A Question on Immortality’s Worth: a Review of Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

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Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: July 10th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Sceptre
Page Count: 372

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Blurb:

In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.

Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.

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Suicide Club by RACHEL HENG is about the possibility of medical technology advances reaching new heights in the next century or two that enables humans to have longer lifespans and thus, provide more contributions to the world.

I was intrigued to read this book based on its concept of near-immortality and the fact that for centuries humans have been trying to find the elixir of life. To see how science achieves it made Suicide Club have such an appealing concept. Too bad the concept wasn’t executed at its best.

I feel like I’m missing out on some big message by the time I was done with Suicide Club. Imagine the brilliant premise this book holds: immortality, or least longer life span (think of the age of hundreds) is within reach to those deserving and are called the lifers. Those who stict on a strict diet regimen, work out every single day, avoid stress and muscle exertion, monthly enhancements to ensure your skin and health are pristine. And those unworthy of these extended lifespans are cast aside as failures, called sub-zeros, destined to work as laborers and simple jobs; never given any chance to excel at anything because of the ‘number’ they’re assigned to at birth.

I would have loved to see more dynamic between these two extremes, the lifers and the non-lifers. But unfortunately we only got some minimal interaction between the main character, a 100-year-old lifer called Lea and another lifer a part of the Suicide Club, Anja. Lea felt so off throughout the entire book that I truly did not understand her main purpose in Suicide Club. I preferred Anja’s point of view in the book where her circumstances felt real enough to empathize with. The rest of the characters in Suicide Club were pretty bland. Lea’s family members could have used more exploration, although I really enjoyed Lea’s interaction with her father. We hardly got satisfactory glimpses into the other characters, namely Anja and the rest of the non-lifers in Suicide Club. I believe having them more involved in the story would have made futuristic New York with its immaculate group of lifers that much more imaginable.

The trickiest thing about speculative fiction that sort of emulates science fiction, is the ability to have tiny details within the book that eventually adds up to the story. And a lot of details were lacking in Suicide Club. For instance, I never really understood Lea’s job in the beginning. You would think that having longer-living lifers would benefit societies more on education, health and science aspects. But instead Suicide Club‘s elite lifers all feels a part of one big socialite group, which made me immediately lose interest in the entire community. Lea happens to be some big shot in a financial company based in New York. And her lifers group of friends compete to get the latest medical advances that would truly make them immortal. We don’t get to fully see at all the benefits that long lives has brought mankind, as I would expect science would take precedence in this matters. A missed opportunity in my opinion.

Then again, maybe that was a point the author wanted to drive within the book. Does immortality harbor selfish needs and eradicate the fear of death. And if so, are the wealthiest the first ones to have it?

Overall, Suicide Club had an interesting premise that definitely requires more exploration and discussion for the book to be fully appreciated. I still enjoyed how the plot triggered some questions on the worth of prolonging life if it means living in a bland lifestyle and forgoing passions and interests that are considered life-shortening. Give this a go nonetheless, it might suit your liking!

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Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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A Battle To Save The Entire Universe and Themselves: a Review of Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

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Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: March 28th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 394

Series: Constellation #2

Review of Constellation #1: Defy the Stars

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Blurb:

Noemi Vidal has returned to her planet, Genesis, as an outsider – ostracised for refusing to end the Liberty War by sacrificing Abel, the most advanced mechanical man ever made. She dreams of travelling through the stars again, and when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. The only soldier to have ever left her planet, it will be up to her to save its people. If only she wasn’t flying right into a trap.

Abel, now fully aware of his soul and captaining his own Vagabond ship, never dreamed he’d see Noemi again, not when the entire universe stands between them. But when his creator Burton Mansfield delivers news of Noemi’s entrapment, Abel knows he must save her, even if it means risking his own life.

Danger lurks in the dark corners of the galaxy, and Abel and Noemi will discover a secret that could save Genesis and Earth… or destroy them all.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider what drives us, and where we truly belong.

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Warning: Spoiler alert if you haven’t read the first book.

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Another brilliant installation in the Constellation series by CLAUDIA GRAY. I absolutely loved the first book Defy the Stars and was looking forward to Defy the Worlds.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve gone my whole life just waiting for someone to see me. And you do, Abel. You might be the only person who ever has.

Defy the Worlds picked up where we last saw Noemi: back in Genesis after leaving Abel. She’s starting fresh as a military soldier of Genesis while still missing the artificial intelligence with a conscious who saved her life. And now she’s on a mission to save her planet from a biological virus.

The plot, as before, is as amazing as ever. From the first page we’re drawn into the external and internal battle Noemi fights in saving the people she loves. Defy the Worlds is action packed, full of twists and endless fights between various parties in the book. I am again reminded why I love this series so much: Abel and Noemi both have complex characterizations and a past that makes them so unique form the other characters. Readers will again witness why these two work so well together, and why we need more strong characters that question our beliefs as we know it.

