When I received an ARC from NetGalley for this debut novel, it came with the promise that if I loved The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, I would love this book. To be honest, I was not one of those crazy fans of The Hunger Games (but I live with a couple). I liked the first book, but it did not compel me to read the other two. I haven’t read Ender’s Game. But, I have become much more interested in dystopian fiction, and I’m eager to read books that embrace broader topics. Pierce Brown brings us (literally and figuratively) out of this world — and I’m not just talking about his bio photo, either.
Take a moment here if you feel the need to read the publisher’s summary on amazon. Before I read the book, I only read that one teaser, nothing else. I had a tough time getting through the beginning, and ended up closing the book, and waiting a day before I started it over. I was in a better frame of mind (meaning, able to believe in life on Mars, and all that it implies) the next time I picked up the book, and I didn’t stop until I absolutely had to (sleep, eat, crying children, work, etc.).
Pierce Brown creates a vast, detailed, and awe-inspiring setting for this novel. We start with the concept that there is life on other planets, and they have long histories, cultures and class systems. The characters range from ordinary to completely bizarre, but they are each endowed with traits that make them human on some level. Our hero, Darrow, has (in terms of my generation) become bionic. (ok, bionic cubed, or on steroids or something). He has been completely reimagined to fit the gold-standard in this color-coded world. He has been sent to spark a revolution. We root for him when he is tested, and cheer for him in victory; even when some battles seem a little too easily won. This is the story we want to read, and probably, see on screen. It’s the tale of the worker who is brought low, only to rise up and astonishing triumph.
I am always interested in author debuts, and the accompanying feeling of having “discovered” someone who may soon become famous. I can’t say I discovered Pierce Brown, but I will pass his name on to you, and take credit when nobody’s looking. Check this book out. I’ll be here, waiting for the next one.