by Pierce Brown
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Blood. Glory. Power.
Trust. Lies. Betrayal.
Loyalty. Deception. DEATH.
All in the name of the game. All to become a gold. But it’s so much more than that. I don’t quite know when I decided to rate this book thusly, but what I do know is that putting anything lower than those five stars made me feel edgy and as if I was doing the book an injustice. For much of the story I felt like I was playing catch-up where other people seemed to be getting it from the beginning. It starts out excellent, giving us an insight to the lowest of the lows’ lives. And then, everything changes.
A young girl’s dream becomes a necessity-a reality that needs to come to pass. And the person who is responsible for making that dream, that vision, happen…is Darrow. And I
I was not raised in palaces. I did not ride horses through meadows and eat meals of hummingbird tongues. I was forged in the bowels of this hard world. Sharpened by hate. Strengthened by love.
He is wrong.
None of them will survive.
As mentioned above, I was kind of confused as to what was going on after Darrow left the reds’ territory. I was following, albeit slowly. This book had a manner of speak that wasn’t simple, but was innovative and intriguing all the same. When we first meet Darrow, he is a helldiver, responsible for the job that will build Mars into a place where the people of earth can make it their home….but what if this is all for naught? What if the so called ‘truths’ Darrow and his fellow inhabitants have been fed their whole lives is a lie and Mars is already ready for people of Earth and the golds (the highest rank and governing power) are just using them as their little worker drones and slaves?
“You repeat the same damn points,” I say bitterly. “You think a dream is worth dying for. I say it’s better to live on our knees.”
Well, Darrow’s wife has an answer to that. She has a vision that there is more to life than slaving away and putting lives in danger for no reason. She wants Darrow to aim higher and to become someone that people can follow, someone people would look up to. She wants him to live to his full potential-but he wants none of this. He loves his wife so much it envelops his heart and soul, but he believes in order and doing what you’re told-then they will just leave him be and let him and his family live their lives. Until the day he and his wife are sentenced to 50 lashes…and his wife is killed for an act of rebellion.
We grew together, and now are grown. In her eyes, I see my heart. In her breath, I hear my soul. She is my land. She is my kin. My love.
Thus begins Darrow’s journey to live out Eeo’s dream. He is drowning in his sorrow, so heartbroken and more fit to pass away than to live a day without her. But soon he is recruited and made to pass for a gold-he will infiltrate the school and fight to become a leader of the golds (and essentially every caste and color) as a red disguised as a gold.
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”
What comes from the trials of Darrow to become a gold are horrifying, barbaric, off-the-grid crazy and while at first I found myself cringing, I started to become more and more engrossed with each passing trial and chapter. I’m not going to lie-at some point, and I’m not sure when, one of the trials became a game of sorts about surviving in the wild while duking it out with other tribes. I didn’t notice it was a game at first, a survival-of-the-fittest of some sort-I must have been snoozing when it was announced they were to do so-whoops, my bad. Obviously if you put a large group of head-strong golds that are fierce, genius, brutish, you will see dissension in the group and, inevitably, they will split. These separate groups are tribes, and they are all students fighting to win, to become number one.
“Look into yourself, Darrow, and you’ll realize that you are a good man who will have to do bad things.”
My hands are unscarred and feel strange when I clench them till the knuckles turn that familiar shade of white.
“See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?”
The gruesome and grisly trials Darrow encounters made me purse my lips and cringe on more than one occasion-hell, 50% of the book I would say I was making a face of revulsion in one way or another. At one point, he is forced to kill a kid to pass a trial in a hand-to-hand fight to the death-only one can leave the room. Effed up, right?
I am the reaper and death is my shadow.
I loved Darrow. He was strong, foolhardy, passionate, fierce, and he loved with all his heart. But, more than that, he made mistakes. He ran into traps, he trusted those he shouldn’t have, he let people do things he shouldn’t-and he lied. I wasn’t sure where the story was going, if I’m being honest. I would sit there and think, is this about his rise to power only to become like the evil golds he so despises? Will he actually become one of them? He hates the golds, he hates them with every ounce of his soul-for they were the ones who tied the noose around his wife’s neck and made him watch…but what happens when he finds true friends in the ‘game’? Will he ever be able to hurt any of them when he rises to power as a red? And, worst of all, what if he becomes as heartless and soulless as the gold bastards he is trying to overthrow? What then?
Oh, I want to accept. But then I would have to let the Proctors beat me. I’d have to let this little whorefart win and let his father smile and feel pride. I’d have to watch that smug smile spread across his bloodydamn face. Slag that. They’ll feel pain.
Well, I can assure you, he damn well does become a monster for some time. I liked it. I liked questioning what he was going to do next-for he was the boy who had to hide behind a facade as a gold, but was the red at heart who helped everyone as much as he could, only to get a taste of the power and lose himself to the game, to becoming number one….was this what his dear wife, Eeo, would have wanted for him?
I know I am impetuous. Rash. I process that. And I am full of many things-passion, regret, guilt, sorrow, longing, rage. At many times they rule me, but not now. Not here.
I could go on and on and on and on because I still find myself reeling on what actually happened. So many lies and betrayals and new relationships formed…and just as many stabs in the back. I loved seeing him try and find the balance between barbarics and necessity/need and power for survival, but also to possibly win the top spot everyone so covets. Anyway, I think it goes without saying that I got enough blood, guts, animal guts, and bone crushing to last me for a bit…but it was awesome. I don’t know when this went from a 4, to a 3, all the way up to a 5, but it fluctuated just as I’m saying and, let me tell you, I wouldn’t change a bloodydamn thing.