Published by Del Rey on Jan 6, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
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 from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.
A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It took me a long, long time to write a review for this book because it left me with such a book hangover. It was very, very good, and it was so easy to get caught up in the story. But the ending was just crushing. Really good. But crushing.
Golden Son picks up two years after Red Rising ended. Darrow is just finishing up at the Academy, which
is sort of like the Institute from the first book, only with space ships. And like the Institute, the Academy isn’t lessons in class so much as it is war games where lots of people die. But Darrow’s time at the Academy is over pretty quick, and it mostly serves as a way to open the book with a lot of drama and set up the rivalry between Darrow and the Bellona family.
The Bellona family still wants Darrow dead, and meanwhile Darrow’s place in the Augustus family is tenuous because of some mistakes he made at the Academy. Basically the first chunk of this book is Darrow messing up and everybody getting the better of him. Which is awesome because it really makes the villains easy to hate. And it was really rewarding once Darrow started to fight back.
The stakes are definitely higher in this book because Darrow isn’t in school, and everything he does has major implications across the whole solar system. Once again, the battle scenes in the book are really well written, and the pacing is fast. The book doesn’t let you settle. The minute you think you know what’s going to on, something crazy happens.
While the plot is exciting, the strength if the book is really the characters. Most of the old characters from Red Rising come back, although it takes a while for some of them to make an appearance. There are some new ones that also make a big impact. I especially liked Victra. I wasn’t sure about her at first, because she wasn’t doing much except throwing herself at Darrow. But the more I saw of her the more the more I liked, and her relationship with Darrow was really sweet. Roque has a very interesting character arc through this book, and I’ll be interested to see how his character plays out in the next installment.
Sevro is still my favorite character in this series. I love that he’s not just a funny sidekick. In this book you get to see some more vulnerable sides of him, and learn more about his past. Of course he’s still the smartass he was in Red Rising. He always adds some much-needed levity, because most of the plot is pretty dour.
Darrow is still dead set on his mission to bring down the Society from the inside, and it’s causing a lot of problems between him and Mustang, who doesn’t understand his motivation. I really like the romance between them. It’s not sappy, and it doesn’t take over the plot. And the arc of their relationship throughout the book is really exciting, and nail-biting by the end as it seems Darrow is going to reveal the truth about his background.
Golden Son was engrossing, and a great mix of politics, epic, battles, and romance. I loved all the shifting allegiances, and how Darrow played people against each other. While the end was foreshadowed pretty well, it still felt sort of abrupt. Like it just stops in the middle of the action. Even so, I’d give this book four stars. I can’t wait for the next one!!