Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Reports: Red Rising and Golden Son

I loved both of these books equally.  I got a tiny bit bogged down in the second book because there are a LOT of characters and a LOT of battle scenes, but seriously, they're both SO GOOD.  I guess it's pretty rare that the second is as good as the first- Insurgent and Catching Fire come to mind, along with the second Silo Book, so maybe it's not that rare?

Regardless, Brown nailed it.

Anyway, let's start with the first one.  From the back of the book: "The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda."

I heard about it on EW (naturally) and rereading his review after reading the book, he hit all the points.  Guess that's why he gave it an A-? Their reviews are pretty spot on for me, for the most part. Here's just a paraphrase of some of the things he had to say:  Sure, Brown has culled familiar elements — dystopian rituals, personality-based stratification, rebellious unrest, and plenty of flashy tech — but he’s woven the worn threads into a wholly fresh revenge tale that will send your imagination into hyperdrive....Darrow, edgy but immensely likable, is an easy guy to root for...Brown’s best move is eschewing some of the more tired tropes of dystopian YA (read: no horrific love triangle), instead creating disarmingly real friendships and high-stakes rivalries...

Sounds amazing, right? Here's what I had to say right after I finished the last page: Oh man. This book was GOOD. Like stay up till four and read the entire thing in one go good. I got a little confused bc there's a LOT of characters, and I have a thing about not using contractions, but other than that, five stars. I literally can't sleep bc I'm too excited to get the next one.

What it boils down to (for me) was that it was realistic (as realistic as this sort of life on mars sci fi super human bullshit type story can be...) and Darrow was EXTREMELY likeable.  He wasn't an idiot, he wasn't a blind idealist, he wasn't unrealistic in his strive to do the right thing, if that makes sense.  Like, wanting to change the world just to make it better? I have a hard time swallowing that type of character, they never ring true for me.

I think this passage sums up Darrow and the backbone of the story for me, and it's not much of a spoiler, his wife's death is like the main plot point:

He wants his wife back.  He misses her, he thinks it's unfair.  He goes into the whole rebellion thing because he thought she would like it, and that's all well and good, go humanity, go revolution, but when it comes down to it, he wants his wife back.  And that's never gonna happen.


I was lucky (??) that by the time I got the first one, it was almost time for Golden Son, so I didn't have to wait very long.  From the back of the bookGolden 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.

The same dude wrote the EW review for this one, but I'll spare you the paraphrase, go read it if you want, it's fab.  He liked this one better, it got a full A instead of the A- and here's what I said right after I was finished: Man, what a follow up. SO GOOD. I got bogged down bc there's a LOT of battles and space crap, but as a whole, this was absolutely amazing. And I especially love how it's taking YEARS. Most books about these sorts of rebellions happen quickly, and while I don't actually know anything about rebellions, I feel like they'd probably take years. Man this book was good. Highly recommend it. I'm only docking a star bc seriously, so much battle.

I don't agree that it was BETTER, necessarily, but it was AS GOOD, and it was a much different type of story.

It starts off with a bang and doesn't slow down the entire time, this passage is near the beginning, and you know how I love it when authors hit the nail on the head about the horrors of humanity.

Lemme say it again to really drive it home.  Darrow says to himself amazing the power you have when you're bloody up to the sleeves and none of it is your own. Shiver.

And then, of course, the horrors of war itself.

The character doesn't exist anymore... I thought I knew horror.  I didn't.  More men died in the last minute THAN I'VE EVER EVEN KNOWN... This is war.  Chaos. Chance.  Death. 


My favorite thing about these books, though, is that they're taking place over YEARS.  I feel like revolutions WOULD take years, you know? It wouldn't happen overnight.  But actually, I don't really know anything about that sort of thing, so who knows. I also love that he makes sure to get the point across that chance plays a huge part in life.  He doesn't just let all the favorite characters live and the bad guys die- it's chance who gets hit and who doesn't.  And that just rings true to me too.

Anyway.  Both of these are Drop Everything And Read type books, but you really have to read the first one first.  Then hit me up so we can talk about it.  Be sure to finish them both first though bc as Angela can tell you, I'm a total asshole and spoil huge plotpoints sometimes.  Ugh.  Sorry Angela!!!

Ya'll reading anything good lately?

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with prompt #3- book report.  Obvs.


  1. Good reviews! These are out of the genres I usually read but perhaps I need to step out of my comfort zone! Stopping by from Mama Kat's!

    1. They are SO GOOD!!! I don't even know what genre to say they are- they're not really science fiction, and they're not really young adult. No clue. But they're FABULOUS.