- Author: Pierce Brown
- Genre: Sci-Fi
- Publication Date: January 6, 2015
- Publisher: Del Rey
- Series: Red Rising Saga #2
TRIGGER WARNING: violence, gore, bombings, war
If you haven’t read Red Rising yet, you’re probably going to want to skip this review. While there are no spoilers for Golden Son, it’s definitely going to include some spoilers for Red Rising. Feel free to check out my review for Red Rising here.
As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds — and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.
A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love — but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution — and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.
He must live for more.
*deep breath* I finished this book yesterday and have been trying to organize my thoughts from hot mess into coherent review, and I’m just hoping that I can be successful here. If not, please be patient with me. Because this book is just … bananas.
After winning at the Institute, Darrow’s education as a Gold is now further along. He’s joined the ranks of the Peerless Scarred, and is working under Augustus:
“At the Institute, they trained us to survive and conquer. Here at the Academy they taught us war. Now they test our fluency.”
But of course, he still struggles with standing apart from his peers. They don’t know who or what he really is, but he does and it keeps him at a distance from his closest friends.
“Yet even when my lieutenants stand here at my side, I feel that separation, that deep gulf between their world and mine.”
Darrow has learned many things from the Institute. One of the biggest lessons he took from his time there was how to become a leader. I mean, the guy clearly has charisma, but he also actively encourages not only peers but his subordinates to be loyal:
“That is the scheme of the Society. To prosper, your superior must prosper. As I found a patron in Augustus, so must the lowColors find their own in me. It breeds a loyalty of necessity to Golds that the Color system itself cannot create by mere dictation.”
He’s also uniquely placed to see the flaws in the system, not just among the individual castes, but as a whole. While each of the Colors just accept things the way they see them, Darrow has seen different perspectives. He sees the Gold experience, but still retains the humanity bestowed by his Red upbringing. And he approaches the system completely differently than other Golds do.
“Slaves do not have the bravery of free men. That is why Golds lie to lowReds and make them think they are brave. That is why they lie to Obsidians and make them think it is an honor to serve gods. Easier than the truth. Yet it takes only one truth to bring a kingdom of lies crashing down.”
Even in the midst of this vicious, brutal story, the writing is captivating. There are even moments of beauty in the writing. I love the way the ugliness of the Society is juxtaposed with the beauty of the places they built:
“Purple, red, and green mosses climb the base of the great structure with vines of a thousand hues, wrapping the glass and stone like the fingers of greedy bachelors around the wrist of a rich widow.”
Between the guilt of keeping who he really is from the people closest to him, and feeling torn between his Red roots and the fact that he is actually enjoying life as a Gold, the tension ratchets up to an almost unbearable level for Darrow. It builds to a point where it feels as though something has to break.
“Thinking of her, I am beset with guilt. I like this life. No matter my reluctance to play the Gold, no matter the sorrowful excuses I make, part of me is like them.”
This book absolutely blew my mind in the best possible way. I couldn’t stop reading, and when I had to stop reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about getting back to this book. There was so much happening, and I could never figure out what was going to happen next. There were plot twists that I didn’t see coming at all, and that shocked the heck out of me. This book packed more of an emotional punch than Red Rising for me, mainly because I had really grown attached to some of the characters. I cannot wait to dive into the next book to see what happens next, because this one left off on a hell of a cliff hanger. Make sure to have the next book handy when you read this one!
I actually considered changing the gasp factor to the HOLY SHIT factor, because I said that so many times while reading this book. I actually had to stop reading and catch my breath quite a few times, because there was just so much to process. In the end, I stuck with the gasp factor, which is probably one of the highest I’ve ever had!
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 28
Categories: Book Review