Summary- Darrow is a miner on Mars and is preparing the way for future humans to thrive on the planet, or so he has been told. His wife Eo believes that there is more going on then meets the eye and is martyred. Darrow almost dies as well but ends up being saved and made over as a pawn by a group of people trying to overthrow the current government. He is disguised as a member of the ruling class and sent to a special school where the main subject is the art of war and conquering an empire.
My Rating- B
I need to start out by saying that this is not a book I would have chosen for myself. A friend gave it to me and I felt obliged to read it. It was very kind of him to share a book he loved but I have to be honest that this review is from someone who wouldn’t normally read this book and so if you are a huge fan of the genre then my review will be of little use to you.
According to the front cover of the book Scott Sigler said “Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.” I did read and enjoy the hunger games and I can see the comparison but I will say that many of the things I loved about Hunger Games were absent in this book.
Darrow was difficult for me to relate to in some places and I had a hard time feeling really sympathetic for him or rooting for him. Part of the problem is that this book has a fairly high learning curve. There is a lot about this world that is different than ours and even after reading the book I don’t really feel like I walked the halls with Darrow. In the Hunger Games I rarely felt confused or lost but with Red Rising I had several instances where I just felt like I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be imagining. Maybe if I read the other books the whole thing would be clearer to me.
I did really enjoy the beginning of the book. Eo was a character I could root for and I was all ready to follow her on a quest to right the wrongs done to her people. Her death reminded me of Braveheart with her singing a forbidden song as she is put to death. I then expected Darrow to take up her cause (much like when William Wallace’s wife is killed in Braveheart) and start kicking butt. This isn’t quite what happens.
Darrow almost dies but is rescued by rebels at the last second. The next part of the book is about his transformation into a “Gold” and preparation for “school”. I found this part of the book slow; probably because I wasn’t fully immersed in the world and so much of what was happening was confusing to me.
Then, Darrow and lots of other aristocratic “Gold” children are sent to a school where the first test they take is to kill another student. Yes, aristocratic parents purposefully send their kids to this school knowing that on the first day of class exactly one half of the class will be put to death. Can we agree that Mars could use better child protective services?
So, Darrow murders a fellow student and then is put into a “House” with the brother of the student he murdered. Next, the students play complex war games until only one “House” is the winner.
My interest did return at this part of the book because there are some really fantastic secondary character though the war games got to be a bit much for me.
It was a book that I could have put down several times but I am glad I made it to the end. I don’t think I will continue to read the next book in the series though.
It was a decent book with a lot going on. It just wasn’t the right book for me.
Thanks Cory for letting me borrow it anyways!