Golden Son, by Pierce Brown, is the second book in the Red Rising trilogy and continues where Red Rising left off. Darrow is nearing the end of his time at the Academy and has only one final battle to complete before emerging as victorious. Unfortunately, due to outside interference his victory does not quite go as planned and afterward he finds himself not quite knowing what to do. If Red Rising was the story of earning his position in society, Golden Son is the story of how to keep it amidst the machinations and intrigue. More and more in this book we see Darrow coming to the realization that Gold is not all it cracks up to be and yet he continues on, the revolution must take place to right the wrongs that Gold has committed.
What I love about this book is that now we start to see confusion seeping through Darrow. While he remembers his past, he also loves his present circumstances. Darrow is a young man who bears a large burden willingly, yet still yearns to cast it aside. He sees the friends he made as a Gold at the institute and does not want to betray them, as a result, he drives them away, trying to keep his distance to keep his purpose and duty clear. Unfortunately, it seems that Darrow did not learn his lesson in Red Rising, that friends make better followers than begrudging allies. Darrow’s strength is his ability to motivate those around him, to inspire them to follow him due to his strength of character and innate goodness. When Darrow loses sight of this by driving his friends away because he is ‘sure’ that they will hate his true self, he opens himself up for the disaster and chaos that ensues as he orchestrates a rebellion amongst the Gold to create an environment where he can achieve his ultimate purpose of freeing the Reds, and others like them, from their captivity.
The cliffhanger at the end of this book just made me want to scream. I always hate when I find a trilogy that grips my attention before it is all complete. The suspense is the worst. While I did not find Golden Son near as good as Red Rising, it is still a great book that sets the stage for the ultimate conclusion in the final book of the trilogy Morning Star. If you enjoy dystopian novels a la Hunger Games and Divergent, you will love this book. I am giving Golden Son 4.5/5 stars and advise that you read it at your earliest convenience.