ARC Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

ARC Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Golden Son
Red Rising Trilogy #2
by Pierce Brown

Genres: Action, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: January 6, 2015
by Del Rey

Format: eARC

PURCHASE:

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As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

If you’ve come here upon the assumption that I am able to talk about my feelings for this book coherently, I am sorry to say but your expectations have been for naught. How can I be coherent when this book turned my life upside down? While reading this book from start to finish, I have shamelessly done the following:

1.) Roll on the bed over and over, with eyes cracked open, fearing for the well-being of my precious Darrow;
2.) Howl like a hyena at Darrow’s glorious moments;
3.) Bang my head on the wall to relieve some of the stress this book has given me,BECAUSE OMG OMG OMG DARROW OMG OMG OMG MUSTANG OMG OMG OMG SEVRO LORN AND EVERYONE ELSE OMG OMG OMG!!!
4.) Rinse and repeat

I regret nothing.
I regret nothing.

*sips tea* *looks at you with a raised eyebrow*

However, despite the off-chance that your impression of me now has changed (and I wouldn’t blame you; I would think myself a mad lunatic, too. Surely a small price to pay to read a bloodydamn good book?), I wouldn’t change any of it, coherent or not. When I read Red Rising last year, I’ve thought that succeeding books would have a hard time toppling it. It was the book that made me believe in these genres again, the book that rekindled my love for reading, the book that made me see red of the social injustice that exactly mirror the plights billions of people here on Earth experience every single day.

And then came Golden Son.

Very well, I’ll explain my insights as coherent as I can.

If Red Rising made the genre alive again, the second installment was the one who put the bar higher than ever before. It’s more brutal, more heart-breaking, more shocking, and even more glorious. You read this and it’s like watching ancient Romans battle it out with conquest and diplomacy in space. I am fucking serious. If ever there were a space opera with Julius Caesar in it, this book would be it. It’s highly engaging and visualizing, making you angry, sad, and teary-eyed while pumping you adrenaline every step of the way, because baby, this is as unpredictable as it can get. I’m not surprised this has a film in the making – it has the formula down pat.

I absolutely love Darrow in this one. There were times he seemed like a whiny baby (especially at the beginning… “No, I must take this path.” “I was wrong, the path I’ve taken sucks.” “Yes, I will take this other path!” “Gosh darnit, wrong again… let me cry a bit over here…” Obviously non-verbatim, but you get the point, yes?), but all these things only added to his complexity over what he feels is needed to be done to tame a hungry society that has been dead-set on a selfish mentality for centuries. What’s a man to do when to fight the fire he must fight it with fire as well? A double-edged sword surely, because you end up fanning the flames, but it was so interesting and heart-breaking seeing him be torn of doing one thing and wanting to do the other. He pulls you into his misery, making you feel despair alongside him as he mulls over the morality of the people surrounding him and his own. You feel and see the horrors he face, pushing you into a pit of overwhelming emotions.

So brutal and horrible, yet so mystifying and beautiful at the same time. I don’t have any dobut that more than the setting, it’s Darrow and how he stands up against the social injustice of the Golds and their mentality that truly makes this book shine.

And the twists! Holy heavens above, they pierced the feels where they hurt. I never saw them coming. Of course, I expected that Darrow will eventually face harder obstacles along the way, but I never expected them to be of great magnitude. I was crushed by the end. I was crying and in denial. But despite all the cursing and wailing that followed, it were the very same events that made me feel this book was truly magical and epic.

I really don’t know what else to say beyond what I have already said and what has already been said around the blogosphere. If you’re the type of person who don’t buy hypes, I implore you to take one exception and take this on, because rarely do you get a book this good.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
World-building
Romance
Impact
Overall: 4.8
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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    YES, YES, YES AND A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!
    I had such a tremendous book hangover after this one!!! I had to re-read the last few pages a few times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything!!

    While reading the book, everytime things went well, I became more and more worried because I kept on waiting for the betrayals and the other shoe to drop, but my goodness I never expected it to happen what it happened!!