Readers will also be transported back to the brilliant science fictional world that GRAY created. But there’ll be a new twist to the entire plot that questions just how noble a human can claim his work to be, if it involves hurting so many other people. We’re introduced to a bigger universe and the possibility of mechs being a more permanent fixture in our lives.

Defy the Stars focused heavily on Noemi and Abel’s personal journeys but Defy the Worlds focused more on the their home planets and the future of mankind. I wished there was more romance action between Noemi and Abel, but what makes this series actually works is its lack in romance. You can expect some minor love action between these two and a whole load of fighting and flying instead. Which is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

I don’t know what comes after this, if anything even can. All I know is you’re the only person I can’t imagine living my whole life without.

If you’re looking for a serious YA Sci-fi series, give the Constellation series a try. I definitely enjoyed reading both books, despite the heart-wrenching cliffhanger at the end. Book 3 will hopefully be published next year so I won’t have to suffer for long. I would advice readers to read the first book and continue with Defy the Worlds because there are a lot of repeated characters and events happening in the sequel. Since it’s been a year since I last read Defy the Stars, I struggled with remember all the minute but important details.

Perfect for fans of YA and science fiction, Defy the Worlds will bring a good amount of action and sentimental scenes that makes you love and empathize with the characters, believe in justice for the planets and imagine a future world where AI truly live among us.

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Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

DON’T PANIC: a Review of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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Genre:
Science Fiction
Publisher: (Multiple)
Publication date: October 12th, 1979
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 240

Series: #1 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Blurb:

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

 

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“Don’t Panic”

I don’t think I could pass off as a respectable scifi fan until I read one of the greatest scifi books of all time. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Douglas Adams’ most famous work of writing spanning over 5 books in the series.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is pretty short, and with just 240 pages, it’s perfect for a quick vacation/summer read. I enjoyed every page of the book. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is filled with cringe-worthy dry British humour and endless scifi tidbits about space travel, which adds to the appeal.

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

 

As you read more of Arthur Dent’s voyage through the galaxy with his non-human friend, Ford Prefect with the famous book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ll find yourself laughing at their encounters with the terrible Vogans, the deceptive two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, and mice in space.

The plot in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is very well-written. Right off the first page, Earth is on its way to being blown to bits and we find Arthur in the midst of a very important task of protecting his house from being demolished…which eventually becomes beside the point. You can literally expect something new happening with each turn of the page. And no doubt you will enjoy the amazing cast of characters sprinkled throughout the book. Every character with its eccentric personalities, even the pet mice, brings something distinguishable to the book.

I would highly recommend The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to anyone who wants to give scifi a try and wouldn’t know which book to start first. It’s short enough to give you a sense of feel of what great classic scifi is and its action packed enough to keep you entertained throughout the book.

And if you’re still not convinced, here’s a snippet of the book that will hopefully change your mind:

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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The Reaper Returns in a Breathtaking New Trilogy: a Review of Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

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Genre:
Science Fiction
Publisher: Hodder Books
Publication date: January 16th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 626

Series: Iron Gold #1 (Spin-off series from Red Rising trilogy)

Red Rising Trilogy reviews:
#1 Red Rising
#2 Golden Son
#3 Morning Star

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Blurb:

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

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Warning: Spoilers from Red Rising Trilogy.

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“Men call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life.”

Iron Gold is the first installment in the new trilogy that takes place 10 years after the Red Rising trilogy ends, and it turned out to be a thrilling, action-packed read which exceeded my initial expectations of the book. I would recommend refreshing your mind of the events that took place in Golden Son and Morning Star in preparation to read Iron Gold.

Iron Gold changed the entire paradigm of the story set by PIERCE BROWN in the original trilogy, where it ended on an optimistic note for better efforts in abolishing enslavement and caste system. But Iron Gold now questions the efforts and lives required to rebuild humanity after a 700-year-old colonialism was shattered to pieces. The story finds us reunited with Darrow and the Republic which is now led by Mustang, alongside many old and new characters bound to get you emotionally attached.

The backstory of Iron Gold is the fight to retain all sense of peace and justice after 10 hard years of effort which doesn’t seem to be as fruitful as everyone hoped. How far must we go to save the future generation from history’s clutches of injustice and never-ending jaws of war? And just how many must be sacrificed for the future? As I read Iron Gold, I started questioning past decisions and war efforts that occurred in Red Rising trilogy to have had the inevitable consequences seen in this book. It’s pretty amazing how Iron Gold is so relevant in today’s political climate and the racial tensions we witness, which is what Brown was aiming to represent.

“After ten years of war, I no longer believe in moments of peace.”

