#1.) Red Rising ★★★
Okay, let me shout this from on top of my roof real quick before I start reviewing this: this series is very much not a YA series, but is an ADULT series that has a lot of violence, gore, and cruelty throughout it. It is honestly almost the equivalent of calling ASOIAF a YA series, because it so happens to have some young adults in it.
For those of you unfamiliar with Red Rising, even though I feel like I was the only one left at this point, in this world that takes place in our universe, starring a young man from Mars, everyone is subdivided into color categories based on their skill sets, income, hair color, and what last name they possess (information provided by the Red Rising Wiki page):
• Golds – Rulers of society
• Silvers – Financiers and businessmen
• Whites – The clergy
• Coppers – Administrators, lawyers and bureaucrats
• Blues – Astronavigators of ships
• Yellows – Doctors and scientists
• Greens – Programmers and developers
• Violets – The creative class such as artists
• Oranges – Mechanics
• Grays – Law-enforcement, security, military and other armed personnel
• Browns – Servants
• Obsidians – “Monstrous race only bred for war”
• Pinks – Pleasure slaves
• Reds – The unskilled and menial laborers
Darrow, that young man that was born and raised in the mines of Mars as a Red, has some pretty traumatic things happen to him in Red Rising that has lead to him being the main tool in a rebellion for equality among the colors. Obviously, the Golds and some higher-ups are not willing to just roll over and let this happen, so many of the important families are trying to stop this rebellion before it even truly begins.
“For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.”
I enjoyed this immensely more than Red Rising! Gone are the The Hunger Games vibes, and this story really came into its own with a very unique and addicting plot with a crazy enjoyable cast of characters.
I’m going to make this review just a spoiler-free gush about some of the characters, because they really are the shining light of this elaborate tale, and I feel like this book was very much just setting up for Morning Star, while continuing just to break my heart and make me cry over and over. Also, all reviewers know that middle books are always the hardest to review, so here we are!
And yes, I see why you all love Sevro now. He was, for me, the start of this book. Learning about his family and past, all the twists and turns, seeing his heart break, knowing his heart is going to break, it was the highlight of this whole book for me. Also, for my WoW friends, Sevro totally always reminds me of Durotan, and not just because of the wolf pelts (though it does help, let’s be real)!
Also, with the heart breaking, cliffhanger, ASOIAF -feeling, ending about killed me. Honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever read and then been left alone with, because it was the last page. I’m not sure how you all waited a year for Morning Star, but you are all the true MVPS here. Yeah, not even Brad Pitt in Se7en prepared me.
My heart also belonged to Lorn throughout this book. Seeing his grandchildren of all the different colors just sang to my very soul. He was also so willing to give up everything to protect Darrow. Seriously such an amazing character and such a wonder father figure that Darrow so badly needed.
“A boy throws stones. A fool steals kisses. A man gives his heart.”
Then Darrow’s mother…. Lord, my heart. The tea scene was probably my second favorite part of this entire book. I don’t have children yet, but I imagine most mothers would be very much like her, and it just broke me to tears, but happy tears.
My favorite scene was with the stained, freed, Obsidian, Ragnar Volarus. The monologues from him and with him were alone almost able for me to give Gold Son five stars. He is such a pure reflection of our very own humanity, and the terrible things we as humans do to other humans. I tear up just thinking about him, and how he is such a perfect little cinnamon roll after everything he’s been through.
“Godchild Andromedus, I am Ragnar Volarus, the Stained firstborn of my mother, Alia Snowsparrow of the Valkyrie Spires north of the Dragon’s Spine, south of the Fallen City, where the Winged Horror flies, brother of Sefi the Quiet, breaker of Tanos, which once stood by the water, and I make you an offering of stains.”
The other little cinnamon roll of this story is Pax’s dad, Kavax, and his jellybean eating little fox, Sophocles! Ahhhh! Seriously, cuteness overload. I was so happy to see and learn about Pax’s family in this book! It was such an unexpected pure joy-filled surprise! Please, keep them safe at any cost!
I still like Cassius, I know I’m sick, but I just feel like his actions are also so believable and understandable, especially if someone is setting up Darrow for him, which is so easy from what Darrow has already done and lied about to him. I do believe Cassius will come through at the end of this trilogy, but Lord, I’m still not over the ending of this freakin’ book!
“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair.”
And the Jackal is just on a whole other level. What a villain; a bad, broken, evil, corrupt, selfish, manipulating, villain. I mean, if you think he was bad in Red Rising at the war games, you are in for a treat with Golden Son.
Also, because it needs to be said, Roque is stupid.
Pierce Brown really excels in writing characters. Even though this book is filled with war, intergalactic-hardships, slavery, friendships, betrayal, revenge, and more the heart of this story and this world are all these amazingly crafted characters. It was so easy for me to just pour my heart out and type away all these things about these people, because Pierce Brown has me so heavilyy invested with each and every one of them.
Needless to say, I cannot wait to begin Morning Star, and I’m sorry if this review isn’t completely coherent, but I promise if you read the ending of Golden Son and then try to write a review right afterwards, it will probably look something like this mess. I mean, who needs to be processed and composed while reviewing a book, when you can be ugly crying and fangirling?
“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”