Published: Jan, 28, 14
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: TBR pile
"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."
"I live for you," I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."
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.
Like a lot of dystopians, in some ways this felt as if it could be a warning in how we treat each other. Also it shows how perception creates our reality. As we separate ourselves from each other we also find that it makes it easier to diminish and see people as "other" which makes it easier to discriminate. In this world, this caste society signified by colors which had been generations in the making with part of the population not even knowing anything outside their own society. Darrow, our hero, who is a low red is basically the slave in the world is given an opportunity to have his blinders removed and live the life of a privileged color. He learns that things aren't as black/white as it sometimes seen and that there are things to be fixed on all levels of society. He finds that all levels of society have their good and bad parts but his ultimate goal does not wavier since his people do not even know they are slaves.
The book starts with several sacrifices to give Darrow that chance at another life, at being a hero. This sets up his hero journey which then falls into another part of society that is also rarely seen by others for another reason. While he makes his way through this world in a brutal way, he finds out what it really means to be a leader and begins to wonder if his goal should expand to the other colors which separate this world.
This is such an interesting take on what is going on in this world and you wonder if Darrow will continue to be consistent in his goal, if it changes, or if he falls to the lure of luxury and power. You also want to know if you can trust anyone in this world... or if ANYONE can trust anyone else. It is a complicated world which can throw readers not quite used to sci-fi or fantasy but if you stick with it you will find yourself immersed and curious about how everything will turn out. I give this book 4 1/2 stars and you can safely say that I do want that next book in my hands soon. 😁