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.
Wow, I have been sleeping on this series. Someone gifted me the ebook and I put off reading it for so long. Now, I might be obsessed. I don’t own the rest of the series, but at the recommendation of a friend, I’m going to continue the series via audiobooks.
Darrow is a Red. This means that he is a part of the lowest color in his world. He works in the mines every day. He works hard thinking that he will someday help the other colors be able to live on the surface of Mars. But when his wife is hanged, he takes her down and buries her body, knowing that this will sentence him to death. But instead of dying, he wakes up among the Sons of Ares. The Sons of Ares is a rebellion that it working toward changing the color system. They show Darrow that the higher colors have terraformed the surface of Mars hundreds of years ago and there are even some Reds that live and work on the surface. He realizes that his people are nothing short of slaves, mining for the higher colors. The Sons of Ares give him the task of becoming a Gold and testing to get into the Institute, something they’ve tried and failed to do in the past.
This is where the story really gets interesting. I really enjoyed the start of the story, seeing how much Darrow loves his family and his wife, Eo. I also enjoyed the process of Darrow being made into a Gold. But when he passes the test and gets to the Institute, the story is almost non-stop action. I will say that this story was very graphic and gruesome, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, maybe skip this one. But I loved every second of it. It was a fascinating conversation about humanity. I think the tests they endure at the Institute were horrific and complex, but completely captivating.
Overall, I really liked this book. It was dark and gritty, but also occasionally hopeful. It’s a story about one kid being sent on a mission to change the way of the world. I hope we get to see Darrow get some support from the Sons of Ares now that he’s passed the Institute’s tests. I think the ending was perfect to leave the reader wanting more. I liked that Darrow made friends among the Golds even though it complicates his plans. I also really liked that Darrow actively thought about this. He couldn’t help but make friends, but it weighed on his heart that he was going to have to betray them eventually. I’m very excited to continue the series.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.