Golden Son by Pierce Brown

December 24, 2014
Golden Son by Pierce BrownGolden Son by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #2
Also by this author: Red Rising
Published by Del Rey on January 6, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Also in this series: Red Rising

Thanks to Del Rey for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.   A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.   He must live for more.Advance praise for Golden Son   “Pierce Brown is a prodigy. As great as the first book of the Red Rising Trilogy is, Golden Son is even better. A wild ride full of suspense, intrigue, and serious ass-kicking bravado, it’s expertly written and emotionally engaging, with top-notch universe-building that begs for further exploration. I want more!”—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind   “The stakes are even higher than they were in Red Rising, and the twists and turns of the story are every bit as exciting. The jaw-dropper of an ending will leave readers hungry for the conclusion to Brown’s wholly original, completely thrilling saga.”—Booklist (starred review)   “Dramatic . . . the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment.”—Publishers Weekly   “Darrow is an assertive hero. . . . Comparisons to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones series are inevitable, for this tale has elements of both.”—Kirkus Reviews Praise for Pierce Brown’s Red Rising   “[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly   “[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today   “Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . [a] must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian epics.”—   “A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews   “Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down.”—Terry BrooksFrom the Hardcover edition.

Bloodydamn! This is one hell of a second book, it’s just as dark and deadly and addictive as Red Rising. This is turning out to be a hard review to write because I can’t stop thinking about the ending. I wouldn’t say it eclipses the rest of the book since the rest of it is what brought about the ending, but it certainly makes it harder for me to focus (in a good way). And just to give an early heads up, this is not a cleanly closed, happy rainbows type of ending.

The beginning definitely felt reminiscent of Enders Game, more so than anything in Red Rising. Darrow is entrenched in battle that will determine the course of the book. Since most of the battles in Red Rising were on the ground during their time at the Academy, the opening battle in space just felt different. I’m not saying that because it’s a negative point or even something unexpected (I mean, we knew he would be commanding a fleet). This book carried the strengths of the first book onward.

Once again, Darrow examines the cost of both life and the quality of life, the option of free will/choices for all people regardless of color in this visibly tiered society. Loyalty to friends, peers, society are all evaluated. One thing I love about this book and series is that living amongst the Golds humanizes them and gives Darrow a better understanding of why they are the way they are. While he may hate the choices they make in respect to the other classes, he now understands their logic. And he can see that Golds do not live the easy life that he thought they did when looking from the outside. They are not all purely evil (notice I said not all … there are some evil Golds out there. Some really evil Golds).

Darrow struggles a bit in this book as he tries to come to terms with Golds that he now sees as true friends, and yet knowing they don’t truly know him. How can a friendship work when such a huge part of who he is must remain a secret. And if they knew, could they still seem him as the person he is or will they see him as a traitor, as a Red that has deceived and manipulated them? His relationship with Mustang is complicated further as he struggles with memories of Eo and his commitment to her. He learns the importance of friendship, and not taking people for granted.

Readers who are bothered by books that end in the middle of action might be frustrated when they get to the final pages of this. But, personally, I loved it. And when the next book comes around, I’ll remember exactly how this ends, and I’m just counting down until I can read the final book in the trilogy.