Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son (Red Rising, Book #2)
by Pierce Brown
Release Date: January 6th 2015
2015 Del Rey
Kindle Edition; 430 Pages
ISBN: 978-0345539823
Genre: Fiction / Science-Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher

5 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed Golden Son even more than Red Rising for a variety of reasons: the writing was quite a bit stronger; the characters were more developed, especially the female ones; and the action was considerably higher, going from one thing to another, where I was actually looking forward to those peaceful moments so I could catch my own breath.  I liked the descriptions of the Gold's political system explained through the action and consequences of the events as it made it much more interesting, and I liked learning more about the different types of colours as I find the whole concept fascinating.

First of all, I have an impossible liking for Darrow, no matter what he does.  And he does plenty in this book.  What I especially like about him is that he is not perfect, he makes a lot of mistakes and pays for them quite dearly, something we learn pretty much in the first two chapters.  And yet, he is one of those characters that you know will eventually succeed at what he does next, it's just the anxiety that builds up waiting for what he is going to do next as the author is very skillful at hiding Darrow's actual thoughts and plans until they actually happen - it's definitely a great way to build tension and wonder what will happen next to your favourite characters.  And I always look forward to the moment when Darrow comes out on top as it's so cool, even if he just got his ass whooped a couple of pages previously.  In Red Rising, Darrow was much colder than the one we see in this book, and I definitely liked how his character developed from beginning to end as it made you empathize wholeheartedly with the situations he ended up in as well as some of the problems he had with some of his friends, and you couldn't help but root for him or want to shake him at times.  Otherwise he would seem like a cold-hearted beast rather than the Darrow who is fighting for equality and freedom for all.  I especially liked the moment he promoted a Blue to pilot and ordered a whole set of colours to defeat the Golds on the ship as it showed his humanity and what he was fighting for to those lower colours as well as to his friends.  It also showed his friends who exactly he was as a person.  Quite a moment!  However, all characters have their flaws, and I really, really, really wished that Darrow would listen to his friends a bit more and take their advice as he could so easily avoid some problems if he did.

The plot in this one is quite different than in the first book, but it really needed the set-up of Red Rising to work the way it did.  First of all, the action is so much more explosive right from the beginning.  I thought Darrow would be almost invincible, but the author set me right about that idea right from the beginning and I didn't know what to think after that.  Packed with interesting historical tidbits about the foundation of the current political situation, the book is full of action-packed sequences, politics, space warfare (reminds me of my old Atari games), and some ground warfare as well.  I won't pretend to understand all of the technological stuff that was used in here, but it was fun to read about irregardless. And the twists and turns, like the first book, are plenty, to the point where I didn't know who to trust anymore. Like I said before, because some of the action was so intense, it was nice to have those breaks once in a while in order to take a breath before being plunged right back into the action.  

And to be honest, I was planning on giving this book a four-star rating until the last chapter when I was blown away by a humdinger of an ending.  Considering the twists and turns that had been happening throughout the book, I should have seen something coming, but I didn't.  I've already read Morning Star, so I know what happens next, but the only reason I read the last book so quickly is because of the ending as I just had to know what happened.   And I was shocked to realize how much I liked a lot of the characters, something I understand when the big twist happened at the end, wondering exactly when these people broke through that barrier and made me empathize with their situations as well.  Betrayal at its best, folks!!

Golden Son was on a whole other level than Red Rising and I had really enjoyed reading that one too. I felt the characters were much more developed in this one, especially the women who were strong, powerful, and mighty (and maybe a bit scary?) The plot was crazy, full of non-stop action, the type where you shake your head and wonder how that just happened crazy, but I loved all of it.  I have developed a huge fondness for Sevro and love the friendship that is developing between Darrow and Sevro, but I have also taken a huge liking to Ragnar as well. If you like science-fiction, great action, awesome twists and turns, and endings that will catch you off guard, then you will definitely enjoy this book, although I do recommend that you read from the beginning in order to understand Darrow's motivations.