Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Published by Recorded Books on Jan 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Format: Audiobook from Purchased
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
This was a brutal book. Violent, but brilliant.
I’m very certain the only YA element is that the main character (and most others) are in their teens, but what they go through is definitely an adult hell. What they have to do is horrible, and nothing anyone should have to suffer, let alone a teenager. I’m not convinced this should be listed as a YA book, but regardless, the story is amazing.
The plot is divided into three different parts, each with a different focus and feel, but it’s the final section, the Institute ordeal that really stands out. I’ve seen it described as a “life-sized version of the game Risk” and that feels like the truest comparison.
I listened to the audiobook version, and it really enhanced the experience. The narration accent (Irish or Scottish, I’m not sure which) lent an addition element to the feel of the story. It lent an authenticity to the rolling hills of the school ground, and Darrow’s signature “Bloody Damn” curse. It wasn’t just the accent though, there was an intensity and feel to the narration that fit the story perfectly.
Overall, I know it’s almost impossible to describe how much and why I loved this story. It was exciting and thrilling while being horrific and appalling in its violence. It’s a story you need to experience yourself to fully understand.