Time for part two of February book reviews! (Now that it’s almost halfway through March…better late than never, eh?)
“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….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.” – via Goodreads
This was a re-read for me, and I enjoyed it so much more the second time around. Mainly because the beginning just isn’t that great, but this time around I knew how good it would get. The plot begins as a pretty standard trope…poor people slaving away while the pretty rich people rule. It’s a theme that’s been done many times; the inequality between classes. And nothing about this made it particularly interesting or new for the first few chapters. However, I am so incredibly happy that I stuck with it because this book (and series) is excellent.
As the book continues, the main character Darrow finds out the extent of the injustice to his class of people (Reds) and joins a rebel group aimed at taking down the top class (Golds). And this is when the book kicks into high gear and becomes hard to put down. Watching Darrow’s transformation from Red to Gold was fascinating, though brutal, and what he goes through both physically and emotionally throughout the book as he learns what it is to be a Gold was so well done. I love his inner conflict, because it’s so real. The struggle of sticking to his true mission while realizing that many Golds aren’t so bad and even become his friends; I loved every second of it. In fact all the characters are so well written.
The book does have a lot of action in it, which often results in some brutal violence, but it never felt excessive. None of it ever felt like it was without reason, even when it was truly harsh. It really drove home just how different the life and thinking of a Gold is from the other classes.
The class system is actually one of my favorite things in this series. The different colors (which represent your class) really aren’t all equal. The Golds are truly superior beings to the lowest class (Reds) both physically and mentally. They are bred that way. And they are also bred so that they can’t interbreed between colors, keeping the Golds at the top pure, and others stuck in their class colors. I really liked the fact that this wasn’t just a case of the high class being rich, and if the lower people just rise up then things will be equal. Having a truly superior class added a unique element not only to the plot, but also to Darrow’s perspective on everything as he realized just how powerful Golds really were, and how amazing that power felt.
Overall, this book was excellent. I was so swept up in both the story and Darrow’s character, though really all the character’s are excellent. It’s something I absolutely recommend (though if you aren’t too comfortable with violence, perhaps steer clear!)
“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.” – via Goodreads
Book two of the Red Rising trilogy kicks off quite awhile after the end of book one. Darrow is now well established in Gold society having found a House to apprentice in. But within the first few pages, he is epically shamed and loses his position. Losing out on this position throws his plans of bringing down the Golds/standard society into turmoil.
This book was SO GOOD. While still set in the same world, there was so much more to learn about as you saw Darrow fully immersed in the Gold lifestyle. I loved that this book was not just a repeat of what happened in book one; so much of it was new and fresh, all while heading in a direction that makes perfect sense for the overarching plot. Darrow’s character progression in this book was just excellent, as he learns that if he is truly going to be a catalyst for change in the society, he can’t do it alone. Watching him slowly change people’s way of thinking and defy expectations was fascinating. The character’s in this book are just brilliant, as they were in Red Rising. Each one, even those that don’t play huge parts, are just so incredibly real and human.
Golden Son also gives a lot more perspective to the other color classes. You learn more about colors you already knew from book one, and encounter some that are new (most notably Obsidians). Learning even further how truly different each class is and what their upbringing and breeding is like was fascinating. I still love the idea the classes are truly different, not just ruled by fear and tradition; it gives this series such a unique perspective.
This book was also incredibly stressful. Probably one of the most stressful things I’ve read in awhile. As things progress Darrow (and so many other characters from book one you know and love) end up in dire situations that absolutely had me on the edge of my seat, sweating, and mentally panicking about how he was going to get out of it. And the ending. I can’t even. I’m still not over it. Suffice to say, I’ll be reading book three, Morning Star, as soon as possible!
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