Saturday, 27 February 2016

'Golden Son', by Pierce Brown

Title: Golden Son (Red Rising #2)
Author(s): Pierce Brown
Release Date: 24th September 2015 (Paperback)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Bought

Synopsis:
Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind's last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.

In Red Rising, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It's a journey that will take him further than he's ever been before - but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

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.

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'Golden Son' picks up Darrow's story two years after the events of 'Red Rising'. In that time, he has risen in Augustus' graces, and while that puts him one step closer to his purpose, it also brings in a new flurry of enemies...

First off I want to talk about this time jump. Reading mostly Young Adult fiction, I am used to linear, mostly uninterrupted stories. One of my 'issues' while reading 'Red Rising' was trying to understand how such a large scale plot would develop throughout only three books when the first was covering such a small window of time, but after picking up this second installment I completely got it. It is an incredibly smart thing to do in a case like this; it fast-forwards the story through not so relevant moments and keeps the reader on target (however, I would definitely be up for reading a whole book on what happened for those two years even if it was of no overall importance, but then again that's mostly because I would read anything coming out of Pierce Brown).

Once again, I am completely in love with Darrow's character development. His inner strength throughout this book is completely mind-blowing. He gets knocked down again and again but never gives up. Even I had to stop and take a breather after a certain detail regarding Eo's death is revealed, but Darrow finds his way out of it, as he does with everything the world throws at him. While he can be a frustrating character at times, being so closed up within himself and believing that the weight of the entire solar system rests on his shoulders alone, it has been a while since I connected in such a way with a main character and cared so much about their future. I just want him to be happy, okay?

The way in which the concept of trust is explored in this series is one of my favorite elements of it. Regardless of how much Darrow tries to be independent and to not rely on anyone else, step by step he attempts to place his trust in other people only to be betrayed. If you think Cassius was bad in 'Red Rising' while they were in the Institute, brace yourself. You are in for a bumpy ride.
Romance is dealt with in an incredibly refreshing way in this book. Not an overbearing aspect of the story in the slightest, it brings in some dynamics into the character layers without making it too much or out of place. Darrow's relationship with Mustang is in development, but Eo is still very much a constant presence in Darrow's heart. This could have been done so wrong (and made to feel like a love triangle, even though Eo is dead) but, yet again, there are no hiccups, no missed steps. These books are so perfect I can't even.

Once again I need to gush over Pierce Brown's writing. The amount of detail, description and overall knowledge that is embedded into this story is remarkable. Several times I found myself wondering if he is just a time traveler from 700 years in the future coming to tell Darrow's story so we can try and prevent that society from happening because it's just so damn believable. Which is not easy considering, you know, this is a science fiction book and more often than not there are mentions to non-existing technology and spaceships.

Have I mentioned the sheer amount of geek references? At one point Darrow has a Han Solo line and I nearly died.

The ending of this book was the most explosive and expletive inducing I have read in recent years. When you think that everything is going according to Darrow's plan, Pierce throws a curve ball at you in such a way that it just hits you in the back of the head and you are left wondering if there is any brain damage to worry about. You will definitely want to have 'Morning Star' at the ready (and I don't mean 'Oh I can go and buy it once I finish', I mean literally by your side) as you read the last paragraph, because it opens up such a heartbreaking door that you will bloodydamn want to know what's on the other side!

Also, keep clear from any breakable objects. I'm only safeguarding the contents of your house here.

If 'Red Rising' is brilliant, 'Golden Son' defies definition by any sort of adjective. Grab yourself a pack of tissues, google the nearest counseling office, and go forth, Helldiver!

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