Written By: Pierce Brown
Narrated By: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Publisher: Recorded Books
Date: January 2015
Duration: 19 hours 7 minutes
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Golden Son Audio book Summary
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 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. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.
Golden Son is a 2015 science fiction novel by American author Pierce Brown, the second in his Red Rising trilogy.
The sequel to 2014’s Red Rising, Golden Son continues to follow lowborn Darrow’s plan to destroy the Society from within. It debuted at #6 on The New York Times Best Seller list and won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction.
The third novel, Morning Star, was published in February 2016.
Golden Son Audiobooks Reviews
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
I loved the first installment of the Red Rising trilogy as a faithful recreation of a 1940s cheesy-pulp Space Opera. The story was an exciting, fast-paced Bildungsroman as Darrow, a Red youth, was transformed into a Gold superman. In this future, society is stratified into color-coded occupations with Gold at the top and Reds at the bottom. Darrow is run through the survival of the fittest experience of the Institution where Gold youth murder, betray, enslave, and rape each other to win. The first installment had a lot in common with a lot of YA dystopian novels.
This book takes a step into space. Darrow is a lancer of House Augustus and he experiences failures. He is outsmarted and out-politicked by the tigers who make up society (and the Society with a capital “S.”) Facing total disaster, he starts to fight back, but while he is winning the game, he is moving away from old friends.
The pace of this book is fast. The action is in the edge of seat category. Fighting and action threads its way through this book. I thought that Brown’s description of a space battle was intoxicating. That description involves an “Iron Rain” where millions of men are individually dropped to landing sites while limpet ships thread their way past “Ripwing” fighters to attach themselves to capital ships where boarding parties hope to drill their way into the ship for hand to hand fighting.
I listened to this as a book on tape and the description of the space battle captured my imagination in way that seldom happens:
“Fire and lightning rule space. Behemoths of metal belch missiles back and forth, silently pounding one another with all the weapons of man. The silence of it, so eerie, so strange. Great veils of flak explode around the ships, cloaking them in fury, almost like raw cotton tossed into the wind. RipWings and wasps buzz at one another, pissing streams of gunfire. They nip and slice at carapaces of metal, fighting in a dense giant cloud. In little packs they slip from their chaotic fights, spiraling silently toward clusters of leechCraft as the destroyers and carriers launch their troop transports across space in undulating waves. It’s a game of boarding parties. Over, under, and through the curtains of flak the leeches go, seeking a hull to clamber onto so they can pump their deadly cargo into the belly of crucial ships, like flies dropping larvae into open wounds. All flown by Blues raised to do only this one thing. Bellona craft pass those of Augustus, waves overlapping, breaking on one another.
All in silence.”
Another feature I liked was near the end where we started getting some of the philosophy that undergirds the soicty that is the strange, mutated descendant of our own. Nero au Augustus explains his motivations as follows:
“He nods as if I’ve proven his point. “And that is why I exist. I know that Blues can command fleets. I know Obsidians can use technology, lead men. That the quickest Orange could, if given a proper chance, be a fine pilot. Reds could be soldiers, or musicians, or accountants. Some few—very few—Silvers could write novels, I wager. But I know what it would cost us. Order is paramount to our survival.
“Humanity came out of hell, Darrow. Gold did not rise out of chance. We rose out of necessity. Out of chaos, born from a species that devoured its planet instead of investing in the future. Pleasure over all, damn the consequences. The brightest minds enslaved to an economy that demanded toys instead of space exploration or technologies that could revolutionize our race. They created robots, neutering the work ethic of mankind, creating generations of entitled locusts. Countries hoarded their resources, suspicious of one another. There grew to be twenty different factions with nuclear weapons. Twenty—each ruled by greed or zealotry.
“So when we conquered mankind, it wasn’t for greed. It wasn’t for glory. It was to save our race. It was to still the chaos, to create order, to sharpen mankind to one purpose—ensuring our future. The Colors are the spine of that aim. Allow the hierarchies to shift and the order begins to crumble. Mankind will not aspire to be great. Men will aspire to be great.”
Earlier in the book, there was a casual mentioning of the nuking of the English Isles. Put that in the context of this speech, and you can see something underlying what would otherwise be merely another showpiece dystopia.
There were features in the book, I didn’t like. Darrow has a tendency to lapse into mordant self-abnegation where he blames himself for the deaths of friends. These moments are turned on and off for effect. Likewise, he has the magical ability to inspire loyalty at the drop of a hat, but this last trait is more than offset by the betrayals he experiences in this book.
This is the tent line between the first and last books. This book follows a chiastic structure: the low rise and high fall. This is not surprising for a trilogy that is called “Red Rising.” Darrow’s story is obviously one of Darrow going from the lowest of the low to the pinnacle of society.
This book follows the structure, but in this book, Darrow starts high and falls.
We see, therefore, that Darrow is not a Mary Sue character. Bad things happen to him. He has had a lot of lucky breaks, but there will come a time when luck and determination depart, and the hero is facing disaster, otherwise, things are too easy.
This is the book that tells that part of the epic.
I look forward to seeing the rest of that story.
Listen To Golden Son Audio books
Golden Son debuted at #6 on The New York Times Best Seller list, and won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction. Marc Snetiker of Entertainment Weekly gave the novel an A, calling it “gripping” and noting that “Darrow au Andromedus will break your heart.” He added:
With Golden Son, Brown avoids the sophomore slump, charging the novel with the kind of dystopia-toppling action you’d expect in a trilogy ender, not a middle volume. On virtually every level, this is a sequel that hates sequels—a perfect fit for a hero who already defies the tropes … This isn’t a retread of the first book’s winning formula; Brown opts to surprise instead of satisfy, which is why certain delicious curveballs will blast readers out of orbit.
Publishers Weekly called the novel “twisty” and noted that hero Darrow “is forced to manipulate both friend and foe, a burden described vividly and to great effect … Dramatic battles with a real sense of loss, and a final chapter that slams into both Darrow and the reader, make this the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment.”
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