Golden Son: In which my love affair with fantasy and the Red Rising series is left out in the rain

I was so eager to continue the journey started in Red Rising  I abandoned all sense and drove to the bookstore for the second book in the trilogy. Don’t panic. I started by checking the library: checked out. I then tried the Bookshelf: sold out. So it was I found myself lined up outside the still locked doors of the Chapters at 9:00am on a Sunday. Banging down the door for the second offering because I had to know what would happen to the rebellion.

Well something happened between page one and page 250 because, restored to my senses, I abandoned the book to overnight dew and the ever-mounting pile of Things to Donate (moving = realizing you have too many books and deciding to do away with your third copy of Gone With the Wind because you probably don’t need one copy but can’t let it go). It was terrible. Makes me suspect Red Rising was terrible too, but that I was too swept up in plot to realize it.

Golden Son picks up where Red Rising left off – more or less – with Darrow/Reaper in the thick of a Star Trek-esque space battle and trying to secure power so he can take down the Society. From there it descends into political drama with characters popping in and out with such frequency and such little character development that I couldn’t figure out who anyone was, let alone why they supported one faction or the other, or why I might be – in the least – interested in their fortunes. After attempting for a fifth time to reengage with the epic battle that takes up the last sixty pages and finding myself – once again – trying to remember how they ended up on the planet, why they were there and who they were fighting I conceded defeat. Destroyed not by space lasers but by a disappointingly convoluted set of underdeveloped characters and overwrought plot.

So. If you find yourself reading Red Rising: enjoy! But. If you get to the end and are in the least bit tempted to read the second book, heed this warning: either get the library book so you’ll feel less guilty wasting your biannual book purchase on such trash OR don’t bother reading it in the first place. Pick up Dracula instead. I’m 3/4 done it and it’s so. good. (stay tuned)

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