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.
I was expecting this book to be a continuation of the YA fantasy books I’ve read recently. I was expecting a love triangle, a hero/heroine forced into extreme situations where they have to fight for the people they love in a risk all drama that culminates in them feeling isolated and miserable.
Red Rising is not one of these. It is so much more.
For a start our hero Darrow is exceptional already. He is classified as a red in a world where you are defined by your appearance to live in certain castes. He does the most dangerous and demanding job in his clan and supplies for his wife and extended family in an unfair system that encourages the to hate each other whilst encouraging them to think of themselves as pioneers, making Mars habitable for the people of earth who’s planet is dying.
Darrow is pushed by his wife to want to achieve more, to want to rebel against their oppressors, the Golds, but Darrow still believing in the lie he has been fed wants to continue how they are.
When circumstances change and Darrow is presumed dead he discovers the lies he has been told and with the help of the local rebel faction uses his intelligence and dexterity to enter into the academy of the Golds to show them just how far they have underestimated his caste.
I absolutely loved this book, Darrow is vengeful but human. He doubts, he fails and he learns. He learns to become a leader rather than an inadvertent figurehead or pawn. It is well written, incredibly well plotted and in my opinion the best of it’s genre I’ve read.