Thank you to Bookbridgr for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
So I am not enjoying writing this review, why? Because it means I have finished reading this awesome book and am now in the horrible process of waiting on the second book, AAAAARGH!!
Ok hissy fit over, this book with its deadly red cover and amazing credentials all over it, mentions of the Hunger Games, Game of Thrones etc and you know what?, they are all well deserved its like the Katniss and co have been shot in to space, landed on Mars, given birth to the Game of Thrones whilst feasting on a bit of Blade Runner with a dash of Tolkien and Orwell, have I gone over the top in my description?
I love this book, I would have read it in one sitting if life didn't get in the way (my pesky kids!). It is set upon our red neighbour Mars, we meet Darrow a young miner deep under the surface of the planet, he is mining a precious element used to terraform planets and his job is extremely important but he is also the lowest of the low. Mars has a class system and Darrow is a Red, the Reds are bottom of the list carrying out all the horrible tasks the highers classes wont do.
Darrow knows no difference he continues in his work until following a heartbreaking tragedy (cue tears from me) he discovers that his life has been full of lies, he has always been told there is nothing on the surface of the red planet, so needless to say the discovery of a vast population living up top in cities living life to the max comes as a shock but with that shock comes vengeance.
The population up top is also sorted by the class system and the rulers are the Golds, selfish, beautiful, cruel they are horrible and they are responsible for the Reds being kept in the dark, Darrow is given the chance of revenge by a shadowy rebel group but it comes at a painful cost, he will need to disguise himself as a Gold and it is not a simple case of dying his hair and popping in coloured contact lenses, he is literally redesigned, his entire body is carved so it is a perfect Gold specimen, the description of this happening is truly painful, you truly feel for Darrow and his quest to infiltrate the Golds.
The rebels want him to attend The Institute a school which sorts out the weaker Golds from the superior ones. Darrow needs to seamlessly blend in, to become one of the people he truly hates, to make them believe he is one of them.
He succeeds but he has to endure The Passage, a bloody ordeal where the Gold's sort out their weaklings and wage war against one another, the students are put in to houses, Darrow is House Mars and they all battle against one another in a terrifying war that test these teenagers to their limits, Darrow discovers who is the cruelest, the kindest, the most intelligent and so on but he also finds himself thinking of these Gold's as brothers and sisters as his time in The Institute goes on, is he losing sight of his original mission and becoming a Gold?
Well you will need to read and find out, the one thing that made me think this book would be good is a map, all of my favourite books have maps (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings) and I constantly found myself referring to it as Darrow and his fellow Golds moved across their battleground.
I really did feel bereft when I finished this book, I love it when a book can truly blow you away like that, I know that pitting teenagers against one another is hardly a new idea but the setting on Mars along with the class system and language they use makes this an extremely compelling read.
I cannot wait to read more about Darrow, I want to discover more about the planet he is living on and obviously knowing what happens at the end of this book I need to know if he completes his mission.
Red Rising is one book you need to add to your bookshelf now, it makes The Hunger Games look tame and I guarantee you will love it.
Red Rising is awarded 5 out 5