Why yes, I do realize this book has been out for a few years and everyone besides me has read it. Well, I love me some Tim Gerard Reynolds so I purchased the audiobook via Whispersync so I could move it up the TBR and see what you all have been talking about in regard to Red Rising. I have to say, whoever said this is in the same league as Hunger Games and lead everybody else to believe it was dead wrong. This book is SOO much better.
We are introduced to Darrow, a 16-year old miner (known as a “Hell Diver”) on Mars. His belief, as well as his fellow miners, is that they are working toward a better life for future generations by making the surface of Mars livable (terraforming). He is a Red, the lowest caste in a society where your color means everything. What he soon comes to understand is that the livable surface they are working so hard for has already been realized; as well as on other planets and moons in the system. He and the other Reds are, simply put, slaves. Peons to the Golds who rule and lord over all of the other classes. Meant to toil for the greater good of everyone else.
And when Darrow loses his one spark of hope for the future, he becomes angry and roused to bring down the Golds. But in order for him to do so, he will have to become one. He will have to power though the Institute: a place where all Golds must prove themselves worthy to become the next generation’s overlords. He will have to put his life on the line against, what can only be considered as, some of the Gold society’s most ruthless killing machines. Darrow will have to prove himself worthy of being called the Primus and will have do to so without showing his Red past and while becoming what he hates the most. What he doesn’t expect is the make friends of his enemies.
The entire novel is shown, in first person, from Darrow’s point of view but we are introduced to several fleshed-out characters throughout the story. Each one has a specific personality attached to them and they all have their own motivations to make it through the Institute. I also thoroughly enjoyed the world building. You begin in the claustrophobic suit of Darrow and are toured through the confines of the mines, until you reach the surface and are overwhelmed by the ever expanding civilization that has transformed the planet.
Though there are some similarities to The Hunger Games (the Institute, a young protagonist among a young cast of characters, and a high-class society that overlooks everyone else), Red Rising cannot be tagged as YA. The content itself deals with rape, cannibalism, and some pretty brutal violence that, IMO, is not for younger audiences.
Brown’s writing is crisp and refreshing and definitely deserves all of the praise it has received. I am looking forward to continuing the series with The Golden Son and will, once again, be listening to TGR’s beautiful narration.