Monday, June 2, 2014
Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
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 admit that it was the blurb on the front of the book that made me pick it up and read the synopsis. That's not often the case, but it said something about this character being the next Ender and Katniss, and even though I was rolling my eyes at the overblown comparison, I was still intrigued enough to read the synopsis. What I read made me curious enough to buy the book and read it.
I may not agree that Darrow from Red Rising is the next Ender or Katniss, but that is because the character doesn't need the comparison to stand on his own. I usually am not a fan of characters driven by revenge, but I found this one rather intriguing. The depth of his rage drives him in an almost inhuman way that many writers don't dare to go to. A truly dark place filled with hate that is, in it's way, completely and utterly raw and human.
Born on Mars, Darrow believes that he is part of the effort to colonize Mars so that people from Earth can come and live. Almost instantly we find that that's not the case. In the intricate color-based caste system, Darrow is the lowest on the totem pole, and he has been lied to. Mars is already colonized, and he is a slave.
What follows is almost a twisted Captain America-esque transformation as Darrow is changed from a Red to a Gold--the highest of castes--undergoing a complete and painful body transformation through surgery and training. Once he's there the darkness I mentioned earlier truly begins to shine as Darrow infiltrates a society he absolutely hates.
With references to Greek mythology, war games, and the colonization of all the planets of the Solar System, this is a sci-fi that's bound to take the world by storm. I can't wait to read the sequel Golden Sun (Jan. 2015), and in my opinion anyone who is a sci-fi fan will be a fan of this book.