Darrow is a Hell Diver. He is one of the elite on the mining station of Mars who have been sent as an advance team to prepare the Red Planet for human habitation. When he risks his life to boost his team’s prospects at winning the Laurel, which translates into better and more abundant rations, he is surprised, but not overly upset when he finds out that the competition is rigged. The powers that control the lives of the miners manipulate and suppress the colony for their own purposes. What finally gets Darrow’s attention, though, is the unjust execution of a loved one. A single act of rebellion launches his life into a new trajectory in which he must erase all traces of his former life and hide in plain sight as a rebel against the political and social elite. Physically and mentally enhanced so that he can compete among the sons and daughters of Mars’ elite, he fights to secure his place among the top commanders of the Mars forces so that as a mole in the governing body’s closed society, he can undermine the planet’s governing system. Darrow is thrown into a world of murder, torture, hunger, rape and deception as he and his fellow “students” compete to survive the bloodiest, most maddeningly unfair competition in Young Adult fiction I’ve read in a long time.
This heavily hyped futuristic story set on Mars combines the best and most gruesome parts of The Hunger Games, while also taking the “school” competition to a whole new level. The violence and raw aggressiveness of the plot, the setting, and the characters themselves, make this dystopian novel appropriate for older teens only.
Violence – VVV
Sex – SSS
Appropriate for High School age readers.