Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so (Goodreads, 2014).
I don’t read a lot of dystopian fiction, because I feel like it often hits too close to home and reading has always been a means of escape for me. However, I ended up picking up “Red Rising” as part of an Instagram book club. This is definitely not light reading, but I still found it a worthwhile reading and am glad that I decided to pick it up.
I almost found myself wishing for multiple points of view while reading this book, because I was so curious about what was going on in the heads of the side characters like Sevro and Mustang. To be honest I found those two more relatable/interesting than I did Darrow, who I thought was prone to mopping. That being said I sympathized with Darrow since the story definitely put him through a lot of trauma. I was also very impressed with how much he grew as a person over the course of the story.
It’s very easy while reading “Red Rising” to forget that most of the characters in this book are teenagers as they often found themselves having to tackle various adult situations. The Institute arc felt very reminiscent of “Lord of the Flies”, but with a lot more death and violence. I also found this book to be in some ways a commentary on how the media controls our reality in a sense. In “Red Rising” Darrow has no idea he is a slave at the onset of the story, because the information he is receiving from the media is misleading. And throughout the course of the Institute arc the rest of the Society is also getting a doctored version of what is going on on the ground. It is not too far a stretch of imagination to think that some of the events of the book could have happened in our world with much of our reality impacted by what we hear on the news and even more often via social media.
This was a 4 out of 5 for me. If you’ve enjoyed books like “The Hunger Games” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” then I think you will definitely enjoy this one too.
Quotes I Found Important:
Funny thing watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along”
Without me she would not eat. Without her I would not live”