Take a pinch of Hunger Games, add a dash of Game Of Thrones, stir in some Divergent, and ship the entire concoction to the planet Mars and you get the idea of the setting for this novel. Darrow, a lowBorn Red (all citizens are classified by color, from the peasants right up to royalty), is a miner in search of the element Helium 3, the substance that makes terraforming planets, specifically Mars, possible.
Darrow's wife, Eo, has grand designs for a better life for the slaves down in the mines, becomes rebellious and is ultimately hanged by the upper class Golds for her actions. Darrow follows as he breaks rules as well, being hanged as well.
Upon waking later, Darrow learns he has survived the execution with the help of the group Sons Of Ares, bent on overthrowing the current class structure, as it becomes apparent that the Red slaves have been kept in the mines permanently, unaware that Mars has been terraformed and thriving for decades. What follows is Darrow's transformation (physically) into a Gold as he infiltrates the Society and becomes part of the test to survive and conquer all the other incoming Golds as they are divided up into houses after being drafted by said houses.
This is one of the more original novels I've read in a while. The author takes parts from many past tales and weaves them together very well, making for an enjoyable read that paces really well. Being a huge science fiction fan, I love that element that Brown brings into this story. This really sets up for many tales that can branch out from this origin. I also love the revenge tale that permeates throughout the story as Darrow is focused almost solely on getting even for Eo's death. I will be tackling the next book in this series very soon.