First read of the year: the Golden Son

Thrilling. Gripping. Jaw-droppingly good. Pierce Brown’s Golden Son is a deliciously wild ride.

FATE FAVORS THE BOLD AND THE CUNNING. 

In the second installment of Red Rising trilogy, Darrow is drawn further and further into the lies and cruelty that rules the solar system. He is destined to break the chains and free the reds, his kin toiling in the mines of Mars. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hell-bent on revenge for the death of his wife and the torment of his family. The wolf that makes a mistake, leaving to his downfall in the eyes of the society and an army of Bellona vultures waiting to devour him whole. The Sons of Ares, the secretive organization working to bring the society down are in complete disarray, their leader sends Darrow on a suicide mission on Luna. Instead, Darrow ignites a civil war.

Red Rising was an utterly stunning debut, a true tour-de-force of imagination. In the Golden Son the story only gets better. Darrow was supposed to be the 5th column, the man that would erode the society from within, and yet, he is not the man with the plan. He finds himself isolated from the Sons of Ares and is forced to learn to swim on his own and ending up in a precarious position due to his blood feud with the Bellona family. It’s an eye for an eye world, and Darrow is on Bellona’s wanted list for the death of their dearly beloved son, whom Darrow had to kill in book one.

The Golden Son is a cocktail of revenge, rivalry and violence. It is also a book that showcases intricate character development. Darrow is a flawed hero fighting for a just cause. On the outside, Darrow is a ruthless warrior born to conquer. His fight for power sows death, and death begets death, begets death… He doesn’t know whom to trust, he doesn’t want to bring people closer, because there’s only hurt and pain that would await them.  Mustang, the “Gold” that Darrow has fallen in love with is the daughter of the man that is responsible for the death of Darrow’s wife Eo, and yet, she also happens to be the person that made Darrow believe the Golds can change. The lone wolf on a mission circumstances torture Darrow and some of his choices regarding his friends will have disastrous consequences.

 Red Rising sequel tests the boundaries of personal strength, friendship, war-time morality.  Golds are blond, brilliant and cunning. Backstabbing manipulators that follow the powerful and survive on the misery of other lowly colors (social groups). And yet, Golds can be true friends, devoted and protective of one another and not altogether bad. Not all of the Sons of Ares are noble rebels and in the Golden Son, Darrow himself starts walking a very fine line between red and true gold.

What I loved the most about the book is the return of Sevro. In fact, anything Sevro does or says. I’m a fan. Big fan. Darrow… He’s brilliant, but he’s flawed, which makes him an imperfect being and the Darrow/Mustang ship just doesn’t sail for me. It was delightful to learn more about the Sovereign and the power-play between the families, and of course, to learn that the Jackal is even more twisted than the first book implied! There are several jaw-dropping reveals and an ending that will surely leave you restless until the moment the next volume of the trilogy comes out.

The universe of Pierce Brown’s books is rich, very much so, that – in a way – it falls pray to its intensity. Indeed, just like in the case of Red Rising, it is at times quite difficult to follow the flow of the new concepts and recall what invented things may mean or look like.  This is the only somewhat negative aspect of the book that I can name. This, and the fact that the Morning Star isn’t out yet.

Rating: 5*

P.S. Waiting for Red Rising film news is a torture. 

P.P.S. The mildly spoilery Golden Son Gif reaction review will be up soon. Yep, cause this book is just that good, it deserves two reviews. 

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First read of the year: the Golden Son

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