'Golden Son': Pierce Brown's second installment in a trilogy is perfect for 'Star Wars' fans

Brown's sci-fi book is drawing praise for its quick plotting and a universe full of what one critic called 'epic mythos.'

'Golden Son' is by Pierce Brown.

Pierce Brown’s book “Red Rising,” the first in his planned science fiction trilogy, garnered critical praise and now his second book, “Golden Son,” is gaining attention for its fast-moving plot and interesting characters. 

“Red” introduced the character of teenager Darrow, who works on Mars to make life better for the future but soon finds that he and his fellows are actually just making life possible for the rich upper class. “Golden,” which was released on Jan. 6, finds him infiltrating the wealthy class to try to bring it down. 

As they did for “Red,” Amazon staff selected “Golden” as one of the best books to be released in its publication month. Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly writer Marc Snetiker called “Red” “should-have-been-huge” and awarded “Golden” an A grade.

“With ‘Golden Son,’ Brown avoids the sophomore slump, charging the novel with the kind of dystopia-toppling action you'd expect in a trilogy ender, not a middle volume,” Snetiker wrote. “Brown has packed his pages with an astonishing amount of cinematic action and twists that fly by at vertiginous speeds – with provocative pops of Darrow's philosophy on human nature between them. The narrative universe bursts with as much epic mythos as the Roman legends on which it's based…. [G]rand space chases [transform] our humble cosmos into a veritable ‘Star Wars’…. [This is] a sci-fi adventure exceptionally worthy of your attention.” 

NPR critic Jason Sheehan also brought up the story set in a galaxy far, far away when discussing “Golden.” 

“It put me in mind of ‘Star Wars’ because, like George Lucas, Pierce Brown ought to be held up as one of literature's great borrowers,” Sheehan wrote. “A writer (like Lucas) who never met an arc, a trope or a theme he couldn't lift, twist, polish and fit precisely into the framework of his own story. Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing…. Red Rising was a pastiche of a dozen or a hundred dystopian stories of teenagers growing up and doing exciting and dangerous things…. [W]hat sets these books apart from the over-crowded pack is that Brown is just so friggin' good at it. 'Red Rising' was entertaining. 'Golden Son' is so much better…. Brown writes layered, flawed characters and has a Hollywood director's eye for blowing stuff up, but plot is his most breathtaking strength."

Publishers Weekly also noted the quick pace of the plot in its review.

“Brown shows everything organically, from the Roman influences on the culture to the exciting potential hidden in both halves of society,” PW wrote. “Dramatic battles with a real sense of loss, and a final chapter that slams into both Darrow and the reader, make this the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment.”

As noted by Snetiker, Universal Pictures has reportedly obtained the screen rights for "Red" and "World War Z" helmer Marc Forster is set to direct.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.