A not-so-interesting take on Mars


Aelise Gagliano

In “Red Rising,” protagonist Darrow, a member of the lowest social class on Mars, must destroy his society’s unfair social system no matter the cost in a futuristic dystopian. Ex Libris, the Mill’s book club, will meet after school on Dec. 7 in the Media Center to discuss “Red Rising” along with “The Weight of Feathers” and “Bone Gap.”

Dana Gould, Staff Writer

In a futuristic society on Mars, a complicated color-coded social system determines the fate of every man, woman, and child. “Red Rising” provides a new perspective of life on Mars and the results of colonizing the red planet. While most Martian novels provide details about the discovery and foundation of Mars, this book provides details of a dystopian society set on a foreign planet.

Darrow is a sixteen-year-old Red, the lowest caste in the social system on Mars. He and his fellow Reds work as miners, trying desperately to make the surface of Mars habitable for future generations.

Darrow soon discovers that his entire life is based upon lies. The surface of Mars has been habitable for years instead of a planet in the midst of terraforming as the Reds have always been told. Sprawling, thriving cities cover Mars’ surface and provide a life of luxury for the upper class members of society. The Golds, the ruling higher class of this society, live on the surface of Mars, and continue to feed the Reds lies of terraforming and a better life for their children. These lower class Reds actually work unknowingly as their slaves.

It is really just a repeat of  ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ with a different setting. ”

— Staff Writer Dana Gould

A terrorist organization called the Sons of Ares confronts Darrow and gives him a mission to infiltrate the Institute, an academy for the Gold class. In order to gain entrance to the Institute, Darrow must convince everyone at the academy that he is just another Gold searching for power in this futuristic society.

Fueled by the need for justice and memories of lost love, Darrow must infiltrate and destroy the society that has lied to him and his people for so long, no matter the cost.

This story has the potential to be a thrilling novel about one of the unknown planets waiting to be colonized, but falls flat once those ideas are actually put into words. The plot on the back cover of the book seems interesting and well-thought out, but simply does not translate over to the book itself.

The world-building occurs too quickly, so that the reader does not have a full understanding of what has occurred or of events that will occur later in the story. Overall, everything that occurs in the book feels rushed as additional conflicts are added for Darrow to overcome. Had the plot focused on fewer actions, the story would move more smoothly and the plot would make more sense. It seems like the author gets so caught up with all of the smaller events taking place, that he forgets to develop the story as a whole.

It is not solely the plot that fails its expectations as the writing style is choppy and staccato. Many of the transitions are very messy, giving the reader the appearance that each chapter is an individual story as opposed to a novel. There is also very little variety in the sentence types and structures. The majority of the sentences used in this book are simple sentences with makes it difficult for the story to blend together.

Character development is yet another issue with this book as the majority of the characters do not have a chance for the audience to know them. The majority of the characters introduced in this story are instantly killed off or introduced for a short time before they are never seen again which makes character development difficult to understand.

“Red Rising” is listed as a science fiction novel, when in reality it is a dystopian conflict set on Mars. The actual setting has little to do with plot, which will come as a disappointment to people looking for a martian novel.

The plot may also seem very familiar as it is the plot of every dystopian novel. It is really just a repeat of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” with a different setting. For those people who have read decent dystopian novels, this book is not worthwhile. ‘Red Rising’ features the same story, with weaker characters and an incongruous plot and the only difference being that it is set on Mars.

While this book contains many negative aspects, it’s not dreadful and some people may really enjoy it. This could be a decent read for people who enjoy dystopian novels, but it is not for someone looking for a decent science fiction book about Mars. It is very difficult to become immersed in this story, as the plot is trying to do too many things at once and the characters are unrealistic and not relatable. Instead of leaving the reader wanting more, this book may steer people away from science fiction and dystopian novels for a while.