Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

gold‘I’m still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.’
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?

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page Count: 442

I would recommend that you don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first part in the trilogy, Red Rising, yet (You can read my review of it here!). I will try my best not to spoil anything in terms of content for Golden Son, but I am going to mention characters from the previous book and that might give something away.

I guess the short version of this review is that I feel like I just got stabbed in the back and in the heart at the same time, but that’s not much of a review, is it? But where do I even begin?

I wasn’t exactly sure where the story would continue after Red Rising, but we pick up years later with Darrow almost finishing his time at the Academy and it makes sense. It doesn’t feel like the years in between are missing at all, yet you do notice that the world of the Golds has changed Darrow. After the first book, you know what kind of life he has to lead: constantly scared of betrayal, keeping everyone at arms-length while needing their support and talent … it’s a lonely life. And this change I mentioned, the decisions he has to make, are more complicated now with even more severe consequences. But this book isn’t as much about Darrow’s rise as a hero as it was in Red Rising, instead it is about politics and media, about loyalties and betrayals and finally also truth. There are so many twists and turns, basically nothing ever goes as planned and friendships are tested to their breaking point. The final betrayal stung the most to me, even though for once I saw it coming. Still not over the cliffhanger though …

In my opinion, Golden Son was sometimes a little bit more difficult to follow, because of the complex nature of the universe it is set in. There are family names and bloods feuds to be remembered and maneuvers to be planned – it gets tricky, but it pays off in every possible way! I especially enjoyed the use of media and how it can manipulate the public into believing certain things. We saw a few glimpses of that in Red Rising, but it slowly gets amplified in this sequel. I hope to see even more of it in Morning Star, a book I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on even though I am seriously scared what it has in store. (Publishing Date for Morning Star is February 9th, 2016!!!)

In the end, I just love how these books make me feel! My whole body tenses up, my heart gets broken, adrenaline rushes through my veins, I am on the verge of tears and even though I should know better I still put my silly faith in the characters I like. Darrow’s world is a complex one, a world that may seem far away from ours, yet it mirrors so many aspects of our society. The change of the hierarchy of Colors he wants to achieve demands answers to questions I don’t know how to respond to, but it gets me thinking. It makes me want to find a solution and that is what makes this book so good!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! If this series gets any better, I will suffer from a heart attack!!!

5stars

Are you a fan of the Red Rising series? Have you read Golden Son? Are your feels as crushed as mine?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

redrisingThe Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page Count: 382

I started this book not knowing what to expect. Seen as Pierce Brown was crowned hottest YA author by Buzzfeed (Yes, this is for real! Check out the post here!), I guess I just assumed that Red Rising would be a Young Adult dystopian novel … well, I am not so sure now. Despite the main characters being teens, I think this is a very adult book.

You cannot imagine how “gorydamn” hard it is for me to write this review right now, because this book took me completely by surprise and swept me off my feet. I can’t say that it was love at first sight though. The book itself is separated into several parts and it starts out with a lot of information, just to negate everything we thought we knew in the second part. The world-building is really complex with it’s own unique vocabulary that needs some time getting used to. Like Districts in the Hunger Games and Factions in Divergent, we now have Colours that separate the people – Red being the lowest and Gold being the highest in the hierarchy. There were also tons of references to Greek and Roman mythology, which I really loved, which I thought gave the story a very distinct voice.

Right from the beginning everything is very dark, cruel and unjust. A lot of things are already considered given from the get go, but at the same time so many very emotional things happen that you aren’t yet ready for. I think that maybe there wasn’t enough time to get to know everyone properly for some of the tropes to really hit you with their full force. However, as I went on I found myself unable to put the book down. There was this raw rage, the sense of injustice, an incredible amount of scheming and the pure confusion about who to trust. My whole body tensed up at times, almost shaking from the intensity with which I had to know how the story continues.

I really have to give it to Pierce Brown for creating such complex characters, each of them having a unique motivation, likable and dislikable traits. Darrow is a strong hero, but he is also human and therefore makes mistakes. He is incredibly relatable in his struggle between getting vengeance and justice for his people, but he is far from being the only great character! I changed my mind about so many people several times throughout the book, feeling my heart crack every single time there was another betrayal or death. So many people die! I was emotionally exhausted by the end.

In the end, I can only give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because of it’s slow start. Other than that I utterly loved it and cannot wait to continue with the series!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! People who like dystopian novels in the slightest bit HAVE TO check it out!

5stars

Do you know what I am going to do now? I am going to order Golden Son, that’s what! Have you read Red Rising? What’s your take on it?