Science Fiction isn’t something I usually read a lot of even though it’s tied pretty closely with fantasy. However, I’ve heard many good things about the Red Rising novels, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Darrow is a Helldiver of Mars, a pioneer for human society. At least, that’s what the Golds told him. Darrow has resigned himself to a fate of toiling in the mines, but his wife thinks differently. She sees the truth behind the Gold’s lies and dies a martyr. Darrow doesn’t see the truth and intends to die along with her only to be given one more chance. With the help of the Sons of Ares, Darrow sees the truth and, heart filled with desire for vengeance, he agrees to help them.
So, Darrow has to change. He suffers through the transformation of becoming a Gold, and then enters the Institute. His goal: become a Scarred Peerless and cause change from the inside out. However, Darrow struggles over his feelings for his dead wife as he becomes more like the people he promised to take revenge on. At the Institute, it’s all or nothing. Only the top will survive, and Darrow is learning that the hard way.
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”
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 toils willingly, trusting 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 lush wilds 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.
I really, really liked this book. The raw emotions of this book are spot-on and truly form the basis of the book. I’ll be doing a character analysis on Darrow, so I won’t be diving into him too much.
The beginning of this book starts off with a lot of explanation, so if that isn’t your cup of tea then you’ll just have to bear through it. There’s a lot to this future that Brown has made, and pretty much all of what Brown mentions is essential to explaining Darrow’s actions later on in the story. I liked how quickly the story kicked off once the beginning was over, and the intensity definitely heightens the stakes. Sticking with pacing, I do feel like this story sagged a little in the middle. There’s a lot of description about what Darrow has to go through in order to become a Gold, and at some point it becomes a little redundant. From there, there’s just a lot of Darrow trying to fit in as a Gold, and it gets a little slow again only to pick back up very quickly with the fact that Darrow has to actually kill one of his classmates. At this point, I definitely saw how this book is compared to the Hunger Games from what I know about it. Even though the Institution is a school, it definitely felt like survival of the fittest which is fitting for the Gold’s society.
There are also numerous times where there are superfluous details. One example would be with the character, Evey, a Pink. I don’t believe she has much of an impact in this story although that may change later on. However, Darrow seems to show some care for her, but I don’t exactly see their relationship. I was waiting for Brown to build on it, but it was never mentioned again to my disappointment because I felt like that was something that could have been made into a special moment. However, none of these things are big enough to actually detract from the story.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to anybody who is willing to read some vulgar language. It’s fitting for the characters, and I definitely believe that this book has interesting dynamics between characters.