I think one of the big announcements that came out from the Amazon Web Services world in October 2015 was the fact that you could spin up instances of MariaDB Server on it. You would get MariaDB Server 10.0.17. As of this writing, you are still getting that (the MySQL shipping then was 5.6.23, and today you can create a 5.6.27 instance, but there were no .24/.25/.26 releases). I’m hoping that there’s active work going on to make MariaDB Server 10.1 available ASAP on the platform.
Just last week you would have noticed that Amazon has rolled out MySQL 5.7.10. The in-place upgrades are not available yet, so updating is via dump/reload or using read replicas. According to the forums, a lot of people have been wanting to use the JSON functionality.
Are you trying MySQL 5.7 on RDS? How about your usage of MariaDB Server 10.0 on RDS? I’d be interested in feedback either as a comment here, or via email.