My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This sequel brilliantly avoids the pitfalls of sophomore novels by not trying to recreate the first novel of its series, Red Rising, which stands as one of the best debut novels of 2014. This installment is better leaving all comparisons to The Hunger Games far behind as the solar system and scope of protagonist Darrow Andromedus expands to the bursting point.
The first book saw Darrow, born of the lowest caste–Red–in a strictly enforced, and genetically sustained multi-tier class system, lose his wife to her dreams of freedom for all. He underwent drastic surgery and training to pose as one of the highest caste, a Gold, with full intent to embed into Gold society and then to break it.
With non-stop action and picking up minutes after the end of the first book, this continuation of the tale not only shakes the foundation of the oppressive situation on terraformed Mars, but also starts a tsunami through the entire solar system’s Golden society. Darrow has become a Golden Hero, but still needs to enact the change for which his wife sacrificed her life. The stakes are high and threaten to overwhelm friend and foe, high-caste and low-color alike.
Darrow is Icarus, the boy daring fly ever closer to the destructive forces which hold the solar system together.
This series has heart and earnestness as its assets. The ideas of friendship, family, loyalty, justice, and honesty take on very real dimensions with consequences.
“Roque,” I call to him plaintively.
“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair,” he says, turning to glance over his shoulder. “We’ll talk again soon.”
I watch him go, feeling a small bit of hope warm me.
This book and series are highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]