I read this a few years ago and still remember it being one of the most exciting books I’ve read! I’m trying to read the third book in the series but am too chicken right now. Once planned for the big screen, the author recently regained the rights and is now actively working to make this a TV series. It is a fusion of Sci-Fi, dystopia and young adult (very mature 16-year olds).
The central character is Darrow, a 16-year old who in this world is on par with a 21-year old today in terms of responsibilities. He and the other 1,000 men and women (the Reds) working far beneath the surface of Mars are doing so to help mine for resources to save the people on Earth. He’s what they call a Helldiver who mines for the precious, life saving elements. He’s married and sort of a hotshot with an extraordinary skill for strategizing and problem solving.
Circumstances evolve where Darrow learns that all he’s been told and the life he’s lived are utter lies. The world above the surface is completely habitable and his “class” is considered the lowest, relegated to what is essentially slave labor. The rebels who confided in him have done so to enlist him in infiltrating the upper class of Golds via their Command School, beginning the liberation of the underclasses.
Why I’m crazy about this story
I knew from the first few pages that the design of this world was well thought out and intricate. While it takes place far into the future, its foundation is firmly entrenched in the human condition. Man’s need to be on top (or not the bottom) is the basic driver for most of what has occurred…on steroids. They’ve created a hierarchical society that makes absolute sense and is absolutely unfair.
At Command School, Darrow is at times amazingly clever and at others short-sighted, always in keeping with his character. The action is insane as nothing about the story is predictable other than human nature. The only times I wanted to put the book down was to fully absorb what I’d read. I loved the times when he made serious missteps as much as those times when he was the most astute and sure footed. The climax of the story had my pulse racing like crazy as no one seemed to be sacred, including Darrow. There are as many uplifting moments as there are heartbreaking ones. You’ll experience many emotions along the way.
The bottom line
I became so immersed in this world, with its parallels to our current existing societal issues, trying to keep up with each of the challenges Darrow faced. It was a connection I hated letting go for the moment. Don’t walk, run and get this book. Oh, and the characters may be young in age but this is so not your typical young adult fare. It’s one of the best and most exciting books of this ilk I’ve read in quite some time. This is the start of something special.
- Release Date: January 28, 2014
- Page Numbers: 400