Plot-wise Iron Gold started off very shaky, and surprisingly similar to Red Rising, Brown took a very long time to set all the foundations of the story. You might want to mentally prepare for it as the story gets very long-winded before it all starts to make sense. But towards the end, the plot was truly phenomenal. You’ll never know where the story is headed. And as with all adult scifi novels, always pay attention because bread crumbs are left in various places throughout the book.

I’d say Iron Gold did a wonderful job in kick-starting a new spin-off series, despite the uncertain start. And most of this is attributed to the fact that it has a new style of character POVs which I truly enjoyed. We saw everything from Darrow’s eyes in the original series, but in Iron Gold a cast of new characters spread across the Solar System give us new eyes into the past 10 years and what the future might hold. I love how 2 of these characters played such minor parts in the original series are revived to become essential elements and plot-influencers in Iron Gold.

“But history is so often molded from tainted clay by those who remain.” 

Overall, Iron Gold is a wonderful scifi book which I’d recommend to all scifi lovers.

Iron Gold has all the makings of an amazing scifi novel: badass characters, crude jokes, phenomenal plot twists, lots of deaths and space voyage beyond our imagination.

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Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

A Love Story Set Light Years Away: a Review of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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Genre:
Science Fiction Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication date: September 7th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 290

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Blurb:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone.

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Warning: mild spoilers from the book!

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“Another ship. It’s the best news I could ever have imagined.

Who are they going to send? Who’s coming?

I stare out of the helm window, straining my eyes against the infinite blackness, pressing my fingernails into my palms so hard they sting. I can’t see anything except the silver pinprick stars.

How long until I’ll be able to see The Eternity?

How long until it will be able to see me?”

Before I start this review, you should know that I have really high expectations for scifi reads, be it in YA or Adult category, due to the nature of my job as a chemical engineer. So naturally, I’d enjoy scifi novels which take great care to provide its readers with impeccable details to complement the plot and characters within the book.

That said, I found The Loneliest Girl in the Universe to fall short within my initial expectations. While the writing was good, the plot and characters involved fell a bit too bland for me. I understand that YA Scifi doesn’t really dwell into plot details or the general space conditions but rather more on the character developments. I compared The Loneliest Girl in the Universe to Claudia Gray’s Defy The Stars and Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe fell behind to be honest.

To begin with, I wished there were more pages to the book. At just 290 pages, it felt too short for a scifi novel where the author was being safe in keeping Romy where she is and the plot that she maintained for the book. The plot was very simple: Romy a 17-year-old girl finds herself as the last surviving human on board The Infinity, on its was to Earth II to begin a new civilization. After 6 years alone, NASA sends a new manned shuttle, The Eternity to aid in her mission. Naturally, Romy finds herself falling in love with J, the lone crew on board The Eternity. While it made sense why Romy would fall in love with J via emails (she did spend 6 years alone after all), the rest of the book did not make sense or excite me.

The author didn’t do a good job in tying up the details of the book. It didn’t make sense for J to be the only person on this one-man mission who claimed he got to work with NASA because he knew someone on the inside. And when the plot revealed the ending, it also didn’t make sense that NASA would send someone like J on such an important mission.

I  wasn’t a big fan of how the author focused a lot on Romy’s feelings towards J. Ultimately the book became a love story where Romy’s strong personality got lost in the plot. I kind of knew there was going to be a love plot from the blurb, but I would have loved to know Romy more in detail, minus her all lovey-dovey for J. Instead of J and his sketchy personality, I was more interested in how Romy survives the loneliness and despair of living alone for the past 6 years. But long after the book ended, Romy’s character wasn’t very memorable for me. I know some people thought her as strong and independent to have gone through what she did, but I didn’t really see that while reading the book.

The plot only became interesting at the last 70 pages of the book when the story took a twist. But the pages before that were really dull for me. The ending of the book actually made The Loneliest Girl in the Universe seem more like a psychological thriller than a scifi. And I’m beginning to believe that thriller might be a better genre for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. There was little mention of how space felt like to Romy or how The Infinity was built, so my cravings for science details were not satiated with this book.

Overall, not the best YA scifi I’ve read. I’m beginning to think this genre might not be for me after all. If you’re big on cliche YA love plots with an unexpected twist, give The Loneliest Girl in the Universe a try! But if you’re expecting a high-packed drama set in space, give this one a pass and maybe try Defy The Stars!

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Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

From The Grounds They Conquered: a Review of Morning Star by Pierce Brown

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Genre:
Science Fiction
Publisher: Haddor Books
Publication date: February 9th, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 520

Series: Red Rising Saga #3

Review of Red Rising Saga #1 here.
Review of Red Rising Saga #2 here.

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Blurb:

Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

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Warning: Mild spoilers from the Red Rising and Golden Son.

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“The Reaper has come. And he’s brought hell with him.” 

