There’s a new contender for the biggest lie I ever heard and that's seeing this book categorized as YA”. I was reluctant to start this series because of it (yes, I'm not a fan of YA) but I'm really glad that didn't stop me. Forget all the similarity with other YA books you think you’ve seen or heard in Red Rising, you won’t find any of them here at all. It completely goes into adult military sci-fi territory and written like one. No sugarcoating, there’s a lot of harsh words, bloodbaths, brutality and some gore here.
Whether you’re one of those who love (like me) or hate the previous book because of the plot, I’ll assure you that this time the plot took off on a completely different direction than before and it’s so much better. It relies on the foundation laid by the first book to hurl the plot itself to become a massive sci-fi and space opera (literally from page 1). Packed with non-stop actions, politics, bloody space or ground warfare and twists and turns, it will truly grip you right from the beginning until the end. Seriously, there are only a few chapters where you’re allowed to take a break before the story pulls you into all the madness and blood feud again.
Have I mentioned the ending is so mind-blowing it's designed to give you anxiety attack? I strongly recommend you to have MORNING STAR (Last book of the trilogy) beside you before you finished the book. It’s probably one of the most fucked up cliffhanger I ever experienced in my whole life. (I’m actually typing this review after I read the first 2 chapter of Morning Star straight after finishing Golden Son, otherwise this review will consist only of me typing my foamy mouth into words.)
Frankly, I didn’t expect myself to get attached to the characters in this book so much when I started the series but I do, I really do. I’m a huge sucker for great character developments. I love when there is an improvement in the characters personality, strength and weaknesses and changes in all their relationships. Whether it’s in the form of love blossomed or betrayal casted, as long as they’re executed perfectly and make sense, I’ll never get tired of them and this book have them all.
There are some new great characters here, Ragnar (not Lothbrok), Victra and Lorn specifically but my favorite part will have to be seeing the relationship development between Darrow and his best friends, old and new, especially Sevro. These two friendships are what I’d definitely called #friendshipgoals, they understand each other, bantered carelessly and most of all loyal to each other. Sadly I can’t tell you much more on this part this time as there are a lot of factors that I think would be much better for you to experience it yourself rather than hearing it from me but I’ll let you know that Darrow and Sevro are definitely my favorite and the best characters in the book for me.
Darrow of Lykos
World-building scale is bigger than before as this time we deal with space travel and world hopping. It’s much easier to read and imagine compare to before as almost all the info dump was established already in the first book. This time, none of the world-building felt like Earth anymore and that’s a huge plus for me, I don’t want my head to imagine Earth when the settings are clearly not.
I mentioned before in my Red Rising review that I absolutely loved Pierce Brown’s writing, it still holds true here, in fact I love it even more now as I really think he really improved his writing style. It’s much more engrossing, immersive, poetic and yet still retained all the previous elements that captivated me.
There are also a lot of great one-liner and fantastic quotes which will give you hope, laughter or something to think upon when you go through the book, here are some of my favorites:
“I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind - how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.”
“Home isn't where you're from, it's where you find light when all grows dark.”
“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair.”
"I'm Gold, bitch. What'd you expect? Warm milk and cookies just because I'm pocket sized?”
Adrenaline inducement are imminent, words you read will shoot straight to your heart and filled your feelings with love towards the main and side characters, rage and hatred towards the villains. Betrayal, bloodydamn epic action and military warfare (ground and space) sequences are written so vivid it felt like I’m experiencing a much more epic and dark version of Star Wars/Trek (yes I said that, deal with it).
With Golden Son, Pierce Brown became the 4th author to enter my favorite authors list and I’m putting this entry into my favorite shelves. Golden Son is everything I ever wanted in a Sci-Fi book, Pierce Brown himself said this is his favorite book out of the trilogy and I really don’t think the 3rd book could top this one but it still remains to be seen. I can say with confidence though that if Morning Star didn’t disappoint, this series will definitely become one of my favorite series of all time.
I urge you strongly to start this series if you love any of these: Sci-fi, space opera, great actions, fantastic climax, great characterization with strong plot, perfect pacing or if you’re eager get your adrenaline fix, hey you don’t need to ride an extreme rollercoaster, look no further, read this book and you’ll get all these experience for hours. I may sound calm in my review but inside my burning heart I’m typing this review with fingers full of adrenaline rush from the endless "one more chapter” syndrome this book gave me. This book is the kind of drug I need in this world where sometimes, we simply need a portal to escape from our boring reality and I bloodydamn hope you will experience this as well.