ARC Review: Golden Son-Pierce Brown


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“We’re all just wounded souls stumbling about in the dark, desperately trying to stitch ourselves together, hoping to fill the holes they ripped in us.”

***

“‘He was a good man. But good men die. To free them, to protect them, we must be savages. So give me evil. Give me darkness. Make me the bloodydamn devil if we can bring even the faintest ray of light.'”

***

“I am a child of hell, and I’ve spent too long in their heaven.”

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5/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Random House Del Rey Spectra

cooltext1486226903 copyWith shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. 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 is tantalizingly dark. The sort of twisted, sinister downfall of power that captivated Milton and swept up the hearts of men and inspired them to pen tales of epic heroism and fallen heroes. Red Rising was an entirely different beast. There’s a marked difference between the overall tone of heady determination and recklessness in book 1 and the brutal, gut-wrenching loss and devastation of Golden Son. 
  • Darrow is quicker, even more deadly and calculating than before. His political ingenuity is built on his acute understanding of the temptations and pride of mankind. He’s steps ahead of his enemies, constantly plotting with his trusted friends, and leaps beyond almost everyone else. What makes Darrow so fascinating is his ability to adapt. He’s agile on his feet, deadly with a razor, a brute, almost Braveheart style adversary but his mind is faster. When roadblocks threaten to kill his mission, he wallows (briefly) but always remembers what’s in his heart and finds the strength to overcome. 
  • Action. Pure, masculine, adrenaline-spiking suspense. Between the fierce battle scenes, the explosions and gore and the god-like awe in which people of all colors on Mars follow Darrow (the Reaper), there’s a magical, almost transcendent power to these scenes. There’s absolute chaos and shock from one moment to the next. You can never be sure of what’s happening or even what’s coming. Darrow keeps secrets from the reader and his trusted allies, who knows what is a mystery that can sometimes be infuriating but keeps the reader hungry, searching, and thirsting for carnage and success. 
  • It would take a small Master’s thesis to go through all the characters and their vibrant, well-developed personalities, so here are some of my favorites, new and old:
    • Mustang-this girl. She’s beautiful, smart, captivating in her quick wit and confidence. She owns the room. Her presence is magnetic, charming and while she is blunt, she’s got a special something that begs you to fall under her spell. 
    • Victra-is a sassy, perverse, and flirty force to be reckoned with. She’s forward and pushy, she has amazing lines that are both funny and a tad vulgar. Her wistful lust will have you cheering for her but sympathy wouldn’t be right.
    • Sophocles the fox, Daxo, Kavax-this is an adorable trio of brightness in this grim drama. Daxo’s quirky personality, his tendency to make absurd, hilarious comments, his loyalty and the way he worships his fox, feeding him jellybeans are the epitome of perseverance and hope. They find joy and life when death is suffocating.
    • Sevro-He’s a weird bird. His brash comments reek of violence and promise and yet, he’s a true friend, willing to die and slaughter for Darrow, for a dream that he understands perhaps better than everyone else. His ragtag group of Howlers are as strange and gory as him and together they create a unity that suggests friendship over blood, until the end.
    • Octavia-Holy hell, this woman is a demon. She’ll buy and sell anyone or anything to achieve her bleak goals. She kills sometimes without thought and others with great planning. She’s unpredictable, has spies everywhere and is a ruthless murderer. There’s a scene, like an interrogation, that truly captures the extent of his malicious, vile character. Yet, Octavia is a genius. She is a master chess player in this game of politics, life and death, and her hands are drenched in the blood of the innocent. 
  • That cliffhanger just about broke me. I got there and lost all ability to function. In a second, the air was sucked out of the room and hope fled to a corner to die. 
  • Golden Son is a love story. Not in the traditional boy meets girl, ensue cheesy moments and ballads of love but in a way that cuts to the heart of humanity. The love that can be found in friends, in blood, in family, in chance meetings. The love that spurs us on and gives us something to fight for, the love that enslaves as it frees. That love is what Darrow rules over and grants to his followers.  

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  • Some of the chapters cut off abruptly and leave the reader in the lurch, plowing through pages for answers. 

Pleasant reading,

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