golden son book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Golden Son takes place a few years after Red Rising, and Darrow has matured some more. He is at the end of his training, winning his last battle and then his life starts to unravel. The matriarch of the Bellona family holds a grudge like none other and she intends to have her revenge–she literally wants his heart on a platter.

Darrow has his first major set back and he doesn’t really know how to recover from it. On top of that his sponsor, Augustus, isn’t very forgiving of those who let him down. One of Darrow’s faults is his lack of politicking skills. This is a serious shortcoming when dealing with a race brought up on extreme Machiavellian tendencies. And Darrow often registers a back stabbing threat after the knife has plunged home.

What saves our hero more often than not is his friends. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know whether to embrace them or set them up to die with the rest of the gold leadership. It’s his internal vacillation that keeps his friends at arms length. They never really know what he’s thinking or feeling and this alienates them, often at very inopportune times. It is a lesson Darrow needs to learn over and over. Often a little too late. Everytime he seems to be about to complete an important goal, his ego seems to get in the way and ruin everything.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I gave it 4.5 stars. I gave Red Rising 5 stars, partly because it was fresh and exciting, but also because it was a complete book. The series could have ended there and it still would have been good. Golden Son ends on a cliffhanger and the last book will be needed to achieve some resolution. Pierce Brown also seems to be taking a few notes from George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb. No one is safe and they must all go through life crushing experiences.

This book, while still full of action, also had a lot of politicking and mind games, most of which our hero wasn’t really equipped to handle. Overall, good book and great series. Can’t wait for the last one!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Del Rey. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.