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.
So when I first dove into the book I was a little taken by surprise just because it’s not what I was expecting. I was under the impression that it was a New Adult novel, so I was confused when our main character stated that he was a mere 16 years old. I’m a fan of young characters, so that was a plus to me, but it definitely made the thought processes of the characters much younger and the perspective infinitely younger. Again, not a bad thing unless you were expecting the perspective of the book to be from a 40-year old man.
Going back to my Fahrenheit 451 meets Maze Runner description — I say these two novels because of the themes involved and the writing style. I get a lot of Bradbury feels in the style that Brown used; it’s very fast and a little chunky but pieces together into a relatable narrator. Brown also seems to draw from Bradbury’s dystopian future where people are essentially terrible because we just keep growing off our own terribleness. I then mentioned Maze Runner because of the plot itself. A bunch of ruthless teenagers are thrown into an inescapable game-setting with very little context on the why and how parts of the challenge.
Book report summary aside, I really enjoyed this novel.
The characters were a little distant, still relatable in many ways but just felt a little detached. If you look at it from the sense that they’re the prime portion of the population and have little regard for anything except their personal gain, it makes total sense so it’s not so much a complaint as a statement that not everyone will enjoy the characters.
One thing about our main character, Darrow, though, is his poor ability to grieve. It seems like things just happen to him, and he acknowledges each thing as it happens, but then it seems as if Brown will sporadically bring up those traumas in strange situations simply to create sympathy for Darrow. His relationship with his own past just seemed very fabricated and surface-level, even for a 16- to 18-year old boy.
That is really the only complaint I have about this book. Brown creates an excellent sense of space with a vivid and brutal landscape, there’s such high stakes for all the characters, and the themes and messages driving each part of the story are thought-provoking. In all, I give this book two thumbs up and would really encourage anyone to read this book if only for the Bradbury-eske message.
I’m also interested in what you guys had to think about the novel, if you did or didn’t like it, so please let me know down below!
Thanks for reading,