Book Reviews

Review: Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

A SF handling climate change in South Asia? Count me in! Even though I only just found out about Rise of the Red Hand, once I heard about it I immediately requested it. And I was not disappointed. Talk about a powerful story about sacrifice, privilege, and survival. Keep reading this book review to read my full thoughts!


The South Asian Province is split in two. Uplanders lead luxurious lives inside a climate-controlled biodome, dependent on technology and gene therapy to keep them healthy and youthful forever. Outside, the poor and forgotten scrape by with discarded black-market robotics, a society of poverty-stricken cyborgs struggling to survive in slums threatened by rising sea levels, unbreathable air, and deadly superbugs.

Ashiva works for the Red Hand, an underground network of revolutionaries fighting the government, which is run by a merciless computer algorithm that dictates every citizen’s fate. She’s a smuggler with the best robotic arm and cybernetic enhancements the slums can offer, and her cargo includes the most vulnerable of the city’s abandoned children.

When Ashiva crosses paths with the brilliant hacker Riz-Ali, a privileged Uplander who finds himself embroiled in the Red Hand’s dangerous activities, they uncover a horrifying conspiracy that the government will do anything to bury. From armed guardians kidnapping children to massive robots flattening the slums, to a pandemic that threatens to sweep through the city like wildfire, Ashiva and Riz-Ali will have to put aside their differences in order to fight the system and save the communities they love from destruction.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: assault, medical experimentation

Rise of the Red Hand is a thought provoking and action packed story. The impacts of climate change and environmental destruction have not only wreaked havoc on the world, but also only exasperated the differences in class. In a world where our resources are dwindling, how do we make sure that we have enough? And how do we decide who deserves the resources? If that’s got you hooked enough, then you definitely need to pre-order Rise of the Red Hand.

Amidst this story of a crumbling world, there’s a revolution brewing. Never truly extinguished, the Red Hand is biding their time. Rise of the Red Hand is a multiple POV story that examines the intentions of technology versus their impact. A piece of technology, in the wrong hands, can easily be turned into a weapon or a saving grace. My favorite element of Rise of the Red Hand has to be the world building, because it felt so comprehensive and intriguing. Another theme that Rise of the Red Hand examines is the line between protecting someone and letting our protection smother them.

We can try to protect someone until the ends of the earth, but it can still backfire. When our protection feels suffocating, will our protection still be appreciated? How much do we lie to someone to keep them safe? What truths are we hiding from each other because we are too cowardice to face the light? At the heart of our protection, does a desire for our own control and lack of a reckoning lie?


Rise of the Red Hand is a fantastic SF full of compromises and sacrifices, mistakes and revenge. Firmly rooted in privilege differences, and the effects of our status, it examines how we choose to take a stand. What is the tipping point in our own journey? Find Rise of the Red Hand on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite SF that discusses environmental destruction?

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2 thoughts on “Review: Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

  1. So glad you liked this one. I’ve heard great things about the world building, and I’ve been wanting to read it since I interviewed Olivia on my blog. It just came in at my library, and I have it on reserve. Thanks for the great review.

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