A sequel that doesn’t hold any punches and knocks you through the grit!
Author: Pierce Brown Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page count: 464
Golden Son is the sequel to the incredible Red Rising, following Darrow’s tale from Red to Gold. Red Rising is dark and gritty with each turn unveiling a piece of action that either made me wince or loudly say ‘blimey’. I always wonder before reading a sequel, whether it will be able to continue what the original started. I am overjoyed to say that not only does Golden Son continue the thrilling writing from Red Rising, but transcends it, becoming in my opinion, an improvement.
The story of Golden Son picks up soon after Red Rising, a few events have transpired since the ending but these are explained quickly as the story picks back up. This novel explores the larger world in which these books are based in, specialising in the political drama that Darrow now needs to learn and navigate if he is ever to lead the uprising. A lot is packed into these 460 pages, a just like the first novel, you are in for quite a ride.
Firstly, I want to address one of my complaints within the original Red Rising novel. I found the first person narrative at times a little bit of an interruption to the pacing, sometimes the story didn’t flow in parts as well as others. But throughout my time with Golden Son, I did not seem to find this issue lingering anymore. It could be that I have become use to Brown’s style of writing within these novels or that Brown himself has become more comfortable. The first person narrative, I felt was improved and the book benefited for it, flowing beautifully throughout.
What I really loved about this novel was the exploration into the wider universe. Red Rising did a fantastic job of introducing the colour system within the series and all the main characters; Golden Son then takes the groundwork and expands upon it hugely. The colour system, which places a hierarchy on society is delved further into within the book and it asks questions through Darrow’s story about the functionality of this system and taking morality into account. Brown does a great job exploring morality within this book, allowing me to reflect on our own society. Golden Son also takes the stories from the other characters and moves them forward too, not just focusing on Darrow. As Darrow discovers more about the people closest to him, you begin to build a better picture behind their motivations and have some understanding into the world of being a Gold. Even though they seem like monsters; it demonstrated that even monsters have reasons for their actions. Some I almost felt some sympathy towards.
To read through Golden Son, you have to enjoy a few twists and turns because this book is like being on a roller coaster. Just when you are settling into one idea, Brown smashed you in the face with something new and often something you weren’t expecting. There are always breadcrumbs spread out to follow, but they never lead to the full truth and just when you think you may have figured out what is going to happen, you are hit with a slight twist on your prediction. There was no point within the story that I ever felt close to relaxed (in a good way), even the slower chapters are laced with drama or gritty story telling. This does however have a counter point within the story. Since you are always expecting a betrayal or dark twist to occur, you never truly trust anyone within the story. Which is excellent in terms of creating a thrilling story, but also it is comforting to be able to anchor yourself to a character or two.
Overall, Golden Son is a fantastic read – a book stuffed with gritty and dark turns, with moments that made my skin crawl and my blood boil. It does a brilliant job of navigating the political world within the colour system, which allowed the fast pace to pull me through the story at light speed. I am giving this book a solid 5/5!