Review: Golden Son | Spoiler-Free

golden sonGolden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown
Published: January 8th 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars

I won’t provide a synopsis, as this is the second book in the series. If you want to have a look at what this series is about, you can check out:

Red Rising on Goodreads
My review of Red Rising

My review will be spoiler free, even if you haven’t read the first book.


I put off reading this book for almost a year, a decision I’ve come to regret. I actually read Red Rising in March of 2017, and absolutely loved it. I didn’t own the sequel then, so I decided to wait a bit before continuing the series. Last summer, I found copies of Golden Son and Morning Star in a book deal, making them about £3.5 each. I couldn’t resist getting them! Yet somehow, it still took me 6 months to finally pick it up. I should’ve done it sooner, because this blew my mind.

Let’s talk about what I liked first, shall we?

I mentioned in my review of the first one that this series manages to truly convey a rebellion to me. I’ve read a lot of dystopian books about rebellions, but this series actually makes me feel like I’m at the heart of the rebellion. It’s quite fast-paced, and so many things are happening. Schemes, enemies and allies, betrayal, friendship, losing hope… It’s all in here. There was really never a dull moment here. I personally love to read about both battle and fight scenes, and the more political side of ruling the world. This book definitely has both! 

For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down. 

So many plans go wrong, and there isn’t one magical way to fix the world. It’s more of a grey area. The rebellion will cost so many lives. But is it not worth it, to free the billions of people who are oppressed?

I can’t really say much about characters or plot, because I truly don’t want to spoil anything for you. It’s safe to say that the Howlers are my favorite people in this series though. They’re so precious, and I want to protect them. 

Darrow is truly growing on me too. I already found him intriguing in the first book, but this one made me feel proud of him. He’s learning to open up and trust others, which makes my heart happy. But at the same time, he’s still calculating and smart. He has a job to do, and doesn’t lose sight of it. 

He’d have me win for him, but I’d win for the Red girl with a dream bigger than she ever could be. I’d win so that he dies, and her message burns across the ages.

I also like the fact that he’s not blindly accepting orders. He’s using his own judgement too, to determine what the right path is for him.

There were quite a few moments in this book that left me speechless. Left me wanting to scream, “I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING,” at the book. Certain reveals took me completely by surprise, as I would not have guessed correctly at all. And can we talk about that ending?? What???

Something interesting I noticed while reading this is that Pierce Brown has the habit of using really short sentences when building tension. When Darrow feels extreme emotion or something is about to happen, the sentences become shorter. I really liked that!

Eo would say this is the hell they’ve built their heaven upon.

As always, there were a few things I wasn’t a big fan of too. 

There’s quite a time jump in the beginning of the book. I think there’s a gap of about 2 years between the end of Red Rising and the start of Golden Son. I found that rather confusing, as it took me a while to figure out we took such a jump in time. 

Because so much happens in this book, it can be a tad overwhelming at times. I took my time reading this to make sure everything could sink in. 

Although it is addressed later on, I don’t like the fact that some characters use terms such as ‘whore’ to insult women in this novel. 

My last small complaint is that I don’t have a clear overview of the solar system in my mind, which sometimes makes it hard to follow the story. Like, where are the characters? Which planet or moon are we on, and how is it situated with regards to Mars? My copy didn’t have a solar system map in it, so I found that kind of disappointing. My copy of the third book does though!

All in all, this was an incredible read. I love the characters, the plot twists took me completely by surprise and the ending left me speechless. I can’t wait to read the third book, Morning Star, soon. Have you read Red Rising or Golden Son? What did you think of them? 

Review: Red Rising

red risingRed Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Published: January 28th 2014 by Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction (YA)
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. 


Confession time: I actually read this in March of 2017. I know, almost a year ago! As I’m writing this review, I’m reading the sequel, Golden Son. While reading that, I wanted to look back on my review of the first book -which is when I realized I never actually wrote a review on it. Oops! So here I am, almost 1 year later to tell you that I really loved this book. 

The first thing you have to know is that this is the story of a rebellion. The Reds have been mining beneath the surface of Mars for ages, trying to make the surface of Mars an inhabitable place. Little do they know that Mars has been inhabited for centuries -and so have the other planets. Darrow finds out that the Reds have been enslaved for centuries. His wife, Eo, shows him the truth. Then something happens to make Darrow want to fight back. He joins the Sons of Ares, the rebellion, who turn him into a Gold (the ruling class) so he can infiltrate them and bring their society down. 

I have to admit that I was hesitant to pick this up. First, because it’s science fiction which is a genre I haven’t read much of. Second, because it’s a rebellion story. After The Hunger Games and the rise of dystopian stories, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all read a lot of rebellion stories with a teenager/twenty-something as the catalyst. I’m glad I picked this up though, because I ended up loving this book. 

Somehow, this feels like a true rebellion to me. This story is very dark, violent and brutal which is what makes it a realistic rebellion story to me. Pierce Brown does not pull any punches here. Darrow finds himself questioning whether the end justifies the means. As he infiltrates Gold society and works to rise to the top, he has to do some terrible things himself. Is he still the man Eo loved? How does this make him any better than the Golds? He becomes very morally grey, adapting to the situation to survive. 

I was forged in the bowels of this hard world. Sharpened by hate. Strengthened by love.

I feel like I can’t say much about the plot of this book because you need to go into it with a clear mind. Red Rising is pace-wise divided into two parts: the first part features a lot of worldbuilding and setup, and the second half is an incredibly fast-paced read, and twists and turns will continuously take you by surprise. 

I found myself surprisingly attached to the side characters as well. Sevro, in particular. I have to admit that it can become kind of confusing as many of the Golds have several names. They have their official birth names related to their family, then nicknames and sometimes stations, etc. Especially when starting the second book, I was confused for a while. 

Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart.

I had high expectations before starting this book, because I’d heard so many people rave about it. And I’m happy to see that the hype didn’t ruin this book for me. I absolutely loved it, and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a gritty and intense rebellion.

I am the spark that will set the worlds afire. I am the hammer that cracks the chains.

There you go, my thoughts on Red Rising! Only about a year late… Sorry!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?