In his debut novel Pierce Brown takes the reader to Mars, where the human traits of wealth and corruption have followed the inhabitants all the way from Earth:
The Earth is dying, so the human race had to find other planets to colonize in order to insure the survival of the human race. Mars was one of the planets that was chosen to be colonized, but there was a lot of work that needed to be done before it could be colonized. Darrow, is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. The Reds' mission to extract enough of a precious element that helps make the surface of Mars habitable so that the human race can survive there. It is the Reds' that are helping to ensure the future of the human race and for a few hundred of years they have been living a lie. Mars has been habitable for several generations of people all of whom who have been using the Reds' as slaves. Darrow may not have been one to make push for changes on Mars, but heartbreak can make an individual do anything to see vengeance through and so begins Darrow's journey.
When I first started reading this book I thought that it was going too sci-fi for me with all the different terms, machines, that I was actually thinking of putting the book down and moving on but holy crap I'm so happy that I stuck through this book. Brown did a really good job at world building and creating the life and structure of where Darrow lived on Mars. I also liked how Brown showed the world through Darrow's eyes and learning with him the strange people, things and places that he has never been before as well as the final testing grounds. I liked the medieval twist that Brown was able to put into the novel, which kind of more familiar ground for reading material for me and it was a great counter to the sci-fi world that the book is set in. It was also in this medieval setting that Brown took the book to a darker place than I thought it would go. From rape to maiming to fighting dirty, even torture Brown does not hold back on the dark side of human nature. Although Brown does not go into great description of these events you know what is happening. It was a surprise that Brown went as dark as he did and I liked that he did. This made the book much more of an adult novel than a YA book in my opinion.
It was interesting that through all the technology that has been created over the years, humans are still like to divide themselves into a caste system, greed rules their lives and everything is about power. However, I found the weeding process that the Golds have to perform really interesting, unexpected and once again a lot darker than I thought Brown would go. It was also interesting that they do try to learn from the past and what caused other great nations to fall. They mentions the Roman Empire more than once.
I am so happy that I continued on reading this book, it was great, imaginative and Brown did an excellent job getting the reader to become invested in Darrow and his struggle and story. Highly recommended read for those who like the sci-fi genre and for those who want to try it out as it get less sci-fi and more medieval-ish later on in the book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.