Although immediately gripping the reader's interest and empathy, this story wearies with its violence. Page after page require Darrow to fight for his life and future in a game that is cruelly rigged to ensure that he is not the winner. Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in a color-coded society set well in the future. The Reds live a subsistence existence entirely below the planet surface, believing they are sacrificing so that humans will once again be able to live on the surface. Darrow's father and his wife believed they deserved better. When Darrow is shown that not only are humans already living above, they are living lives of luxury, rebels train Darrow to infiltrate the Golds to pave the way for equality. Although the constant strife and impossible situation wear on Darrow, he remains dedicated to his purpose...in a rather surprising, perhaps to some, despicable way. Friendship, loyalty, commitment, fair-mindedness, and appreciation for freedom are hallmarks celebrated by this epic read.
Gateway Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17