10 Best Books Like Red Rising

Red Rising is a tale of rebellion set on the planet Mars. Set in a future where society is separated into a rigid caste system, individuals are divided according to color. The story centers on the fightback from the lower levels of society against their exploitative rulers. Fans of dystopian science fiction will enjoy Red Rising, as it’s something like The Hunger Games with a Martian setting. So which other books like Red Rising are recommended by Top Sci Fi Books?

If you want to check out any of these titles for free, you can do so with Audible's one month free trial.


The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins 

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Many science fiction fans have become familiar with The Hunger Games thanks to the big screen adaptation. However, die-hard fans of the story typically prefer the books, due to the added level of detail and depth they provide. The Hunger Games is a classic story of dystopian fightback, and will certainly appeal to readers who enjoyed Red Rising.


Tabula Rasa
Kristen Lippert-Martin

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The Tabula Rasa series of stories begins with a book of the same name. Lippert-Martin’s tale is set in a world where people are able to erase their memories, becoming a blank slate. While one troubled teen is undergoing this procedure, a sudden interruption occurs. The mood of Tabula Rasa is something similar to Black Mirror (that super creepy, yet awesome Netflix series). It makes us ask questions about the nature of memory and technology. The book is also a readable tale full of suspense and excitement. 


The Darwin Elevator
Jason M Hough

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Jason M Hough begins his Dire Earth Cycle with The Darwin Elevator, the first book in the series. Like Red Rising, The Darwin Elevator deals with a stratified society, and explores the tensions that exist between the haves and have nots. If you love post-apocalyptic science fiction, tales of rebellion, and gripping plot lines, The Darwin Elevator is well worthy of your attention. 


Lynne Matson

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Lynne Matson begins her Nil series with its title book, a story of a mysterious island with a deadly deadline. Imagine waking up on an island where you have exactly a year to escape or face certain death. That is the exact scenario encountered by Charley, a teenager waking up without a clue of what has befallen her. Nil can be shelved alongside Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Red Rising as excellent examples of rebellious survival science fiction. 


Josin L. McQueen

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Some of the best dystopian young adult science fiction has a strong sense of mystery, and Arclight deploys this trope masterfully. The plot focuses on a girl with no memory who has survived an encounter that no one else ever has. As well as providing fans of Red Rising with plenty of similar dystopian ideas, McQueen adds a strong sense of unsettling horror to Arclight. Highly recommended.


Kerry Wilkinson

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Kerry Wilkinson begins his Silver Blackthorn series with Reckoning, a dystopian young adult science fiction tale set in an alternative version of England. The story’s main character, Silver Blackthorn, has to undergo a brutal test which will solidly determine her place in society. Just as Red Rising deals with a world which is brutally segregated, Reckoning explores similar territory, but in an alternative reality version of England instead of Mars. Fans of young adult science fiction will enjoy this starting point to Wilkinson’s series. 


John Scalzi

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Unlocked by John Scalzi is a fine example of what the other does best - creating an immersive science fiction world, rich in detail, for the reader to lose themselves in. The primary purpose of Unlocked is to explore the history of a virus that has devastated Earth, forever changing life for the planet and its inhabitants. Unlocked is essential for readers before getting going with Locked In, as it establishes a wealth of detail which greatly enhances the subsequent books in the series. 


The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the best-known examples of dystopian fiction out there. The story is enjoying renewed attention and popularity thanks to its critically acclaimed television adaptation, as well as Atwood’s recent announcement of a follow up book. The book itself deals with an unfairly segregated world and the struggle to fight back against it. This central ideal of a just rebellion is likely to appeal deeply to readers who were moved by Red Rising


The Maze Runner
James Dashner

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner didn’t receive the same level of attention as The Hunger Games, despite the similar feel that the books have. Dashner’s story is an exciting example of young adult science fiction with a strongly mysterious edge. Imagine waking up in a walled world, outside of which exists a uniquely dangerous maze. Why are you there? What do you have to do to get out? The Maze Runner is gripping dystopian science fiction as its finest. 


Lauren Oliver

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Lauren Oliver begins her epic Delirium series with a book of the same name. The story is set in an alternative version of the USA, in which a totalitarian government seeks to suppress love at all costs. While most of the population meekly succumb to the government’s control, there are those who stay under the radar. Delirium’s protagonist is forced to choose between the predictable path of obedience, or a rebellious act of love. The story is similar to Red Rising, with an added layer of emotional depth.

What makes a book like Red Rising?

Red Rising is one of the most popular examples of rebellious dystopian science fiction, and with good reason. Red Rising is widely loved by fans inside and outside of the sci fi genre, who relate to its engaging plotline of rebellion and social upheaval. 

So how exactly has Top Sci Fi Books compiled this list of the best books like red rising? What are some of the thematic elements that have qualified books for the comparison?

Themes of Best Books like Red Rising

  • Dystopian society. Just as Red Rising portrays an unjust, dystopian society, many of the books on this list share a similar setup. Some are the result of devastating events, such as plagues or other world-altering occurrences. Others stem from authors imagining a nightmarish evolution of the real world in which we live. What all of the books share in common is an ability to transport the reader into an immersive, unjust vision of society.

  • Rebellion. Often, the best books in this genre feature heroic, brave main characters choosing a path of rebellion against the unfair status quo. This is absolutely the case with Red Rising, and is found in many other books on this list, such as The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale.

  • Relatable main characters. One of the keys for dystopian young adult sci fi to be successful is making the main character relatable. Often, the society shown is so unlike our own, we need an empathetic protagonist to make the book work. Whether Katniss in The Hunger Games, or Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, the characters featured on this list are sure to take you on an emotional rollercoaster.

What are some of the settings for books similar to Red Rising?

Red Rising is famous for, among other things, its epic portrayal of a human society which has managed to reach and colonize Mars. 

Like all of the best sci fi genres, dystopian stories have plenty of scope for different settings. If stories centered on the central theme of just rebellion are your thing, you have plenty of different backdrops to explore. For example:

  • Earth. Many tales like Red Rising are set on Earth. This is often a near future portrayal, imagining the direction our real planet will take. As necessitated by the dystopian gene, things have often taken a turn for the worse. The dreadful state the world finds itself in is often the source of the tension needed for a book similar to Red Rising. 

  • Other planets. Just as Red Rising is set on Mars, many dystopian sci fi authors have imagined societies on other planets. This is a superb choice for readers of imaginative science fiction, as the ability to get lost in an otherworldly setting provides precious escapism.

  • Alternative reality. The third main approach chosen by writers producing work similar to Red Rising is to imagine an alternative version of our own reality. This can take the form of a world where the past went very differently, or even a completely different timeline from our own, yet still recognizably similar to our own world. 

Just as there is a vast amount of difference in the type of dystopian rebellion seen in stories like Red Rising, there is a lot of scope for different settings. If you enjoy science fiction books of a particular type, you are likely to find a story akin to Red Rising set against a backdrop of the type you prefer.

How to Get Free Books Like Red Rising

Ready to check out some of the best books that are reminiscent of Red Rising? Here are two totally free ways to do exactly that:

1. Signup with Audible's One Month Free Trial: By signing up for Audible's free month trial you can download any two books you choose for free. If you decide you like Audible then you can pay a small monthly fee of $14.95 and get one book a month. If you decide you do not like Audible you can cancel your trial and keep your two free books.

2. If you want to try something other than Audible you could also try Playster. Playster's One Month Free Trial works with either ebooks or audiobooks. You can pay for a membership at $14.95 per month and receive unlimited books. However Playster does not offer as many book options. If you would like to listen to all of Playsters books you will need to use the premium which is $29.95. ]

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