Friday, November 21, 2014

Breaking Red

A few months ago, I asked my friend Brooke for a book recommendation.  She described her pick as: "Hunger games on steroids from the male perspective.  With bonus space colonization."

That was all I needed to get into Pierce Brown's "Red Rising."  After reading, I might add meth to Brooke's description.

The best comp I can give it is "Catching Fire," the second book in the Hunger Games series.  The methodically building drumbeat of the plot makes it impossible to put down.  My only complaint is that I was under the impression the second book in this series was already out, but when I went to purchase it I discovered it won't be released until January.  THANKS, BROOKE.

"Red Rising" follows a teenager named Darrow who is a superstar worker in a mining colony underground on Mars.  This universe has colonies on all the planets and moons governed by a master race of people, and a society delineated by colors.  The highest are the Golds, while Darrow and his Reds sit at the bottom.

Darrow is plugging along in life, aware that the system he lives under is pretty unfair, but not sure what exactly he can do to change anything.  His wife, Eo, is a fireplug of a young woman who wants nothing more than to upend the entire structure.  She pushes back when Darrow talks about how his father was hanged for his activities with no apparent gains for their people.

"Death isn't empty like you say it is," she says.  "Emptiness is life without freedom, Darrow.  Emptiness is living chained by fear, fear of loss, of death.  I say we break those chains."

A series of spoilery things unfolds, legitimately making me angry as I read on the train and leading me to tweet to Brooke in all caps wondering how I was supposed make it through work without knowing what happened next:

She questioned the wisdom of her selection:

But it was a good choice.  The story of Darrow fighting back under an elaborate, yet believable plan so captured my attention I flagged only a handful of passages.  He has to immerse himself in a world of the Golds he has only partially gleaned before being in their midst, and face-to-face he confronts stark realities of how and why they rule.

"I hate them, but I hear them," he says.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  And if you want to be on the early curve of pop culture, it's already been picked up to be made into a movie.  What do you need in movies?  A cast.  If Hollywood is listening, Brooke and I are ready to take our jobs as expert casting directors:

We'll have to wait and see who gets the real roles.  But for now, as of this moment you have 46 days to read this book before the next one comes out.  Get to work!

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