Darrow's part of a hard-working clan who spend their difficult, short lives mining underground on Mars in order to make the planet above hospitable for future colonization.
So he's shocked to discover everything he knows is a lie - for one, that Mars aboveground and many, many other planets and moons have been successfully inhabited for a very long time - when he's given an opportunity to join the rebellion and try to change things.
Comparisons to the Hunger Games series is inevitable - a "game" between young people that leads to the victor's eventual success in politics and society. But this book stands on its own - I didn't feel it was reactionary or derivative of Suzanne Collins' series. It's a great action-adventure story, full of strategy and twists, espionage and doubletalk. It's easy to forget (as it is for the competitors) that there's more to life on Mars than what's happening inside the game.
The book ends in a place that made me say "REALLY? Really!" and the countdown for the second in the series has begun ("Golden Son" has a January release date).