Red Rising: Book 1 of the Red Rising Trilogy. Pierce Brown. Delray Press. July 2014. 416 pp. hardback, paperback and e-book. ISBN #: 9780345539809.
On the planet of Mars, there are different colors or classes of people living, each with a very specific purpose. Darrow, the protagonist, is a Red, one of the miners whose job is to work and obtain as many minerals as possible which eventually make the planet livable outside of the enclosed environments conducive to living and breathing in a foreign environment. His wife is a quiet woman who dares to sing a song in public that will condemn her and Darrow is forced to watch and even participate in her execution. Her song which symbolizes the Reds’ hope for freedom from their very harsh living conditions will be sung all over the planet despite the efforts of the ruling class to forbid it to be heard ever again.
So begins this very violent, strife-ridden science fiction novel in which Darrow himself escapes, is caught and condemned to die. He, however, will be rescued after his escape from death and transformed through an agonizing process into a superman belonging to another class, the Golds. The description of his transformation is uncanny and the reader will hold his or her breath at the challenges inherent in each step of this phenomenal process! One also learns about the functions of the other “colors” of people living in different carefully sectioned areas of Mars.
Now comes a greater challenge! For Darrow has set his own personal mission, to destroy the Golds and earn freedom for his people in the Red Zone. For that, Darrow will take on a new name and attend a Gold school where he is taught to be a killer and a master manipulator of whatever strengths and weaknesses appear in his presence. Only the strong will survive this Darwinian gauntlet and appearances are deceiving in this battle. For the strong are really the pampered and the weak have powers and strategies indicating unusually sharp intelligence, all of which will be needed to emerge victorious from this phase.
Darrow fully engages in the complexities of this phase of his learning and the reader again is flipping the pages to see what happens next. Each new battle phase is unexpected and therefore more riveting than the previous one.
Red Rising… is superb science fiction that would even make a great movie! Highly recommended reading for all, especially science fiction fans!