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20 Epic Books Like “Red Rising” For Sci-Fi & Dystopian Fans

Embark on Galactic Adventures With These Riveting Books Similar to "Red Rising"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 9 2024

20 Unmissable Sci-Fi Books Like Red Rising | Epic Reads List

“Red Rising” by Pierce Brown is a thrilling blend of science fiction and dystopian genres that catapults readers into a color-coded society where the oppressed seek to overthrow their oppressors in a universe brimming with interstellar conflict, political intrigue, and raw human emotion. Its compelling narrative, richly developed world, and complex character dynamics have left fans craving for more books with a similar adrenaline-packed, thought-provoking journey.

Whether you were captivated by the rebellious rise, the intricate societal stratification, or the gripping battles spanning the cosmos, this curated list of 20 books promises to whisk you away on new, exhilarating adventures. Buckle up as we explore tales of revolution, resilience, and redemption across star-studded skies and beyond.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown


1. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

Witness Katniss Everdeen volunteer in a deadly game to save her sister and become a symbol of rebellion against the Capitol’s tyranny.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A dystopian society with oppressive rulers.
  • A protagonist becomes a symbol of hope and rebellion.
  • Life-and-death competitions that challenge morals and survival.


2. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Tris Prior navigates a society divided into factions based on virtues but discovers a conspiracy that threatens her very existence.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A society divided by distinct classes or factions.
  • The journey of self-discovery amidst oppressive conditions.
  • Themes of revolution and challenging societal norms.


3. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

Ender Wiggin, a gifted child, is sent to an advanced military academy in space to prepare for an impending alien invasion.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Strategic games and warfare in a futuristic setting.
  • A young protagonist with exceptional talents and leadership qualities.
  • Ethical dilemmas and the cost of conflict.


4. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

Thomas wakes up with no memory in a maze with other boys, searching for a way to escape while uncovering sinister truths.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Survival in a controlled, deadly environment.
  • A strong sense of camaraderie among the characters.
  • Unveiling a larger conspiracy through trials.


5. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin

In a world facing apocalyptic events, three women must navigate their powers and pasts to survive and change their world.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A complex societal hierarchy based on abilities.
  • Themes of rebellion and upheaval against oppressive systems.
  • A rich, detailed world building with unique lore.


6. “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

At age 75, John Perry joins the Colonial Defense Forces with a rejuvenated body to fight alien species for human colonization space.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Warfare and strategy in space.
  • Exploration of human nature and morality through conflict.
  • The transformation and evolution of the main character.


7. “Legend” by Marie Lu

In a dark future America, a prodigy from a wealthy district and a notorious criminal from the slums cross paths in an unlikely way.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A dystopian society with a strict class system.
  • Young protagonists opposing an unjust government.
  • A narrative driven by secrets and revelations.


8. “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Two teens must flee their destroyed planet on a crowded ship with a deadly plague and a malfunctioning AI amidst a corporate war.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Space opera with young protagonists leading the charge.
  • A fight for survival against overwhelming odds.
  • Innovative storytelling through documents and communications.


9. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

In a seemingly perfect global society with genetically engineered citizens, individuality and freedom are the cost of stability.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Exploration of a class-based society and its impacts.
  • Themes of control, freedom, and rebellion.
  • The questioning of utopia and its underlying dystopia.


10. “The Expanse” series by James S.A. Corey

Humanity has colonized the solar system, but tension between Earth, Mars, and the Belt could lead to war.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Complex political and social dynamics across the planets.
  • Action-packed narrative with space battles and intrigue.
  • Themes of rebellion and fighting for a cause.


11. “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami

Junior high students are forced to fight to the death on an isolated island by an authoritarian government, questioning humanity and survival.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A brutal competition imposed by a ruling authority.
  • Exploration of human instincts and moral dilemmas in extreme conditions.
  • Themes of friendship and betrayal under pressure.


12. “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

In a futuristic America, Hiro Protagonist uncovers a new drug and virtual reality conspiracy that could control minds.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A high-stakes adventure in a dystopian future.
  • Themes of societal stratification and digital revolution.
  • A protagonist challenging oppressive structures.


13. “Neuromancer” by William Gibson

Case, a washed-up computer hacker, is hired for one last job which leads him into a vast conspiracy and cybernetic augmentation.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Futuristic society with advanced technologies and cybernetic enhancements.
  • A gritty, noir-feel with a rebellious protagonist.
  • Themes of survival, betrayal, and resistance against powerful entities.


14. “Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan

In a world where consciousness can be transferred to different bodies, Takeshi Kovacs uncovers a mind-bending murder mystery.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Questions of identity and humanity in a futuristic setting.
  • A dark, compelling narrative filled with political intrigue.
  • A complex protagonist navigating a stratified society.


15. “Leviathan Wakes” by James S.A. Corey (Book 1 of The Expanse series)

Detective Miller and ship’s officer Holden uncover a conspiracy that threatens humanity’s survival across the solar system.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A tightly knit group fighting against a greater threat.
  • Space colonization and the politics thereof.
  • Elements of revolution and societal change.


16. “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir

Laia and Elias, from opposite sides of a brutal, martial empire, discover their destinies intertwined in an epic fight for freedom.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A story of oppression, rebellion, and the quest for freedom.
  • Complex characters navigating a rigid societal structure.
  • Themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the costs of resistance.


17. “Aurora Rising” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A squad of misfits uncover a centuries-old mystery in space that could either save the universe or destroy it.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Ensemble cast with dynamic interrelationships.
  • A universe brimming with alien lore and interstellar conflict.
  • Themes of unity and moral choices in face of adversity.


18. “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman

In a world where death has been eradicated, two teens are apprenticed to a scythe, learning to end lives as a societal necessity.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A unique take on societal order and ethics.
  • Young characters forced into roles that challenge their morals.
  • Themes exploring the value of life, power, and corruption.


19.  “The Lunar Chronicles” by Marissa Meyer

A futuristic retelling of classic fairy tales where a mechanic, a fugitive, a pilot, and a princess must stop a lunar queen.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • A mix of science fiction and dystopian elements.
  • A diverse cast of characters fighting against an oppressive regime.
  • The blend of romance, action, and political intrigue.


20. “Warcross” by Marie Lu

A hacker and bounty hunter, Emika Chen, becomes embroiled in a game that blurs the line between the virtual world and reality.

Elements in common with “Red Rising”:

  • Futuristic technology and virtual reality as core elements.
  • A young, talented protagonist navigating a complex world.
  • Themes of conspiracy, loyalty, and the fight against corruption.

In conclusion, if “Red Rising” gripped your imagination with its vivid portrayal of resistance, stratification, and the human spirit, these 20 books promise to take you on equally unforgettable journeys. Each of them offers a unique exploration of dystopian landscapes, revolutionary fervor, and the eternal quest for freedom and justice across galaxies near and far.

So, choose your next epic adventure and immerse yourself in another world where the stakes are high and the fight for a better future is ceaseless. Happy reading!


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