Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Publication date: January 28th, 2014
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
The war begins...
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable--and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.
But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sometimes one just gets in the mood for a little science fiction with a lack of all the mushy romance hindrances. That is the mood I was in when I decided to pick up Red Rising from my embarrassingly large pile of review books. I was intrigued by the blurb across the cover that compared the book to the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Both book series have found a special place in my heart and I needed to see if Pierce Brown's debut novel would find a home among these great works of literature.
In the world created by Brown, humanity has become divided. There is a hierarchy between the people who now inhabit Mars. They are known by colors. All Darrow knows is his home as a Red miner. He has a dream of being the best Helldiver, reckless driller of the boiling mines, he can be and winning favor from his superiors the Golds. It is only when his stubborn wife tries to teach him to pull his head from the sand and look around at the injustice they suffer in their world that Darrow starts to wonder if there is more than just his little slice of Mars he calls home.
Soon Darrow realizes he and his people have been lied to all their lives. There is much, much more to their world than what they are shown. The Golds must be taken down in order for the Reds to escape their binds of slavery. It is only when Darrow meets the Sons of Ares that he is given a chance to play a vital role in the shift of society. Darrow is transformed and implanted into the Gold's world as a spy. He is meant to get through the Institute, the Gold's school, and find a place in their political structure so he can find a way to bring about an end to the power hungry color in charge.
What Darrow didn't know was that the enemies he thought were enemies may actually turn out to be the best of friends he could ask for while others live up to their color's reputation to bring about nothing but pain and pride. Darrow must find a way to make it through the Institute without being killed while also being mindful to keep up the facade he has adorned. Will Darrow abandon the color of his birth for the color of new allies?
I have to admit, all the information that went about in the book sometimes left me scratching my head. I had to flip back a few pages and figure out what the "bloodydamn" was going on. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though. It does seem to have that Hunger Games vibe to it with Darrow fighting against "the man" while also in a game of survival. However, where it differs is in the intricacies of the writing. There is strategy within these pages that was exceedingly light in the book it's compared to.
I have never had a book fill me with such rage as this one did. I could literally feel the anger and resentment Darrow felt leap off the pages and sock me in the stomach. I wanted him to succeed, I wanted him to murder and maim, and I wanted him to find peace in the end. Darrow crawled under my skin and remains there even after I finished the last page and set the book aside. Not many books can do manage that feat. Especially not from a debut author.
Red Rising will have you bouncing in your seat and howling for blood, vengeance, love, and glory.