Top critical review
A solar system at war led by an impostor.
13 September 2018
While it starts off with an engaging encounter turning everything achieved in ‘Red Rising’ on its head, immediately after, the narrative fell into that long-winded flat tone I found at the beginning of ‘Red Rising.’ The story is interesting but the writing style is not so compelling for me. Pierce can have such a meaningful and succinct turn of phrase that really resonates... and then waffle for pages on mundane happenings. It's really frustrating to sing his praises when I find times I'm so bored I'd rather wait for my dog to fart for entertainment.
So, after 131 pages, I had to put the book down and walk away. Reading three other novels before returning for a second wind. And then it is all so interesting and so political... but that went hand in hand with wavering engagement. With many long difficult character names (and there are lots of them) and such macabre machinations I only got another 100 pages before I needed another rest. Slow pacing and a dry narrative are killing me!
The story is great. Complex characters. Political chess playing manoeuvres. Power plays. It has all the ingredients I usually love in a novel but it just didn't sell me. I found my interest waning a number of times, bogged down with too much detail, too much padding to the main story line in a barren narrative tone. And then, like a switch had been flipped, I was back into it again. It was as if only half of the book really grabbed me and the other half put me to sleep. Talk about polarising.
I took just under a month to read ‘Golden Son’ and managed to read another eleven novels in between. I'm hoping it was just a second-book-syndrome thing. Because I liked ‘Red Rising’ and can imagine the finale to be explosive. Especially after the hype this series has received. I don't think I'm all that emotionally invested in the characters, they are all about war and revenge and playing a long game to end oppression. That leaves little room for softness and building trust and love outside the harsh landscape - I guess that's why I kept putting the book down because it was so hard to digest knowing that they all turn on each other.
My favourite scene was that of Darrow with his mother. It was the first emotional connection I'd gotten to the series - even in comparison to the death of Eo.
Here's hoping it gets better... I really want to love this series.