I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Published by Del Rey on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon | Goodreads
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
This is one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year! It’s similar in theme to The Hunger Games but….different. It is a fusion of Sci-Fi, dystopia and young adult (very mature 16-year olds). Enough about similarities.
The central character is Darrow, a 16-year old who in this world is on par with a 21-year old today in terms of responsibilities. He and the other 1,000 men and women (the Reds) working far beneath the surface of Mars are doing so to help mine for resources to save the people on Earth. He’s what they call a Helldiver who mines for the precious, life saving elements. He’s married and sort of a hotshot with an extraordinary skill for strategizing and problem solving.
Circumstances evolve where Darrow learns that all he’s been told and the life he’s lived are utter lies. The world above the surface is completely habitable and his “class” is considered the lowest, relegated to what is essentially slave labor. The rebels who confided in him have done so to enlist him in infiltrating the upper class of Golds via their Command School, beginning the liberation of the underclasses.
Why I’m crazy about this story
I knew from the first few pages that the design of this world was well thought out and intricate. While it takes place far into the future, its foundation is firmly entrenched in the human condition. Man’s need to be on top (or not the bottom) is the basic driver for most of what has occurred…on steroids. They’ve created a hierarchical society that makes absolute sense and is absolutely unfair.
At Command School, Darrow is at times amazingly clever and at others short-sighted, always in keeping with his character. The action is insane as nothing about the story is predictable other than human nature. The only times I wanted to put the book down was to fully absorb what I’d read. I loved the times when he made serious missteps as much as those times when he was the most astute and sure footed. The climax of the story had my pulse racing like crazy as no one seemed to be sacred, including Darrow. There are as many uplifting moments as there are heartbreaking ones. You’ll experience many emotions along the way.
The bottom line
I became so immersed in this world, with its parallels to our current existing societal issues, trying to keep up with each of the challenges Darrow faced. It was a connection I hated letting go for the moment. The only downside is having to wait for the next book. Don’t walk, run and get this book. Oh, and the characters may be young in age but this is so not your typical young adult fare. It’s one of the best and most exciting books of this ilk I’ve read in quite some time.
I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!
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