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Golden Son
by Pierce Brown
Del Rey, $25.00, 442pp
Published: January 2015

This is the second in a new trilogy called Red Rising Trilogy.  Click here for the review of the first book, Red Rising.

After Darrow survived the training academy, he is further tested in war games but his meteoric rise is cut short when the Bellonas successfully ambush his training ship and he barely escapes with his life.  His patron, Augustus, disowns him and Darrow finds himself on the streets with no protection from the murderous Bellonas.    Friendless (or so he thinks) and on the run, Darrow is rescued by none other than Ares himself – well, his minions, anyway.  No one ever sees Ares; no one is even sure if he is a man.  Ares is the head of the rebellion.   Darrow is captured by the corrupt Sovereign, a woman whose ego exceeds her grasp. He then determines that his next step to realizing his dead wife’s dream is to take down the Sovereign.  In his usual inimitable way, Darrow gathers up his loyal friends and convinces his ex-patron, Augustus, that he can overthrow the Sovereign on Luna, and give control of the entire Society to Augustus and Mars.  But the traits that inspire almost fanatical loyalty are the same traits that will get him destroyed if anyone knows his origins.  However, when one of his coterie does discover the truth and still maintains both his loyalty and friendship, Darrow dares to believe it possible that Mustang will also accept his origins.  Mustang – the one who now owns his heart – is the one person to whom he owes the truth above all others.  But, as the daughter of Augustus, she could be the one to crash all his dreams and plans – or help him succeed.

The action flows every which way in this book, much like the tides of battle.  And, like the first book, this is mostly a protracted battle.  Again, I commend the author on his excellent characters and interesting plot.  I do detect more-than-subtle influences of Hunger Games in this story structure.  But the level of writing is decidedly more than Young Adult.  It isn’t a terribly original idea: low caste hero with a Jesus-complex is worshipped as a savior and intends to save everyone.  But it is done well.  And the world-building is interesting as is the backstory history.  I’ll be sticking around for the finale.  ~~ Catherine Book

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