Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House), 400 pages
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.
Dark, brutal, and disturbing, I was completely riveted and engrossed while reading this book. Darrow is such an amazing main character, you will find yourself rooting for him the entire time, even when he makes horrible mistakes. He's so badass but also such a good guy. You'll feel his pain when he loses people that he loves, you'll feel his rage when he finds out how his people have been treated and betrayed, and you'll feel his need for revenge. There is so much evil in this book, but it's complex and nuanced, and there are reasons for it (the politics and strategy are well done).
The secondary characters are amazing too, so well fleshed out (no one dimensional characters here) and you're never entirely sure who Darrow can trust, although you're hoping he can trust some of them. The world-building is stunning and I absolutely loved learning about Mars, the rest of the planets, and the caste system. It's given out in bits and pieces and well integrated with the plot rather than info-dumping. There are definitely some similarities to The Hunger Games (and Lord of the Flies), and that may bother some people, but the book is absolutely spectacular. I devoured it. Addictive, intense, compelling, filled with heart-stopping action, I can't recommend this enough. Just read it.
Posted by: Pam