So in the last book, Red Rising, Darrow won the game at the Institution and has chosen Nero au Augustus the king of the Augustus family to be his son. He had a son named Claudius who was a failure to him, Adrius, also known as the Jackal who was the main antagonist after Titus in the first book, and Mustang, the only girl, all of these with Augustus family blood. With the man that killed his wife and he realizes, destroyed all his hope of ever having a family. Darrow has made a lot of friends, Mustang and the Jackal included. Some of these are Sevro, who has a fascinating obsession with jellybeans and Roque, who is so close to the Golds that he is one of the obstacles Darrow faces in bringing the whole syndicate down. Another obstacle is the Bellona family. Darrow ended up killing one of the sons of that family, Julian, but it's not his fault; they were forced to battle till one of them died in order to get into the Academy. Either way, right now Darrow's #1, or #2, enemy, is Cassius, who one time he wanted to hug...You rise so high, in mud you lie. That is a quote from the Bellona family, after they ambush Darrow, humiliate him, and ultimately Darrow's house kicks him out after all that work because they were able to do so. Not necessarily Augustus's idea but this assistant named Plivy. The world still seems so far from his wife's dream of an equal life, so how will Darrow bring the Society to a crash like he's been trying to do for so long?
Now, I think I'll say right off the bat that this is an action book. If you don't remember, it takes place in between Earth, the Moon now known as Luna, and Mars. Plus, it seems like all the planets are habitable. I'm not sure how this is possible but the people invented gravBoots for Mars so there's probably a good way to live on a gaseous planet. It is a lot like Star Wars meets Lord of the Flies, and it's as disorganized and bloodydamn fun as that sounds. And this time, the book is a lot less gross, less disorganized since now it's clear who the enemies are, and a lot more atmospheric. This time, Darrow uses his friends and tries his best to rely on them, to begin a civil war, and though I have to say he is sometimes quite brutal, which I guess is the point, he's sweet like America Singer and tough like Alex Sawyer. The only part that I questioned was this time when a mentally ill character we met in the first book is killed after being promised a better life and an opportunity on a ship. It starts with a big hug and ends with a stab, and I thought I was going to give the book thumbs down if it dismissed this fact since Darrow was near, but the book didn't, all the while filling in any blanks that I might've felt by the ending if the book didn't pick up on it.
I also ended up reading this book faster than a majority of smaller books I've read this year. Golden Son gives the same desire to keep reading as Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles and essentially tells us up front that this whole world is like a video game, but not more video game than story. Darrow also has to keep the secret that he's a Red, the lowest rank of human, impersonating the highest, but he knows he has to reveal himself one day soon. We all know this as readers but as the lie must deepen, the pages must keep turning. Golden Son has more action and tension than all the Shatter Me books combined, more chases than the entire Ruby Red trilogy and as many battles as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Though I sometimes couldn't visualize a scene, I didn't really care much so long as answers promised to come and came. Then there's the ending. I'd read beforehand the ending was big and left you hanging and crying and I wasn't sure if that would be true; I thought five pages before finishing, "Okay, fair enough, that's a great plan, I can't wait." Then the planet completely turns inside out (not literally) and I began trembling. I was shaking for a whole hour and I thought about it the entire way home from school. This time, I don't need an Aspirin, I need a sedative.