Before my holiday I read and reviewed Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
Three days in and I finished the second in the trilogy, Golden Son, (which feels like forever ago now, let me tell you.) but I’m finally getting around to posting this review! I’ve been so busy I’m behind in my reading challenge, and it was difficult to separate this book from the third and final in the series, seeing as I read them pretty much straight after one another.
So here goes! Spoilers. Big ones.
- I know I said it for the last book as well, but characters. Pierce Brown is great at crafting a whole host of characters that you just can’t help but love, even when they’re not in it that much (more Orion being uber sassy please!) Speaking of Orion, I feel like we got a bit more in the way of female character development. Orion is awesome, Victra is unapologetic, Aja is deadly, and Mustang is the most well-rounded of the bunch, managing to tread the line between badass genius and conflicted lover.
- Death count: don’t get me wrong, I was devastated as we lost a whole wealth of characters throughout Golden Son. It was unforgiving (I fear Morning Star will be much the same!), but I find the author’s willingness to kill anyone greatly refreshing. I like the stakes to be high, tension isn’t tension when you know the main characters are all going to survive because that’s how many books go. One big death maybe, and the rest are saved. Not here. This is a book about war, it’s inconceivable that all your main favourites will survive. Saying that, if anything happens to Sevro I may quit reading out of sheer nope.
- That ending. Now I will try not to spoil it too much for you, but the ending is madness. This is the second book of a trilogy and the ending is a giant cliffhanger shocker. I wasn’t expecting it. I mean, towards the very end I felt like something was up. It was concluding too early, and then shit went down.I think it’s an amazing writing choice. Most books in this vein would have concluded, to pick up again in the next instalment, but this book shoves you off a precipice and leaves you hanging. I’m so glad I bought the third one away with me otherwise I would be fuming. I can only imagine the rage from fans that had to wait an entire year for the next book to be published!
- Darrow (our main protagonist) actually annoyed me quite a bit during this book. For parts of it I found him self-obsessed and overly dramatic. Also arrogant. The arrogance is noted in the text, he takes to the self-importance of being Gold rather well, and his absolute disbelief when he sucks at something or loses something almost feels rewarding because you think he’ll learn – but he doesn’t. He’s told throughout that he’s pushing his friends away – does he do anything about it? No. Even when he notes that power is useless if your closest friends can turn on you. He frequently recognises that he’s alienating those close to him and does absolutely fuck all about it. The whole story sometimes feels like he thinks it’s The Darrow Show (I know he’s the main character, I’m referring to his own self-obsessed drama llama tendencies). Even when his friends die, he seems to feel guilt more than grief.
- Cassius. Just be friends now please.
Darrow duelling with Cassius. God I wish these two could be friends again, but that moment is just great.
“‘Oh?’ I laugh. ‘Did you think I came here to be killed? Did you think yourself entitled to my life? No, Cassius. I came here to cut you down before your parents.'”
Again, unsurprisingly, Sevro dominates my favourite lines. I think I have a book crush.
“‘You’re a sinister little shit, aren’t you?’ Victra asks.
‘I’m Gold, bitch. What’d you expect? Warm milk and cookies just because I’m pocket sized?'”
“Anyway, all he’s partial to sending is holograms of uniquely perverted unicorns and video clips of him reading puns. Pluto, if anything, has made him stranger.”
“‘Protect the ArchGovernor!’ Mustang shouts at me, voice more composed than my own, making me feel an idiot obsessed with chivalry. Of course she does not need me to save her.”
Of course she doesn’t, because she’s Mustang.
Out of Ten:
Nine. Because I had to put it down to pick up the next one and find out what happened after that ending.
Can you tell I liked this? I was much happier with Brown’s female characters this turn round – my main (but minor) gripe from the last book. There was also no slow introductory beginning, we were just wham straight into the action, and what fast-paced action it was. Sometimes I needed to stop a second and gather my thoughts and figure out what the hell was going on. I have a bad habit of speed-reading when I get excited, but speed-reading a book that moves this fast can be confusing, just one sentence missed and you’re lost.
I maintain that one of Brown’s best writing features are his characters. For a plot that moves so fast, we are introduced to – and quickly get attached to – new faces, yet they don’t feel new or forced in so that Brown can continue his murderous streak. Though it’s good that there is a steady influx of friends, as he’s ruthless in his assassinations and I love it and hate it at the same time.
Basically read this. Well, read Red Rising, and then read this! (Then read Morning Star, which will feature here next.)