Golden Son - Pierce Brown [Red Rising Trilogy]
Original Review: March 18, 2017
I don't know why this relief didn't hit me while I was reading the first book in this trilogy, but I find myself relieved that there is no jumping from character to character. There were bare hints at a subplot in the first book, and I feel those were sufficiently fleshed out and handled in this the second.
It also struck me, where it didn't before, that in all of the Carving and teaching they did to make Darrow into a Gold, certain things - such as the matter of being the "brightest of humankind" - came from him, from Darrow, not from the Carving. A point to the message of the book, perhaps?
But I was disappointed again early on. While the transitions have become almost seamless, Brown has stayed predictable. Darrow has repeated the same mistake he made at the beginning of Red Rising - except this time the consequences of his assumptions cost him human lives instead of just his pride.
And Darrow? He's full of faults. Full of them. Makes it really hard to sympathize with him, especially when he starts naming them himself. He doesn't even vie for justice anymore, early on. It takes a good portion of the story for him to even start thinking Justice again. He begins this story in a very, very dark place.
I daresay all of the predictability has come from this plot being one repeated and recycled throughout the decades of Science Fiction literature. Politics - it's always about politics. Politics, the suppression of humankind in a "slave class", a singular hero chosen to fight against the brutality of the Empire... oh, I'm sorry. I mean The Society.
Despite all that, however, the writing is very much redeemed. I'm watching a movie inside my head. T his is where it become actions & sci-fi with characters and cause I can cheer for and get behind and wish the best for, as opposed to your standard dystopian mush. Here is where I can start being eager and surprised and feeling sly and cunning on Darrow's behalf. Where he was physically carved in Red Rising, here he becomes Carved in a different way. The boy from Red Rising is no more.
Unfortunately, many others who play a vital role - do not change at all. Not in any way vital to the story.
In Golden Son, it is the action that waxes and wanes. From natural and cinematic, to stiff and full. The one thing that managed to surprise me - really surprise me - so far, was worth all of the predictability. At that moment, I was eagerly awaiting the final book in this trilogy, for all it's faults.
But Brown completely obliterated the surprise, and any chance of me reading book 3 along with it.
The end of Golden Son unravels the entire story so far. And...
We still don't know.
We get to the end of Golden Son, and we still don't know why the dance, and why the song, are killable offenses! And I'm so bloodydamned disappointed by the ending, and by the lack of creativity as whole in the first two books, that I'm not even going to bother with the third to see if there's finally given an explanation there! It's reading more and more as a plot device and nothing more. And I hate ASB's.
Brown's got major talent as an author - there's no mistake about that. It shows during the parts of these books that are paced well, immersive, and he definitely knows how to hook a reader. My biggest disappointment is, knowing this, he comes across as lazy because his brilliance is not consistent.
I am encouraged that the release date for his next book is being pushed to allow for some fine-tuning. That being said, I hope that it doesn't fall victim to over-editing. I can see where that may have played a role in this trilogy.