Book Review: Red Rising & Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Posted November 19, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

Book Review: Red Rising & Golden Son by Pierce BrownRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising,
Published by Random House Publishing Group on July 15th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Dystopian
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780345539809
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks


"Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow."--Scott Sigler

  Pierce Brown's relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

  "I live for you," I say sadly.

  Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

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. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow--and Reds like him--are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power.

He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising is the first book in his Red Rising trilogy about a man trying to free his people from slavery. Darrow is that young man. Born as a Red, the lowest caste in a color-coded society, forced to mine Mars for colonization. Like the Reds around him, Darrow doesn’t realize he’s a slave. He thinks his service is for the good of mankind, and that he’s helping to build a better world for future generations. However, a personal tragedy changes his life forever.

I really like Darrow. I think he’s a great protagonist for Brown to pin his story on. Darrow begins the book as just an ordinary guy. He’s married to his childhood sweetheart, surrounded by friends and family, and has a job he loves. Despite the harsh conditions he’s living in, Darrow is an optimist. Over the course of the book we see him transformed from a guy hopeful for the future, to one who’s become bitter and seeking revenge. Darrow’s temper is his Achille’s heel, and has a tendency to get him into situations, that his intelligence would have him avoid.

As Darrow strives for justice, he finds himself infiltrating the Institute, a training program for elite Golds. Golds are the highest caste in the society, and only their elite make it into the Institute. I really enjoyed this part of the book, because it kind of reminded me of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF). At the Institute, Darrow meets people his age that come from powerful families that he might be able to use or befriend in his cause for justice. My favorites of his classmates were Sevro and Mustang, who both compliment Darrow’s character.

Pierce Brown writes a captivating story that hooked me immediately. The action scenes are really well-written, and allowed me to visualize them in my mind as if I was there. His characters are extremely well-developed, and the plot is filled with intrigue, suspense, and a little bit of horror. This was one book I couldn’t put down. I would recommend Red Rising to fans of George R. R. Martin’s ASoIaF, Frank Herbert’s Dune, or maybe even Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games.

Book Review: Red Rising & Golden Son by Pierce BrownGolden Son by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising,
Published by Random House Publishing Group on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Hard Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780345539830
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks


With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender's Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown's genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow's kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds--and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love--but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind's destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution--and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo's principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

The second book in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son, picks up a year after Red Rising. Darrow has now infiltrated the upper echelons of Gold society, working towards starting a revolution that will make the “low” colors more equal. Despite having grown close to Mustang since the Institute, Darrow still wants revenge for what happened to him. However, the higher Darrow climbs, the more enemies he makes

In some ways I think Golden Son was a superior book to Red Rising, but it also was more infuriating. Darrow showed a lot of growth over the course of the first book, yet in the second he kept falling into the same traps. The mistakes he made were dangerous. Not only to himself, but also to those around him. Some of the traps he walked into made sense, but other didn’t. The other characters in the story stayed true to they were time and time again, yet Darrow seemed to get amnesia. Golden Son caused me to yell at the book more than any I’ve read in a while.

One of the aspects of the book I really liked was the Ender’s Game feel to the story. While book one took place on Mars, Golden Son, mostly took place in space. The change of setting provided a different kind of danger for the characters, and upped the stakes for the final installment. I also liked the new characters (good and bad) that were introduced, and the wold building seemed even more on point with the story

Trying to write a spoiler less review of this book is difficult, as so much happened in it. It’s actually taking me days to think over everything that happened. In fact, my jaw still remains on the floor with the amount of events that took place in Golden Son. Thankfully, Morning star will be released in only a few months.

Have you read these books? If so, what was your favorite/least favorite parts? Sound off in the comments below!

About Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating from college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate campaign. Now he lives Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.


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2 responses to “Book Review: Red Rising & Golden Son by Pierce Brown

    • @Angelized_1st

      I found it to be a better book in many ways than Red Rising, but not in others. Darrow’s character arc was way better in Red Rising. I can’t wait to see what you think after you finish it.

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