What is it about the underdog that is so appealing? Why are there countless stories about the underdog succeeding against, by all accounts, a vastly superior being? From David and Goliath to the Ugly Duckling to Frodo Baggins, the underdog just feels right. We, as the audience, love the underdog because for many people we are just that. Under the thumb of someone else, or something else, and nothing is as wonderfully sweet as tackling the overbearing and winning.
Red Rising, the start of a series by Pierce Brown, has been floating around as the next big thing. In fact, right on the front cover, a declarative statement is emboldened: “Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.” Quite a bold statement. And yet, I am intrigued. My intense love of sci-fi often trumps any other thoughts of quality. The setting is an in-process terraformed Mars. There are people that are separated into color – of course denoting a kind of quality about them. The main character, Darrow, is a Red. It appears that the ruling class are Golds – I think it is no coincidence that that is quite close to Gods.
I hope that this is good. That I won’t roll my eyes too much at things that are obvious. But I probably will still enjoy it because the first page is far too intense. Darrow has somehow infiltrated a Golden camp and a Golden man is speaking to his younger brethren. He exclaims that they are the top tier, that the only way to achieve that is through blood: “Power must be claimed. Wealth, won. Rule, dominion, empire purchased with blood.” No better way to understand this series than through these words.
I think it’ll be a hell of a ride.