There are only two words to describe how I feel about Morning Star: BLOODYDAMN AMAZING

Darrow brought hell like he promised. And with him, the Howlers have his back. I can’t wrap my head around how mind-blowing Morning Star was. The book picks up a year after Golden Son ended. And with that horrific cliffhanger we saw in Golden Son, I do suggest you have Morning Star ready at hand to dive into straight after.

It is none stop high action drama from the first page, up until the end. Morning Star
brings even more characters into the series to join forces with Darrow and the Sons of Ares. It brings in more complicated plots and unexpected twists, and your attention to details are key to understanding how the series unravel at the end.

Like the previous two books in this series, Morning Star is filled with memorable characters, unforeseen plot twists and many scenes questioning humanity and what we must sacrifice in order to create a better, newer generation. I’ve always been disturbed with The Society’s concept of hierarchy and enslavement, in which Darrow’s quest to banish succeeds in gluing our eyes to the pages.

“You and I keep looking for light in the darkness, expecting it to appear. But it already has.” I touch his shoulder. “We’re it, boyo. Broken and cracked and stupid as we are, we’re the light, and we’re spreading.” 

The plot extends beyond Mars and its moons, where we see more of Jupiter and the Moon Lords of the Rim. I internally screamed and howled so many times throughout the book. The epic conclusion gripped my heart so hard, and I knew this is a  series that will stay long with me.

Additionally, the characters have their own personalities and agendas, contributing a great deal to the plot and towards Darrow’s character development. Each character you meet will have an impact on you, and just like Pax’s deaths in Red Rising, they’ll break your heart in Morning Star. That said, I suggest you emotionally prepare for it.

Overall, this series has met my initial expectations and exceeded it beyond more. The Red Rising Saga has been my first scifi series and it definitely did not disappoint. Over the course of six years, we see Darrow become a great man of many powers and learn the true meaning of humanity in the family he has created in his journey. Red Rising Saga portrays everything that makes scifi great: conspiracies, politics, drama and high action.

“I always thought I would die before the end. I trudged on knowing I was doomed. But my friends have breathed love into me, breathed my faith back into my bones. They’ve made me want to live.” 

An epic conclusion to an amazing scifi series, Morning Star will have you weeping at the end and throughout the book as the Sons of Ares rage towards a war on saving humanity’s last hope for a better, brighter future for all.

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The Son of Ares Returns: a Review of Golden Son by Pierce Brown

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Genre:
Science Fiction
Publisher: Haddor Books
Publication date: January 6th, 2015
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 430

Series: Red Rising Saga #2

Review of Red Rising Saga #1 here.

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Blurb:

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

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Warning: Mild spoilers from the first book, Red Rising.

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“For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.” 

Golden Son picks up 2 years after Red Rising ends where we find Darrow as a lancer for House Augustus. He’s building his way up to power in Augustus’ clan in order to bring more information to the Sons of Ares.

Golden Son is filled to the brim with non-stop action and unexpected twists. With more characters introduced in the book, we see Darrow’s circle of comrades increasing as he is shown their loyalty and their true intentions.

Golden Son expands a little bit further beyond Mars and its inhabitants. Whilst Red Rising mostly dealt with Darrow’s survival in The Institute, things get deep-shit serious pretty quickly in Golden Son. Within the first few chapters, a huge battle takes place between Darrow and Karnus au Bellona, Cassius’ older brother, killing hundreds of people. That’s the intensity of Golden Son. Pierce does not hesitate to imply conflict and deaths to bring a huge impact to the overall storyline. And that is what you can definitely expect in Golden Son.

We see more of Darrow’s leadership and after a feud with Nero au Augustus, the plot becomes amazingly brilliant with Darrow plotting his way back into the Gold’s elite circle. With battles and plot twists at every corner, the scheming and political strategies are on a different level in Golden Son. Darrow becomes more intelligent in planning his excursion in The Society but he begins to question his morality as he forms several close bonds with his Gold Howlers. It was a wonderful experience to see Darrow’s humanity in all the chaos of war.

“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair.” 

The new cast of characters thrown into Golden Son has got to be my favourite aspect of this book. We see more of Mustang, Tactus, Roque, Sevro and even the Jackal who eventually play huge roles in the entire saga. Seeing these characters develop throughout the book into their full potential, be it evil or otherwise, is nothing short of brilliant.

Just like Red Rising, Golden Son is full of many hints and battles. Paying attention is key to enjoying the book. This is a book meant for matured readers, not in a sexual content, but rather the complex machination of war and deception that takes place. That said, if you love figuring out what Darrow’s next step is to bring down the Golds, you will enjoy Golden Son immensely.

With new characters and more space exploration beyond Mars, Golden Son takes us on a journey of friendship, love and the fight for justice like never before.

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