    I’m now scared of what’s to come after, in Morning Star… and DAMN IT, IT’S TOO FAR AWAY!!!
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: ARC Review of Polaris by Mindee Arnett!!!My Profile

  2. says

    Oh yay you finally got a hold of this one! I just got a copy of it last week and I’m both excited and scared – sequels have not treated me well in so many cases! It sounds like a total winner, though, and sounds like it’s more of everything than the first! Love it! YES MORE BRUTAL PLEASE MUAHAHAAHAH! And Darrow is just so realistic. He has his good qualities and more annoying qualities and to me that makes a very well rounded and REAL person. But seriously the first one was unlike anything I had ever read so I really need to make reading this a priority!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Illusionarium by Heather DixonMy Profile

  3. says

    Ah I’ve seen so many great reviews of this book lately, maybe I should check out the first book. I love the dystopia genre in general, so I might enjoy this one as well. Altough I am not sure what to think of your description of this book as brutal. Great review!
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Hot Lightning recipeMy Profile

  4. says

    Fantastic review! Now you’ve made me pretty much desperate to read Red Rising. I have a copy but…still…haven’t…read…it. I’m glad you loved it – I mean you must have been really into it to shamelessly bang your head like that of course :) I am in love with that gif.
    Olivia (Bookcomet) recently posted…Counting the Stars 79#My Profile

  5. says

    AFJDSKLAFDS I AM SO GLAD THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING AND MORE. IT MAKES ME SO SO HAPPY!!! It’s like one of my top anticipated reads for the year. ^_^ Red Rising was just beyond brilliant. *hyperventilates* I seriously can’t wait to read it!!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Weekly Fury #40My Profile

  6. says

    That GIF, epic. Sad to admit that I’d tried to read Red Rising twice and hated it. And I mean HATED. I wanted to love it, but even though I made it to almost 50% the second time, there just wasn’t enough to keep my interest. My husband is currently listening to it on audiobook though and loving it so far. Go figure. He also loved Across The Universe where I didn’t. He’s got a thing for space.

    Brilliant review poppet. He’ll be moving onto this one soon too <3
    Kelly recently posted…There Will Be Lies by Nick LakeMy Profile

  7. says

    ROLF! Girl, you’ve got me in stitches!!!! I have read Red Rising, but still haven’t got any time to read this one. Now I will have to, as it possibly sounds more amazing than the first one. I have heard that Golden Son was good, but honestly I haven’t expected it to be this good! So glad you loved it. Amazing review, Faye :)
    Tanja recently posted…The Sunday Post (#39)My Profile

  8. says

    YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY EVERYTHING I THOUGHT AS WELL I’M SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT even though the beginning is kind of slow. But aw man that ending was brutal. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW.

    Awesome review FAYE. LET’S BE SAD TOGETHER
    Valerie recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #18My Profile

  9. says

    Ah your review has me so amped to read the book! Red Rising was utterly brutal, and Golden Sun looks to be just as epic. (I remember in Red Rising – just when I started to like a character or they became redeemable – OFF WITH THEIR HEAD! sometimes literally. oh gosh, I need to prepare myself.)
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Tear You Apart – Sarah CrossMy Profile

  10. says

    Woopwoop! It’s not often second books in a series manages to set the bar even higher for the reader. THESE DON’T COME AROUND OFTEN!! So I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t picked up Red Rising…*hangs head* BUT, I do have a copy of Golden Son for review, and after reading your review I feel like I need to run out and find a copy of Red Rising already. Like now.

    “You read this and it’s like watching ancient Romans battle it out with conquest and diplomacy in space. I am fucking serious. If ever there were a space opera with Julius Caesar in it, this book would be it.”

    UM SIGN ME RIGHT UP. Julius Caesar in space? I’m so there.
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Discussion: What is the appeal of the ‘player’ as a love interest?My Profile

  11. says

    AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! That pretty much sums up my thoughts upon finishing this book! It definitely lends itself to incoherent thought. You are absolutely right that this book is even better than the last one. I LOVE how well the author just expands the world, ups the tension and the stakes (oh don’t forget the pain and betrayals!!!). Darrow is definitely prone to long inner monologues. You made me laugh with your assessment of them, but what I love about this are the moments when we see Darrow’s humanity. Like the scene when he confesses to Severo and completely breaks down. I love Severo by the way. MORNING STAR is going to probably kill me.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…All Fall Down by Ally CarterMy Profile

  12. says

    LAWD knows I loved this too, Faye. And I totally get you on the whiny Darrow front, but my biggest issue with him was the constant, “I should tell them,” “I can’t tell them,” “Not telling them is destroying our friendship, so I should tell them . . . just not right now . . . ” GAH. Either ignore it, or do something about it, but stop talking about it purposelessly. But *shrugs* doesn’t matter, b/c I still loved it. And I’ll love the next one two. As soon as I get my grubby hands on it ;)