The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda. – Goodreads
It definitely starts off slow (and boring). But it’s just the background to help lay the groundwork. If you’ve tried to read Red Rising and quit because it was slow, you need to get to Chapter 7. That’s when shit starts to hit the fan and things accelerate.
Brown is a very descriptive writer. It’s written from first person POV—which is interesting, because I don’t usually like first person. I prefer a hands-off approach to narration. His writing flowed well and I really liked it.
Darrow starts off (and is throughout the whole story) as a very confident and strong-willed boy. He feels that he can accomplish anything by setting his mind to it. It was annoying at some points, but overall it worked and wasn’t too overbearing. Confidence vs. cockiness. Brown focuses on Darrow’s hands often, and how strong they are. He’s a helldiver—he’s the driver of a drilling machine hunting for Helium 3 in the mines of Mars. So, strong hands are important for their interface. Emotionally, he goes through a lot of different things. He definitely changes over the course of the book. It was interesting to see his struggle throughout the story. He’s forced to act as someone he is not while trying to be himself.
Eo is Darrow’s martian (‘martian’ as in lives on Mars…she’s human) wife. She’s very small and frail, but she makes up for that with a virtuous mind. She’s feels that everyone is being wronged and they should all be living for something more than just mining. She dies after performing their secret/forbidden song (this is not code for sex) because someone heard and then she was hanged. The most depressing part of the whole book: because of Martian gravity, there isn’t enough force to choke them to death or break their necks. The overlords allow one person to go up and finish the job by tugging on their feet. Darrow did this for Eo. It was brutal. I didn’t cry, though. I was just shocked.
You feel that the world is very small. You have a feeling that it’s a lot bigger (Mars) but Brown purposely keeps it confined. As the story develops, more things are revealed and you realize everyone has been lied to.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Science Fiction/Space Opera. It’s classified as YA (and there is some coming of age stories in it, but it’s not overdone—you don’t FEEL the youngness of the characters) but adults would enjoy it too. I give it 4.5/5 stars. I don’t finish a book if I don’t like it, and I finished this one.
Man Review Monday is a new guest feature, starring Lauren’s hubby, Bret. A solid dose of testosterone-laden literary review never hurt anyone, and we’re happy to feature a boy’s perspective once in a while.