been intrigued by the books and thought I’d give those a shot someday soon, but I haven’t yet been to convinced of those YA graphic novels adaptations/spinoffs though. If the book series fascinates me enough, then I’ll probably give this one a shot! 😁

  2. Ah yes that makes so much sense about the faces- I mean it’s nice that it’s artistic and all, but like you said, a graphic novel needs to convey the story and I can’t see how that would work! I’m glad it seems to have captured the tension of the book though! And it sounds like it conveyed the world building too. Great review!

  3. I read graphic novels BUT the art has to be “beautiful”. If the drawing is caricatural or too dark or… I can’t enjoy my read. My country is famous for its graphic novels (Think Tintin, The Smurfs, etc.) so it’s a tradition.

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