Synopsis: 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.
Review: Man, Red Rising is a thing. First off, I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Darrow had his moments where I didn't care if he lived or not, but I appreciated his ability to see that he isn't meant to be a martyr. You don't see that hesitation very often in books like this, so I thought it was quite good. The other characters you get to know through the course of this book, Mustang, Pax, Cassius, felt so genuine and unique. They didn't read like your average caricatures of overdone tropes. In my opinion, the characters really carried the story and I want to know where things go from the end of Red Rising.
Now for the less positive things. I really didn't like the way this world was made. I know a lot of people find it compelling and that's a big part of why they enjoy this book. I'm just not one of those people. I've read books that tired to merge dystopian and fantasy together, and they've been fine. This one seemed like too much as it tired to pull together aspects of those genres as well as science fiction. Plus, none of it felt very well developed, so I found a fair bit of it hard to picture. Adjusting to the world was the only major downside I had with this story, and it's such a shame. The overall plot was interesting, and there were good twists put in at just the right times. I've seen people say this is a book you should go into without knowing much of anything. In some ways, I agree. In other ways, I don't. If you like weird books, that put a bunch of different ideas together, then you might enjoy this without much information. If you are looking for a story with a cohesive world and a fairly easy introduction into science fiction, then this probably isn't for you.