Golden Son

I said in my last review that I hoped very dearly that this series would launch far away from it’s young adult roots. Everyone remembers Catching Fire’s plot (How about the hunger games, but older people!) and how creatively similar it was. But I have been rewarded, because Golden Son takes off into uncharted territory.

Darrow beat out all his opponents at the institute, and as a reward the ArchGovernor of Mars has offered him a path to glory as his pseudo-son. The same man that killed Darrow’s wife.

But, in the first chapter that teases a possible second hunger games style adventure, Darrow loses to a rival family. Embarrassed, the ArchGovernor plans to give Darrow up as son. Without his money or protection, and soiled by someone in power dropping him, Darrow will soon be killed by his enemies. He sees only one plan: start a war among the elite and somehow end up on top.

Unsurprisingly with war, the action is ratcheted up a thousand fold. Which is hard to do considering the first novel’s heavy body count. But it doesn’t feel like an easy ride. This is the Empire Strikes Back sequel. It’s darker, the plot thickens, and friends start to die.

Darrow is a little more human in this one and he begins to realize it. Before, it was all death and killing. But as the first novel hinted, he really does care about some of the Golds he hast met along the way. And the internal struggle inside him about whether or not to kill them in end weighs on his soul. He’s tired of taking on the burden alone. Will he let them in and risk betrayal? Or keep them at arms length and risk losing friends? He chooses different paths with different people and only the third book will tell if he made the right decisions.

Epic in scope and very good sequel-ing, Golden Son is a worthy follow up. Ditching the Hunger Games vibe and going right into something you might find in a Shakespearean drama, this novel is everything you want out of the series and only raises hope for the final conclusion.

3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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