This second installment of the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown was even better than the first one! It keeps you on your toes and there are lots of twists and turns…and oh man what a cliffhanger! I definitely liked this book a lot! Read on for how did Golden Son end:
4.7 stars on Amazon
4.49 stars on Goodreads
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Main Characters and Other info
Darrow – The main character, a Red secretly turned Gold
Eo – Darrow’s wife who was killed standing up for Reds
Cassius – Darrow’s former friend and new enemy
Fitchner – Former Proctor of House Mars, now a soldier for the Sovereign
Octavia au Lune – Often goes by “the Sovereign” and is the leader of The Society
Nero Augustus – Leader of the Augustus family and Darrow’s sponsor
Mustang – Nero Augustus’s daughter and Darrow’s sometimes girlfriend
Sevro – Darrow’s best friend and leader of the Howlers
Roque – Darrow’s good friend from the Academy
The Jackal – Mustang’s conniving brother
Ragnar – An Obsidian fighter pledged to Darrow
Setting & Society – It is set on futuristic, terraformed Mars, Luna (the Moon), and in space where all people are divided into color classes. Golds are on the top and Reds are at the bottom. Their ancestors are from Earth.
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
Red Rising Summary – How did Golden Son end?
It has been two years since the events in Red Rising. Darrow has spent one year with his new patron, ArchGovernor Nero Augustus and another year in training at the Academy. He continues to be enemies with house Bellona, Cassius’s family. When he left for the Academy, Mustang didn’t want him to go.
Darrow is now a Peerless Scarred and leads a fleet of warships at the Academy against other Golds in aerial combat. He feels distant from everyone. He has not heard from the Sons of Ares since his time at the Institute.
Darrow wins the war games. Or so it seems until a hidden ship tears through the middle of his and over 800 people die. Darrow and the other Golds survive but house Bellona wins the game. Afterwards, a Bellona group, lead by Karnus, finds Darrow alone and beats him up.
Darrow is summoned by Pliny, Augustus’s informant who is known for having an ear in everything. Augustus informs Darrow that they are ending his contract with his family since he has been so dishonored. He will be on his own without a sponsor. The Bellonas will likely try to kill him. He travels to Luna with the other lancers in House Augustus until he is officially let go.
The Jackal (Nero’s son and Mustang’s twin brother) offers help to Darrow. He has been secretly buying up property and communications. He offers Darrow a place with him if he will be his figure head and help him get rid of the Sons of Ares. They form a sticky alliance, but during their meeting the Sons of Ares show up on a mission to kill the Jackal. They bomb the building but Darrow is able to save the Jackal and later meet up with them. Mickey, the carver is with them and is building an army. Dancer, the former leader, is dead and the new leadership is taking on more violent methods. Darrow feels like the last three years of his life were for nothing. There is no grand plan.
While meeting with The Sons, Darrow finds that Eo was pregnant before she died. Because of this, Darrow agrees to help them. At their request, he carries a bomb to a gala for high ranking Golds that is to take place on Luna. He stops by Roque’s room on the way and sedates him before going on to the gala.
When he arrives with the rest of house Augustus he sees that 2000 of Gold’s finest are there including the Sovereign, Octavia au Lune. It seems Augustus has fallen out of favor with her. Mustang is there on Cassius’s arm. Darrow has an internal struggle about whether or not to detonate the bomb he planted. In the end he decides that this was not Eo’s dream. So instead of blowing the place to bits he makes a scene and challenges Cassius to a duel. The Sovereign allows it because Cassius is one of her Twelve Knights. She believes he will make quick work of Darrow. But we soon find out that Darrow has been training with Lorn au Arcos, a famous retired warrior and Rage Knight. Darrow has been taught the Razor very well and he quickly wins. The Sovereign stops it before Cassius is dead and declares her own word law. Many in the crowd are livid at this. Darrow wanted to start a civil war. He has succeeded.
They are stopped from leaving Luna because their ships were made to exit earlier. Darrow is summoned to the Sovereign and brought there by Fitchner who is now one of her new guards. She offers Darrow a place in her service, an Olympic Knight. When he refuses she says he will join or die and sets her Stained fighters on him. But the Sovereign’s young grandson Lysander steps in. Darrow agrees to join and is confined to his room.
Sevro and the Howlers show up and release him from confinement. They immediately head to the house where the Augustans are staying. A great battle rages. All low colors are dead as well as many Golds. Aja, the Sovereign’s soldier guards the leaders of House Augustus. Darrow is able to bargain for them only because he has kidnapped Lysander. They all get away aboard a ship that Mustang stole but not before Aja kills Quinn with a head wound. Darrow reunites with Augustus and the others, but before their ship can get out of earth’s atmosphere Tactus jumps out the cargo bay with Lysander and a pair of gravBoots.
