This trilogy, guys. Really, this trilogy.
Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising Trilogy, a heart-stopping, fast paced, Science-Fiction Dystopian trilogy that has had quite the spotlight since the first book was released in 2014. And with good reason. I loved the first book. The fast pace and deep world building was great, sure, but really it’s the history geek in me that gets the most excited.
The second book was no different. A few of the highlights were the deepening Characterization and world building, as well as the new characters and settings. Where the action in book one turned on battle tactics and war, this books focused on politics. The Machiavellian “Golds” and their constant rivalries and backstabbing made for twists, turns, and tension. Haha, look at the alliteration. That was literally an accident.
And here is what my favorite part of Golden Son was. Most books follow simple character arcs. Either a Cinderella story where a character goes from nothing to a high position, or a “Fall from Grace” where a character loses themselves. In Golden Son, the MC, Darrow was constantly struggling for position and power. And it wasn’t just a matter of pride. If he lost his position, not only was he failing his dead wife (in his mind) but he was always in danger of assassination.
I think the reason why I love this so much is not just because of the story telling element. Yes, it leaves you on the edge of your seat, and you are never sure what will happen next. But it’s more than that. You see, in real life, failure and victory don’t stand alone. You might be on the top of the world one moment, and the next, nothing seems to be going your way. In fact, more often than not it feels like nothing is going your way. Success is hard to quantify in emotions alone. Often what feels like failure to you might look like success to someone else. In fact, I was recently told by a friend that I may feel overwhelmed, but that from the outside it looked like I had it all together.
You see, life doesn’t follow a three act structure or a simple character arch. We learn lessons, and then have to learn them again because they didn’t stick the first time. We start adventures, fall on our faces, and have to start them again. We don’t always win when we fight the monsters.
And while I do believe that fiction doesn’t always have to reflect real life, I do notice the moments where it does.
The Red Rising Trilogy is not a “Hard Sci-Fi”. Far from it. But the format did leave me thinking. The times when I think everything is perfect, aren't an excuse to quit working hard. And failure is not the end.