Golden Son

Golden Son

Title: Golden Son

Author: Pierce Brown

Series: Red Rising Saga, #2

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: January 8th 2015


Five Stars

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

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.”

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.

“I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind—how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.”

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.

…The Characters

“To free them, to protect them, we must be savages. So give me evil. Give me darkness. Make me the bloodydamn devil if we can bring even the faintest ray of light.”

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.

“They say a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. They made no mention of the heart.”

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.

“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair.”

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.

…The Setting

“That’s what Society does—spread the blame so there is no villain, so it’s futile to even begin to find a villain, to find justice. It’s just machinery. Processes.”

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.

23 thoughts on “Golden Son

  1. Actually love the sound of the politics in this series. The fact that there’s more in this one and that it has no problem in pace and action is a huge selling point. The world-building also sounds so cool and original. You’ve definitely got me craving to start this series ASAP. Hopefully the next books will keep this up! 😀 Great review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVED this book! I enjoyed the fact that Darrow wasn’t perfect. He definitely made a lot of mistakes, but he learned from them and came back stronger in his own way. I liked the inner conflict he often felt because of who he was and what he was doing, but also with the fact that he enjoyed what he was doing to a certain extent.
    I definitely agree about Eo – I feel there needs to be something more in there about her character to really connect us to her? Because I feel like Darrow has really outgrown Eo in a lot of aspects through what he has been through and what he has done.
    Can I also just mention the ending :-O I basically stared at my kindle for about 20 minutes before actually moving! Like, what did I just read??

    Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really good, and I’ve loved Darrow’s character development throughout the whole series because he makes mistakes and it makes him more realistic and more human as well. He’s not one of those perfect characters where everything he does turns out OK (I think that would be a little boring.)
      I’ve never really been a fan of Eo’s character. I mean, it seemed like she was just introduced to move Darrow’s character out of the mines and into the rebellion and in my mind that seemed like a waste of a character you know?
      Oh I completely get what you mean! I was so shocked the first time I read it and even though I knew it was coming this time around I was still just as surprised! 😀
      Thanks so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I love that Brown didn’t follow that typical YA trope and actually got his characters to learn something along the way.
        I felt the same, but I also felt that Eo was an unlikeable character in many ways, even though we only get snippets here and there of what she was really like 🤷‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it made his characters and his books stand out so much because in my mind they were leagues apart from the same old typical YA stories we sometimes get.
        What I liked in this series was that even though in the beginning Darrow saw Eo as perfect he eventually saw past that and saw her flaws too. In a way those flaws made her character more likeable to me as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Mustang! She was one of may favourites too ❤
    I only read the first book, and planning to continue with the series in Feb/March.
    Nice review 🙂 Kinda just want to drop everything and read these ones instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s a brilliant character, and I think it’s safe to say that she’ll remain a favourite of yours throughout the series if you’ve only read Red Rising.
      Thanks, and when it comes to these books I’d recommend making sure you have enough time to read Golden Son and Morning Star, because when you finish Golden Son you won’t want to wait before picking up Morning Star! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve mentioned countless time how much I love this series already, so, no surprise that I adore Golden Son. I remember being a alienated by the intense strategy and war talk of the fleets and such, but in the end I only remember the book as a whole and the shocking ending. I don’t think there will ever be a time where that won’t hurt like hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely not a surprise, and considering how much I enjoyed Red Rising it probably wasn’t a surprise that I rated this one five stars right? 🙂
      Yeah the world building in this book was leagues away from the institute in the first book, but the whole story was just incredible I was swept Asa by the action before too long. Also I get what you mean about the ending, honestly that cliff-hanger hurt my heart!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay so I didn’t actually read your review because I’m only halfway through Golden Son at the moment and don’t want spoilers but based off your star rating I’m even more excited than before to finally finish it!!! I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about the Red Rising series until last year but once I did and I started reading them it’s just totally swept me away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s definitely a wise choice. I tried to avoid spoilers for Golden Son in this review but I think part of the fun of reading, especially these books, is going in as blind as possible with no idea of what will happen next. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll love this book as much as I did Angela, and yeah I get what you mean. I can’t believe it took me so long to get back into this series again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Really glad you enjoyed this one! Golden Son is my favorite of the series so far (I’m just about to pick up Iron Gold), partially because of that intense ending. I haven’t re-read any of these books yet, but your reviews of this series make me confident that I’ll like them just as much the second time when I get around to it. And in the meantime… Iron Gold! I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts on that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, oh for me Morning Star is my favourite of the series. I’ve just finished Iron Gold and as much as I enjoyed it Morning Star was still that little bit better for me. 🙂
      God the ending for this book was intense, the second I finished it I needed to jump straight into Morning Star because I couldn’t leave it on that cliffhanger. I’m sure you will, I feel like there’s something about these books that no matter how many times you end up rereading them they’re just as amazing as the first time you picked them up.
      Thanks, I’m hoping to have a review up for Iron Gold within the next week or so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mustang is actually the nickname of the character, but it’s used more than her real name, in the first three books at least, so I don’t see her as anything else you know? 😀 Ohh, I really hope you enjoy Red Rising then Dani, and that you’re able to get around to it soon. This has quickly become a favourite series of mine so I’ll be really interested to see what you think of it as well. 🙂 ❤


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