Everyone looks to Darrow for a plan. They know they will be fired upon or boarded very soon since Lysander is gone. Darrow and Sevro get into rockets that are fired at a massive Society spaceship. They manage to survive and secure the air breech and take control of the ship. Darrow gains loyalty from the crew and uses them to dispatch the Golds on board. A stained fighter named Ragnar even swears loyalty to him.
Roque blames Darrow for Quinn’s death. Mustang and Darrow slowly become friends again. Sevro reveals to Darrow that Ares sent him and that he knows Darrow was born a Red.
Sometime later the Augustus crew is still on the run waiting for backup from far planets that will arrive in six months. Darrow suggests that they look weak and that they should show some force. They plan to steal more ships from the society. Pliny openly disagrees with Darrow’s plan but Nero backs his ideas.
Darrow secretly goes to Lorn au Arcos to ask for the aide of his army. Arcos tells him the story of Nero as a seven-year-old boy. His family went to war with another and everyone in his family died but him and he grew up with the victorious family. Later he asked for one of their daughter’s hand in marriage only to kill her, and present her head back to them in a box. Nero had made a deal with the old Sovereign and had the other family completely wiped out. Nero became ArchGovernor.
Darrow is sorry for it but he sets it up so that Arcos has no choice but to join him as he lays another trap for the Sovereign’s troops.
When they are back in space with their stolen fleet Mustang returns and lets them know that Augustus has been captured. Pliny has taken charge of his ship and is looking for a high appointment from the Sovereign.
Darrow tells Ragnar, the Stained Obsidian pledged to him who he really is. He hopes to have Obsidian backing in the war.
Darrow and his crew descend on Pliny who is near Luna and the stolen ships. Darrow makes a grand entrance and takes back the ship and gains the loyalty of the crew and the Golds on board. He makes a call to arms. He tells everyone that he is headed to Mars and is looking for an Iron Rain.
His call is answered and they fight a great aerial and land battle to take a central city on Mars. Darrow and his crew land outside the city walls but manage to enter through an opening the Sons left. Unfortunately, Cassius and the Bellona are waiting. They lose many of the Howlers. The few that survive run into the city but their gravBoots fail and Darrow is the only one to breach the wall. He jumps aboard the Sovereign’s ship as it takes off but he is without armor and is surrounded. He is nearly killed but Fitchner is there and he saves Darrow. We learn that Fitchner is actually Ares. He hates the Society because he once fell in love with a Red and they had her killed. Sevro is half Red and half Gold.
After the battle is won Darrow makes amends with Mustang but can’t quite amend things with Roque who is now in charge of just as many ships as he is.
The Jackal captures Dancer and some of Darrow’s other Ares friends. He and Sevro manage to rescue them without making it look like they had anything to do with it.
Darrow decides to visit the underground mining town he came from to see his mother and to hopefully finally let Eo go. He takes Mustang with him and wants to tell her the whole truth about himself. He asks her to watch a video just outside his mother’s house while he goes in. He reunites with his mother but Mustang leaves without a word after watching the video of Darrow’s carving.
Not long after that Mustang reappears and pulls a gun on Darrow. He tries to explain how it was because of her that he gained the hope and belief that Golds might change. Ragnar shows up and threatens to kill Mustang. But in the end, both he and Darrow submit to her as Ragnar tells her about his family. Mustang runs away.
How does Golden Son end?
Later there is a great parade and celebration honoring Darrow and their victory. Augustus tells Darrow that he wants to adopt him but also questions him for allowing Ragnar to carry a Gold’s weapon, the Razor. That evening at a more private celebration he is to receive a mask as an honorable gift. Neither Mustang nor Fitchner have returned. Sevro heads out to search for his father with Ragnar just before the ceremony is to begin. Roque volunteers to present the mask to Darrow. When handing Darrow the box that contains the mask, Roque poisons him with a needle and lets him know that he knows who he really is. The Jackel is in on it too and many of Darrow’s friends are killed including Arcos and Victra. Roque shows Darrow what is really in the box…Fitchner’s head. The book ends as Darrow lays dying, Augustus is captured, The Sons leader is dead, and an unknown ship is speeding their way.
There you go! That’s what happened in Golden Son. Hope you enjoyed this Red Rising summary with spoilers.
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