Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his15839976 children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already 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 joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. – Goodreads.com

This was unlike any dystopian novel I’ve ever read – even the setting was unique – Mars.  As with most dystopians, a lot is at stake and in the case of Red Rising, it’s freedom of people in a social system categorized by colors – and I don’t mean race.  Gold is at the top of the food chain and red, the color of soil on Mars, is at the bottom.

Darrow pulled me in from page one.  He begins as a hard-working guy who loves his wife and family and just wants to provide for them, but by the end of the book, his naive view of the world has changed and he’s undergone tremendous growth.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the sequel.

I have to admit, somewhere around the early middle of the book I began to lose interest and felt like the plot strayed a little, but before long, I couldn’t put it down.  The last half was completely testosterone-filled, which isn’t a bad thing for someone who doesn’t read chick-lit, and I was totally captivated.  The cast of characters also included some strong women who could hold their own in physical challenges against men.  With the actions and level of intelligence of some characters in this book, at times I found it difficult to believe they were teenagers, but they are a product of their environment and did what they needed to survive.

I would recommend this book to any dystopian lovers and it would be a great read for age 15+ teenage boys (girls too, but we all know it’s harder to get a book in front of the guys).

This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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