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Golden Son: Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy    by Pierce Brown order for
Golden Son
by Pierce Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Golden Son follows Red Rising as the second in Pierce Brown's fast-paced trilogy. In it, Reds are slaves in a future Mars, mining belowground and conditioned to believe that their sacrifices will give their descendants access to a terraformed surface. Darrow, a future Spartacus remade into the image of one of his people's Gold oppressors by the Sons of Ares (a resistance group), seeks to win their freedom.

In Red Rising, Darrow emerged from the Gold's Institute (where their young undergo horrific testing) as a Peerless Scarred. He allied with Mustang, beat the Jackal (the ArchGovernor's son), and made a deal with the devil to advance his cause. Golden Son continues in the same vein, filled with blood, battles, betrayals, and dizzying twists and turns of fate. Darrow has to work with his worst enemies simply to survive.

This time, he leads fleets of warships against the Sovereign herself, igniting civil war. He continues to 'drive friends away as though they were enemies'; is devastated by a revelation about his wife's death; finds out who resistance leader Ares is; and reveals his past to his beloved Mustang, despite all warnings from his friends. This episode ends on a cliffhanger, with all hope seemingly lost after one final, unexpected betrayal.

Golden Son is an adrenaline rush, just like its predecessor. Both read like action-packed video games, and Darrow continues to be torn between past and present loyalties, between his ultimate goal and the actions needed to achieve it. I can't wait to see how he survives this latest catastrophe!

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