10 Things About Golden Son

In the second installment of the Red Rising series, Darrow has climbed, clawed and cut his way into House Augustus and commands a fleet in a war game to prove the supremacy of his House and patron to the Sovereign.

But when the battle is lost and he is betrayed by House Bellonia, the Gold's rising star loses everything just as The Sons of Ares' rebellion begins to falter. 

Now Darrow reaches out to old allies and new in order to launch an audacious plan to create the uprising of the Colors he’s dreamed of since his wife’s death. But as his plan comes to fruition, his secret —that he is a Red masquerading as a Gold to bring down the system from within— is at risk of being exposed.

1. Can It Get Bigger? 

This question did come to mind after the first book. Because Red Rising is bloody epic. I often described it as Game of Thrones meets Hunger Games. (Or Battle Royal more accurately). And while its pretty obvious that there is more to come, you do get to this point where Darrow is standing astride the smoking ruins of the Academy with even the teachers and administrators dead or fleeing. Darrow makes a definitive statement. So what's next?

2. Well, There's the Rest of the Solar System...

Once you reach Golden Son you remember that the Academy was pretty much high school in this world. Real life starts now and it scales up exactly the same way. So if high school leading a rebellion against a false meritocracy and crushing its adherents, the what the hell is the real life gonna be like?

At the same time the story continues to be a strange 'coming of age' tale. Our hero Darrow left his childhood behind in the last book and is moving toward manhood. And manhood, in this instance, involves a trans planetary civil war.

3. Darrow: He Who Flips the Board: 

Darrow has a wonderful super power, if you wanna call it that. At every turn conflict arises because someone in power tries to use the system to thwart his efforts.  They bend the rules or throw them in his path or just ignore them but only when it suits those in power. And, most of the time, Darrow repsonds with some magnificent Judo and uses that same system against those looking to keep him down. 

That same quality persists in this book but instead of Society trying to prevent him from wining some schoolyard game, they are doing it to prevent this upstart kid from bringing down their entire society.

4. Darrow: He of Little Faith. 

And the other thing I love is that he remains a young man unsure of his place in the world. He embodies this fear I think a lot of people carry, especially when they are young. It is a fear of being called out as a fraud.

I mean he is a fraud strictly speaking. He is of the lowest Red class surgically enhanced to be a Gold, but still the idea is still there.

I, for one, very much identify with the feeling of being in the middle of a big project (a book lets say) and wondering, 'The fuck am I doing?' It goes hand in hand with the strange 'coming of age' aspect of this book and I found myself really enjoying Darrow's introspective moments in between, you know, single-handedly leading a rebellion of the Lowcolors or shooting himself out of a cannon through the hull of a star ship (yeah that's a thing).

5. On Friendship and Loyalty:

At this point Darrow's closest friends and even his lover are all Golds. They are the scions of the most powerful families in Society. They are, not to put too fine a point on it, the first up against the proverbial wall should he succeed.  And yet, at every turn he relies on a strange fanatical loyalty he seems to inspire wherever he goes. Part of his internal conflict is the fact that he intends to betray those who have given him everything they have. There is really no other way this can go. And as much as he hates the Golds and Society for taking away his wife and reducing his people to slaves, well, he is one of them.

6. On Race and Class: 

And in order to fight for house Augustus, serve his patron (and, you know bring this whole filthy society to the ground) he must tap into the simmering rage of the Lowcolors. But that itself it’s also a contradiction. The golds, even those who befit from the current uprising, have no interest in sharing power. And again he is caught playing two sides. One one hand he has to assure his friends and patron that raising up the so-called inferior colors is simply a means to an end. On the other, it is and it doesn't stop with one battle.

7. A House Divided: 

The end is as shocking as it is inevitable. Darrow must win the loyalty of his friends in order to ruin them. He must pretend to care nothing for the Lowcolors while pushing them toward revolution. And that conflict ends exactly the way it likely should. I'm not going to say any more except for.. holy shit.  If George R.R. Martin ever read it, I'm pretty sure he'd get an erection.

8. Our World of Red Rising: 

Like this pan-planetary autocratic system, our world is run by a corrupt class that is really only concern with their own station. That is their weakness but also a strength. For it would take a member of their class to essentially betray them and lead the revolution. And, as this book illustrates in grisly fashion, that doesn’t work out all the time. 

9. The Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

A brilliant continuation of the story. One definitely needs to read Red Rising first but it even if that book weren’t excellent, it would be worth getting through for this one.  It's action-packed and heartbreaking and profound and, well, just a hell of a ride. Somebody is going to pick this up and make a series out of this someday, mark my words. Check it out and enjoy being the smug son of a bitch who 'read the book first'.


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