Among Sci-Fi, dystopian world-ending novels have always been my favorite, and Red Rain fits into this category...sort of. Believers have always been persecuted on Earth by United, the organization which rules everything with a heavy hand. Re-education camps and bland concrete buildings are the norm for Philadelphia, a young seventeen-year-old girl.
When her father is assigned to Mars on a secret scientific mission, Philadelphia is forced to leave him and stay with an Outsider family. But when a sudden turn of events brings Philli to the Mars base with her father, she stumbles upon doors she's not supposed to enter, and buried questions better left unasked. Most importantly, through the help of her friend, Cea, Philli rediscovers her brother, Ephesus, who had been given up for dead years ago. Armed with knowledge provided to her by Epehesus, Philadelphia must stop Dr. Nic from destroying Earth in an effort to overthrow United.
I found the plot very intriguing, though it left a few unanswered questions. It is never explained how or why Philadelphia was easily able to open unauthorized doors on the Mars base. This and a few other small inconsistencies brought up question marks in my head, but little else. Second, and more importantly, I almost felt as if this book were part one of a larger novel (Spoilers Ahead). Though Nick's plans were thwarted, and the lives of billions saved, the book ends with Philli and her family returning to the United, still submitting to the same religious persecution that they faced at the beginning of the book. It left me longing for a sequel in which the evil United is finally toppled. Still, this could have been intentional so that the author can raise another $2.99 from me when the sequel is released (And I would happily pay it!).
Overall, Red Rain is an excellent book for being self-published. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the plot sucked me in; I read the entire book in one sitting without so much as budging to eat - which is a rare occurrence. The price point is just right: 3 bucks is an easily justifiable purchase, and Smashwords offers the book in myriad formats (Including, to my delight, both my nook Touch and my Palm OS Centro). If you're a fan of Sci-Fi, or even if you rarely read the genre, like me, Red Rain is a 4.5 star book well worth the read.