For those of you like me who couldn’t help but zero in on the obvious comparisons between Red Rising and The Hunger Games, fear not! Golden Son is definitely not another Catching Fire.
…Because Pierce Brown went right to Mockingjay.
I’m kidding! Well, mostly. Let’s just say that Brown widened the scope out quite a bit from the games of the Institute Darrow survived in book one, looking to the oppressive society on the whole; looking to war.
Oh man, I might not have been ready for the resistance to kick into high gear quite like it does in book 2, but our protagonist sure is. Matter of fact, Darrow is almost too ready. It must be all that training he did to become a Gold, because the obstacles that would move to impede Darrow’s progression, obstacles that should cause any protagonist to stumble in his story’s plot, were nothing to worry about. Seriously, Darrow always seems to have an answer to everything, being steps ahead of the opposing forces, as well as the reader. Sure, this leads to a lot of surprises as the narrative is often anything but predictable, and boy does the momentum keep on going at a steady pace, but my goodness, a rebellion should not be this easy!
Ok, maybe it isn’t actually THAT easy when thinking of all the major plot points in Golden Son, I’m just not used to feeling outside the action this much, whether it be major events happening off the page or not being let in on the plans. I’m used to reacting in time with a protagonist when it comes to novels, instead of feeling so detached from the narrator’s thought process so often. A plan is made, we’re aware of it, something happens to cause the plan to succeed or fail, and we’re along for all of it. We’re definitely not kept in the dark, not this much…
All that said, there are still moments of struggle and I’m always excited to see Darrow adapt, to see his inner monologue adapt. So much of it in book one and two is about his thoughts of doing everything for Eo and her dream, not being able to truly be with Mustang, the importance of the cause… that’s all well and good, but it would be nice to see Darrow be his own person. To evolve past these same repetitive thoughts, especially when so many of the other characters surrounding him are so interesting. Arguably more interesting than Darrow, as much as I don’t want to say it.
All that said, the problems I have with Golden Son pale in comparison to how much I enjoyed the novel. The story of love and fighting for a better society are nothing new in the YA genre, but Brown kept his story from feeling stale. And hopefully he’s able to wrap things up nicely in book 3, something that hasn’t been accomplished in a lot of the series I’ve been reading lately. Don’t let me down, Brown!
‘Off the Shelf” is my new series of non-new release book reviews, because it was just too sad to call this “Lauren’s One Person Book Club.” If you have any book recommendations please leave a comment below, or share them with me on twitter @BewareOfTrees.