Title: Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Saga, #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: January 8th 2015
Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind’s last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Reds were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.
In Red Rising, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people.
Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It’s a journey that will take him further than he’s ever been before—but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Two years after Darrow accepted patronage from the ArchGovernor of Mars he has become nothing more than a sword for the man who killed his wife. His friends have left him, Mustang to Luna to work for the Sovereign and Sevro and his Howlers to Pluto on some obscure mission, but Darrow is so close to earning his own fleet, close to making Eo’s dream a reality. Until he is beaten in battle by Karnus au Bellona and Darrow ends up not only losing his ships and the lives of hundreds of low colours under his command, but his favour with the ArchGovernor.
While Red Rising was a brilliant book it had a slow start and it took me a while to get into the story, Golden Son however jumps right into the action and stays there. There were some new characters, both allies and enemies, introduced at the beginning of Golden Son but their development didn’t slow down the story. Everything I loved about the first book was in the second, but this time it didn’t take 100 pages for the plot to pick up pace.
Knowing he won’t survive long once the ArchGovernor trades his contract, that the Bellona’s will finally take their revenge, Darrow starts making plans. He allies himself with old enemies and friends but soon finds another path to follow. His goal is simple; play the ArchGovernor against the Bellona’s, the Sovereign against the ArchGovernor, Gold against Gold. Darrow aims to start a civil war, and tear apart the Golds society at the seams.
In the two years between the end of Red Rising and the start of this book a lot has changed for Darrow, and there was much more at stake in Golden Son. As much as there was death and danger in the Institute that was just a game but now in Golden Son it’s very real, the story – Darrow’s choices and actions – felt a lot more deadly as he prepares to fight for war.
Darrow is still incredibly intelligent and a natural leader, at times in Golden Son it seems like he is regarded as more of a God than a man, and though he loses his way he comes back even stronger for it. However having to hide the truth of his heritage, that he was born Red, from all his closest friends means he keeps the people he should hold close at arm’s length and there are only so many secrets they are willing to accept Darrow keeping from them.
Mustang is one of my favourite characters in this trilogy. She doesn’t back down and she refuses to apologise for her actions when she has done nothing wrong except hurt Darrow’s pride. She’s not dependent on Darrow either, Mustang isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with the Reaper when needed but when the two of them work together they are an incredible and unbeatable team. The relationship between Darrow and Mustang is one of equals, Mustang doesn’t need Darrow to protect her and Darrow doesn’t need Mustang to navigate the world and the politics of the Golds.
One of the main issues I had with Red Rising was Eo’s character, and it’s not something that I felt improved too much in this book. Brown can write good female characters, Mustang is incredible and Victra was really well developed too, however Eo still feels like nothing more than a plot device to further Darrow’s character. When he falters it’s Eo memory and her dream that push him forwards.
Most of Darrow’s strength comes from the friends he has by his side; Sevro and his Howlers who would follow Darrow to the ends of the world, Mustang, Victra who is a true ally despite her family loyalties, Roque, Lorn au Arcos. Darrow has a way of making people loyal to him, making his friends his family. The friendship Darrow has with Roque started off firm, but the more secrets Darrow kept and the more plans he makes without fully trusting Roque with the details, started slowly fracturing that friendship.
Golden Son conquers a whole different world, and we see more of the world outside of Mars in this book as well. In Red Rising Darrow experienced only a small fraction of the Gold’s society, but now, out of the institute and leading a fleet he realises the games they played there are nothing compared to how the Golds manoeuvre their pawns in the real world. There was a lot more politics to wrap my head around in Golden Son; the games Darrow and his fellow Golds played in the institute are played on a much wider scale in the real world between the , the ArchGovernor and the Bellona’s, with more lives depending on those politics.
Golden Son was a book I enjoyed a lot more re-reading it, and going straight from the first book to the second meant I was able to remember more of the story and the characters. It doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome, if anything it was even better than Red Rising, and the ending was just as shocking despite me knowing it was coming. Now, I can’t wait to dive into Morning Star.
What did you think of Golden Son? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.