Friday, February 27, 2015

Red Rising Series Shines In Golden Son

The Red Rising Trilogy by newcomer Pierce Brown shows no sign of slowing down in its second installment. Golden Son: Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy is everything the immersive debut was and then some as the theater expands beyond the academy and spreads across the solar system.

The trilogy is the story of a miner who is part of a space faring civilization built upon a color-coded caste system that is dominated by genetically enhanced and augmented leaders called Golds. Miners, in contrast, are considered the lowest of the lowest caste of the civilization or Reds. They work as slaves beneath the surface of Mars, believing they are among the planet's first settlers when, in fact, the entire planet was terraformed several generations ago.

The tragic protagonist, Darrow, learns the truth shortly after suffering a great personal loss in the first book Red Rising and an underground insurgence called the Sons of Ares recruits him for an impossible assignment. The Sons persuade Darrow to be biologically retooled and mentally trained to blend in as the Golds he has come to loathe so he may infiltrate their ranks as part of a bigger plan.

An unpredictable thriller where loyalties are made, bought, and broken.  

Two years after successfully infiltrating the elite academy and earning his place among the Golds, Darrow is still playing war games with the various families and factions that rule the solar system. This time the games take place in space as maturing Golds aim to prove themselves as fleet commanders capable of increasing the prestige of their family.

Although Darrow is a brilliant academy commander, a single misstep causes his patron to withdraw their support and eventually strip him of his affiliation For Darrow, it is a double loss in that he not only loses his hard-won post as a peerless commander, but also his growing influence that he planned to one day wield as a weapon against the cruel, brutal and decadent society that reigns over mankind.

But just as all seems to be lost for Darrow, two major houses begin a feud that quickly erupts into a civil war, providing him an opportunity to once again earn his place as an indispensable commander. But even as he does, Darrow is forced to confront other challenges as different Golds set new agendas in motion, the Sons of Ares splinters, and Darrow forces those closest to him to pass the ultimate test of loyalty by asking them to accept and guard his greatest secret.

In a story that sometimes mirrors the unexpected alliances and betrayals that occurred during the collapse of the Roman Empire, Golden Son navigates wars being waged between families, within families, and the internal struggles people face in choosing friend or foe, kindred spirit or nemesis. Even Darrow, though steadfast in his convictions, is continually tested to choose between his head and his heart — the interests of the those who put him there or those who now surround him.

A few more graphs about Pierce Brown and his inventive world. 

From a brief stint as an NBC page to his work as an aide on a U.S. Senate campaign, Pierce Brown had just the right life experience and determination to bring his trilogy to life. The self-described science fiction nerd who used to fantasize about ruling kingdoms as he and his friends built forts and set traps as part of their own war games leaves few details untouched to create an immersive world.

The caste system in Red Rising includes fourteen different castes that were originally created to improve labor efficiencies but then were reinforced through genetic and surgical manipulation. The result was a color-coded society ranging from unskilled laborers, slaves, servants, and soldiers to the ruling class alongside businessmen, bureaucrats, and ritualistic leaders. In addition to the caste system, Golds have different houses and hierarchies, each with its own characteristics.

Golden Son By Pierce Brown Crosses 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

While many people will no doubt look fondly on the first book, Brown has come into his own with the second book by doubling down on Darrow as a dramatically flawed hero who is just as capable of making immeasurably costly blunders as well as achieving seemingly impossible feats. And yet, it is his most pronounced flaw — an insatiable need to trust those who are untrustworthy — that also makes him an endearing character.

Golden Son: Book II of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown is on Amazon. You can also find Golden Son and other Brown books on Alibis. The novel is also available for iBooks and as an audiobook for iTunes. Tim Gerard Reynolds continues to narrate the book, giving Darrow a consistent flavor with which listeners can identify.
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