Red Rising by Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Description: 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 his 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.
My thoughts: Huge hit. That's what I see. I'd suggest older teenagers not sensitive to violence and adults. Darrow is only 16 at the beginning of this book, 18 by the end. But be prepared for a lot of societal ills. There are similarities to Hunger Games but not nearly enough to put it in the same category. First of all, Darrow is fighting for a different society, not merely to stay alive. He fights out of love for his murdered wife.
It's not a dystopian novel, rather a microcism of real societies, encompassing different periods of Earth history. Although the idea is survival if the fittest and making allies, playing nice with your team mates, the twist of politics is what makes the game very real. As does death and crimes against humanity.
Darrow's place in this new world on Mars is creative and intriguing. The Gold people mimic the Roman and Greek eras of power. Darrow discovers both good and evil in both his old society and the new society. I am looking forward to the next books.