5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Red Rising (Hardcover)
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I absolutely loved this book, more than I have enjoyed reading anything in a long time. My only issue is that the second one isn't available!!
People have evolutionized into different colors- each color having specific traits which make them good in one area or another, sort of like being born in the caste system that you could never get out of. The "golds" are in charge- they are superior in every way. Earth was dying. The "reds" are sent to Mars, to live and dig below the ground, collecting helium-3 which is necessary for the terra-forming of Mars and other planets and moons, so that people can live Earth and survive elsewhere. Unbeknownst to the reds, the terra-forming is complete, and the other colors are already living on Mars and many other places. They are living in luxury. The golds live on the backs of every other color, but reds are on the lowest rung.
Darrow is a "helldiver"- a "king" among the reds for his ability to work the machines in the depths of Mars. He loves his wife Eo more than anything. But she knows something is not right. She knows there's a possibility for more. She wants more. She is killed, leaving him to discover and fight for her dream of a better world for the reds.
Darrow is discovered by the red rebels. He goes through amazing agony and is turned into a gold. Strings are pulled. Bribes made. "Accidents" happen. And Darrow is invited to the Institute, where the best golds go to learn, and from there to apprentice with the leaders of the gold world. But the Institute is nothing like ANY of them imagined.
Think Hunger Games, in a way. It's a game. A game of war. The golds have been split into houses. There can only be one leader in each house, and there can only be one winner in the game. May the best gold win. Or not? The Archgovernor's son is at the Institute, and the Archgovernor will do almost anything for his son to win. The golds rule through fear and power. But Darrow is not like other golds. He doesn't want to be like a gold. To lead the reds to freedom, he must lead differently. He must think differently. He will make the game like none they have ever seen before.
Darrow's thoughts are put to the page in such a way that I found myself captured in his mind- wondering what his next move would be, hoping his lieutenants survive, hoping he is not betrayed. Darrow must find himself, must ally himself with golds who he know must be his enemies when the rebellion comes. Must choose between the wise choices, which can still get him the apprenticeship he needs to rise up and lead the reds, or choosing what feels right to and for him.
But all this is just the beginning- once they leave the Institute, they must go back to the real world. Darrow must learn, must command space ships, must rise to a spot from where he can lead the reds out from under the golds and release all colors from the slavery they are in.