Series: Red Rising #2
Published by Del Rey on 2015 January 6
Genres: Space Opera
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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 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.
It is without a doubt that Pierce Brown has successfully cemented his place on my favorite authors’ list with this Red Rising sequel. Before picking up the Golden Son, there was this gnawing fear that the awesome Red Rising that I’ve read in late 2013 was just a product of a wonderful dream. To be honest, it took a lot of courage for me to pick up this book because there’s always the possibility that it has been infected with the Second Book Syndrome. Thankfully, Pierce Brown has lots of tricks up his sleeve to ensure that Golden Son will outdo its predecessor.
Golden Son started two years after the events in Red Rising. Now, we see Darrow as one of the Peerless Scarred grudgingly serving the house of his enemy, Nero Au Augustus. Though one may think that his path to revenge is now easier compared to the ordeals that he had to go through in Book 1, that’s not the case in Golden Son. Darrow is further immersed in the world of Gold where treachery, violence, and sinister machinations are part of the culture. It’s obviously a scary world to live in but what’s scarier is the fact that Darrow is at war with himself because the lines between I-am-a-Red and I-am-a-Gold is becoming very blurry. On one hand, Darrow infiltrated the Gold society in order to avenge his wife and to better the lives of his fellow Reds. On the other hand, Darrow also realized that his most trusted friends and followers, and even the new love of his life are all Golds. So what’s a conflicted hero going to do?
As if conflicting emotions were not enough, Darrow finds himself succumbing to his hubris at times (bloodydamn, it always terrifies me when he lets his hubris get the better of himself), pushing the people he needs on his side, and ultimately coming to a conclusion that avenging his wife and bettering the lives of the Red are only child’s play compared to what really needs to be done…that is to tear down the whole sick Caste-esque system of the society and bring about a new one. I was seriously amazed that he managed to hold it all in while he’s busy hatching plans to destroy Nero’s enemies and Nero himself. But what’s more amazing is that the whole story was carefully laid out that even if we’re reading from Darrow’s POV, there are still some things that he did that managed to surprise the hell out of me. It’s like there’s a “behind-the-scenes” within the story that the delivery of the plot twists merits a bloodydamn exaltation.
The well-deserved as well as the painful deaths in book 1 were all compensated with Pierce Brown introducing new unforgettable characters in the Golden Son. Back stories of some old characters were also revealed that made me understand them more. In this world created by Pierce Brown, there’s no black and white especially when it comes to our characters.
Political maneuverings aside, the fight scenes were not only stunning but stirring and felt like every character is in a death and life situation. Unlike in the first book wherein some readers took issue with the fact that Darrow seemed like an invincible hero, the Golden Son is set to ruin your day in the most positive way (does this even make sense?). Instead of giving you a sense of security, this book is all about bringing out the worst emotions in you…that sense of dread, anxiety, bitterness, and pain.
And that ending…why? Why? WHY?! If only I had an inkling that things would end up that way, I would’ve procrastinated in reading this book until this year’s last quarter. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll have a good night’s sleep for months to come since I’m sure that I’ll always find myself thinking what will happen next.
Overall, the Golden Son amazed me in explosive proportions… so much so that it hurts.