So. This is my first attempt at a Cannonball Read book review. I suppose I could have looked at the plethora of reviews that are already out there from people with actual experience. But no. Research is for losers. I prefer to either fail spectacularly or just sort of kinda do it well enough to not be the worst thing ever.
Most of my books that I am able to make my way through will be absorbed via audiobook, so whether I used my eyes or my ears I’m going to say I read it. Deal with it. There is no way in 7 hells that I would be able to physically read 52 books in a year. Where would I find time for food? Hockey? Xbox? Audiobooks are a godsend as I have been able to get through more books in the last 3 years than in the previous 20. Regardless, on to the good stuff.
Last year I read Red Rising by Pierce Brown, the first of an apparent planned trilogy. I bloodydamn loved it. So much so that I’m pretty sure I tore through it twice in a month. The basics of the story is that society is divided into colour castes. Each colour has their jobs, traits, responsibilities, and place in the societal hierarchy. At the top are the glorious Gold. Engineered to be the pinnacle of human potential and just as arrogant and oppressive as you’d assume. Our hero Darrow is a Red, one of the lowest of the colours, working as a miner deep underground on Mars. These Reds don’t even know that a society lives above them, they think that the planet is still being terraformed and they are preparing it for the people to come behind them.
In Red Rising, Darrow is modified into a Gold and then makes his way through a battle school that has shades of Battle Royale, Ender’s Game, and Lord of the Flies. People like to mention Hunger Games in here too, but this battle school was much more about group dynamics and tactical strategies akin to the other stories. There are hundreds of students, fortifications, sieges to plan and defend, battle formations and tactics, and of course, scheming and cheating.
So anyway, he makes it out obviously. In Golden Son, Darrow has positioned himself quite well as a member of the ruling house of Mars. The leader of this house also happens to be the guy that ordered the death of Darrow’s wife and started him on his quest for the liberation of his people. He has most of his loyal friends from the battle school alongside him, along with a few of the enemies he’s made. The stakes in this book are exponentially larger than in Red Rising as they are now fighting for the fate of the entire solar system.
The action rarely takes a break, and when it does it’s only to take part in large amounts of glorious scheming and political maneuvering that inevitable leads to more and larger action sequences. New friends, new enemies, new places, planet hopping, space battles, hand to hand combat, assaulting an entire battleship with 2 people, making an assault on a planet in a glorified torpedo shell, and grand speeches.
Some or most of this may seem familiar as it’s nothing that I’d really call new and innovative. We’ve seen most of these things before in different stories, movies, and whatnot. What sets this story apart is how extremely well it’s all executed. There are very few wasted spaces in this story. Golden Son is the Empire Strikes Back for a new generation. Don’t miss out on the bloodydam fun goodman. This book is prime.