Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown

18966819Expected publication: January 13th 2015 by Del Rey (Random House)

Golden Son is a good follow-up to Red Rising but can’t be measured or compared to the epic-ness of the first installment in the Red Rising Trilogy.

I’ve been waiting eagerly to read about Darrow’s rebellion against a society ruled by Golds and “Golden Son” does not disappoint. Pierce Brown delivers a gripping, intelligent and dark science fiction story that kept me hooked. But it’s just that … a well-done and interesting story with gory fighting scenes and a little bit too much of philosophical dialogue. And as much as I want to give it 5 stars, I just can’t because this book contains only 10% of what made Red Rising so epic.

I was waiting for the goose bumps, for a legendary hero to pick up his sword of vengeance, for glorious moments to make my heart actually skip a beat. I was waiting for epic writing like in Red Rising:

I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war. I watch twelve hundreds of their strongest sons and daughters. (…) I was forged in the bowels of this hard world.
Sharpened by hate.
Strengthened by love.
He is wrong. None of them will survive.

There are few moments like that in Golden Son. One of those, when I actually felt a tear slipping down my cheek, holding my breath, was the moment when they descend on Mars:

The planet grows and grows till it is a swollen colossus that consumes my vision. I do not know who is dead, who is alive. My display is too busy. We hit the atmosphere and sound roars back. Halos of color cocoon my trembling form. To my left and right, the falling soldiers look like raging lightning bugs jerked out of some Carver’s fantasy. I admire the one to my left. The bronze sun is behind him as he falls, silhouetting him, immortalizing him in that singular moment—one I know I shall never forget—so that he looks like a Miltonian angel falling armor, as Lucifer might have shed the fetters of heaven, feathers of flame peeling off, fluttering behind. Then a missile slashes the sky and high-grade explosives christen him mortal once again.

Red Rising was full of images; it was like a mental cinema projector, throwing image after image at you: Rocky, Wolverine, 300, Ben-Hur, Titanic, The 5th Element, Star Wars etc…

But Golden Son conjured so few images in my head. It is instead an endless philosophical debate on political systems and if might makes right or if the end does justify the means. You will see Darrow, a hero in the true sense of making, not the making of his body which we have seen in red Rising but the making of a hero’s soul. In the end, Golden Son is nothing but Darrow’s endless inner monologue about Fear.

“Fear of letting down my friends, of losing my friends. Of telling my friends the truth about what I am. Fear of being unequal to the task before me. Fear caused by doubt—in myself, in my plans for the rebellion. Fear of death. Fear of being lost in the darkness of space beyond the hull. Fear of failing Eo, my people, myself.”

It is a great read about character development but it’s not an epic read. And I missed this most of all.