Last night I finished Golden Son by Pierce Brown, and wow what a ride.
Before we go on, you should read my review of Red Rising first if you have yet to read any book in this series.
But speaking of rides.
I love rollercoasters.
I’m not HUGE aficionado, and I hate the really really tall ones. But I love me a good rollercoaster.
One of my favorites is the Incredicoaster (formerly California Screamin’) at Disney’s California Adventure. It’s not really all that thrilling, but it’s just plain fast and fun. It’s also one of the longest coasters in the world in terms of ride time.
But there’s one section of the ride that is kind of like a set of hills. You go up and down and up and down.
That pretty much perfectly sums up my experience with Golden Son.
Golden Son Review
Let’s start with my expectations for Golden Son.
So my favorite part about Red Rising was the Institute and the arena style competition that took place.
I’m a sucker for competition books. Hunger Games, The Selection, Spin the Dawn, you name it.
So I was really looking forward to that element again. I knew Darrow was going into the Academy, which I pictured as a sort of Ender’s Game type setting.
And the first two chapters gave me exactly what I was looking for, but then it ended and went a completely different direction.
That’s okay, though, I got over it real quick. But if I’m being honest, I hated the first part of Golden Son.
The First Down
No, that’s not a football term. I’m talking about the first downward plunge on my imaginary roller coaster.
There was just no life in Part 1 of Golden Son. The Augustus and Bellona blood feud is fueled some more and there’s a lot of chest pounding and grunting going on.
Me cave man. Me stronger than you. Urg. Hah.
I don’t really remember what else happens. It was a bleak point in my journey with Golden Son. But this happened to me in Red Rising, too, so of course I stuck with it and got rewarded.
The First Up
Part 2 of Golden was absolutely marvelous.
From the moment Darrow walks into the ball or fancy event or whatever it is that’s he’s doing on Luna with the Sovereign is just fantastic.
You’re on edge as much as Darrow and then all the crap that goes down.
Wow. This was the thrill that I was looking for. Part 2 had me racing to turn the pages. I needed to see how it turned out. How Darrow got himself out of a bind, and all the witty manipulations that are going on in the background.
I’m sorry that I can’t really explain. I promise never to spoil, and to speak is to spoil. Just hang on for Part 2 if you’re struggling in Part 1. It’s worth it.
The Second Down
And then after all the excitement, Golden Son goes down hill again in Part 3.
Okay, saying it goes down hill is probably a little overly dramatic, but I feel it just gets a little bland as more cards are put on the table, a lot of off screen planning is made, and it’s just overall uninteresting.
Some of the earlier events kept me interested because the conflict is fully kicked off at this point and Darrow has once again pitted himself against the Golds and is attempting to do the impossible.
And that makes it exciting of course, but it’s what happens after Part 3 that’s really exciting.
It’s like making chocolate chip cookies. Getting all the ingredients together is a chore, but once you get the cookie dough, it’s heaven. But then you’ve got to clean up, and it’s a drag, but if it didn’t do all that work you wouldn’t get to enjoy those baked cookies at the very end.
Part 3 is the clean up phase. It’s where we’re cleaning up the crap mess Darrow left in Part 2, but the best is still yet to come.
The Second Up
But Part 4 is really where Golden Son shines.
Crap, it was so good that I finished the book at 1 AM and immediately had to buy Morning Star and start reading because I had to find out what happened.
I didn’t end up going to bed until 1:30, and I would have stayed up later had I not needed to be up at 6:30 AM. In fact, Morning Star is sooooo freaking amazing that I’m on Chapter 23 and I haven’t ceased to read it any chance I get.
But we’re not talking about Morning Star, we’re talking about Golden Son.
I don’t even remember what happens.
Darrow wins whatever he’s doing (minor spoiler, but seriously, it’s not a good book if the hero doesn’t overcome the difficulties right?), but it’s what comes after that took my breath away.
We finally get to see what happens when Darrow starts telling people he’s a Red.
And it’s not what you expect.
We also finally meet Ares.
And he’s not what you expect either.
By gosh. Just go read this book right now if you haven’t already.
4.5/5 stars despite the two lulls in the story.
Looking for more great books?
Check out my review of Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson