Written by Pierce Brown
Published by Del Rey, January 28, 2014
My star rating: 4.5 stars
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 spends his life willingly, knowing 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 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 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. Find it on Goodreads
This is one of those books that’s hard to review – only because there’s so much happening! Also because the world is so large and there are so many characters. But I’ll try to combine my thoughts because I ended up loving this book!
In the beginning we meet Darrow. He is a Red, meaning he is the lowest class on Mars. The Reds are the mining people. They live underground, never seeing above ground on Mars, and mine so that they can build up the surface of Mars. He is FIERCE, and in every way possible. He’s driven in his work and he is one of the most revered of the miners… he is a hell diver. Totally ruthless and bad ass. But he’s also fierce with his love. He loves his family and his wife more than anything. And that is what made me fall in love with him so completely. The way that he talked about his love for his wife was an arrow straight to my heart. He was everything! But, as the synopsis suggests, he comes to find out that Mars has already built a life above ground, and his fierce determination turns into something else completely.
I will admit that the beginning of the book was a little predictable. I pretty much knew everything that was going to happen and, at times, I got a little bored. But the world building, the explanation of the struggles of the Reds, and the character building for Darrow, is absolutely necessary. But it took a little adjusting from this part to the next part. Things felt so completely different in tone of the world and in the adjustment of Darrow himself, that I found myself a little disconnected in the beginning half of this book.
Even though I struggled a little bit between these two parts of the book, this is where things really start! We learn about the different colour classes and it was absolutely entrancing! Heartbreaking, but well written. Each of the colours has a different task within the society. Pinks are for pleasure, Golds run the show, Obsidian are the warriors, Reds are the maintenance and miners, and so much more.
This next part to the story is also where Darrow sacrifices his family and the life he’s known to become a Gold himself and get his justice from the inside. We start to lose a bit of the Darrow we’ve known as he transitions into being a Gold. We watch him struggle to become something he hates while still holding on to all the things he’s known his whole life. Also, he’s trying to hold onto his hate and vengeance.
The life of a Gold is not what he expected! Not what anyone expected! It’s BRUTAL as all hell!! They fight for a top position within the ranks in this messed up “game” within the institute, and things take a political turn. Whenever there are politics involved in a book, I’m all in. Especially when we have a lower level class with a need for justice and fearless attitude. They seem to not be able to follow the rules and always find a way to “stick it to the man”. This is definitely one of those cases!! The last half of this book had my jaw on the floor quite often!!
As much as I love Darrow, it’s Sevro who has my heart. You don’t meet him until about half way though this book, but he is my spirit animal. The small guy who is underestimated yet always finds a way to be 5 steps ahead of the game and will cut you without hesitation. LOVE SEVRO!!!!!
In the beginning I wasn’t sure this was going to be as good as it’s hyped up to be. But as the story goes along, it pulled me deeper into the world, the vengeance, the brutality, the politics, and so much more. I can’t wait to continue with this series!!!
Until next time, happy reading!