Graphic Novel Reviews

Red Rising: Sons of Ares

Sons of Ares is a spin off of the Red Rising series and takes place long before the events of the books. The story follows Fitchner au Barca, a gold peerless scarred and father to Sevro, the main character of the book series. While Red Rising is all about revolution, Sons of Ares is about the cause, the catalyst that prompted unrest among the people.

The graphic novel does a pretty good job of presenting readers with the world in the Red Rising series. Through the eyes of Fitchner readers are able to see how utterly broken the caste system is, from the lowest color levels all the way up to the highest rungs on the ladder. No one is spared from the cruelty of an unfair society, even those born to privilege and worshipped like Gods.

“All they told us of the lowcolors, the rabble, was a lie designed to divide us, to manipulate us.”

While I absolutely loved the backstory and the message it has about society, I wish the relationships between characters could have been better developed, particularly between Fitchner and Bryn. I didn’t feel convinced of their romance, and even some of Bryn’s inner turmoil in the later parts of the novel feel rushed. The only character that was actually developed was Fitchner, others barely had personalities or played very brief roles in the story.

The art in Sons of Ares is pretty dark and gritty and I actually enjoyed it. This comic is not for the faint of heart, there is a lot of violence and a plethora of action scenes. I have no doubt that fans of the book series will probably appreciate seeing parts of the world come to life.

Dialogue boxes were different colors based on the speaking character’s social caste and I found this detail to be pretty cool and very helpful. Just seeing those different colors automatically gives me information about each character that is encountered. It really drives home how divided the castes are and changed the way I saw or thought of the characters just by seeing those different colors.

Overall I think this was a pretty decent graphic novel that I think can be enjoyed by both fans and non-fans of the Red Rising series. It’s relatively easy to follow for those unfamiliar with the story though references would likely help. The Red Rising wiki has a simple color guide available to use as reference.

Speaking as someone that has not yet read the books I found everything fascinating, it’s a decent introduction to the series. The graphic novel has piqued my interest in the series and makes me want to pick the books up sooner rather than later.

Title: Red Rising: Sons of Ares
Series: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin
Illulstrator: Eli Powell
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Pages: 152
Format: ARC / Ebook
Source: NetGalley

In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, 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? See how a forbidden love will set the course of events for the future and lead to the formation of the formidable Sons of Ares!


  1. I haven’t seen a review for this graphic novel yet, Jamie, and I love your reflections! I find that character development in graphic novel/comic form is consistently challenging to pull off. I wonder if it’s the medium itself? Or perhaps it’s just that I struggled to connect in this medium… Either way, you’re not alone!

    The whole bit about caste-color-coded text boxes is super cool! What a subtle detail which helps keep things straight. I sometimes forgot which castes people were from when reading the series– that would have been a nice reminder.

    1. I agree, it seems that a lot of graphic novels leave out a lot of the internal dialogue that can help develop a character, though I’ve read a few where characters are written really well so I know it’s possible!

      Also yeah the color boxes were really great, I like that they took advantage of the medium to add a visual aspect to the graphic novel that wouldn’t be possible in regular print.

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