Summary: Red Rising begins on Mars and tells the story of Darrow, a Red who toils every day in the mines believing he is working to make the surface of Mars livable. He gladly risks his life everyday knowing he is working towards a better future for his family. But after his wife is killed he learns he has built his life on lies. He and his people are merely slaves to the Golds, a degenerate ruling class. He decides to risk everything to infiltrate their elite training academy and work to bring down this corrupt society from the inside.
Review: In the vein of other dystopian novels like Ender’s Game or The Hunger Games, Red Rising is a story of one man standing against impossible odds to take down a corrupt ruling class. The novel itself is well-written and gripping with well-rounded characters and riveting action sequences. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Pierce Brown has created a fully realized dystopian future where humans have fled earth and genetic engineering has solidified the class structure. The Golds are the finest of physical specimens while the Reds are small and undernourished. At times the novel can be brutal read. There are graphic depictions of violence and this is not a book for children although it would be appropriate for a mature teen. The plot is fast-paced and takes many unexpected turns that will keep the reader engrossed and wanting more.
Read-a-likes: Red Rising is the first in a trilogy be sure to check out the second book Golden Son and the soon to be released final volume Morning Star. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is the beginning of another dystopian science fiction trilogy that you should be sure to check out.