When I saw on Goodreads that there was another Red Rising book slated for a January release, I immediately went to my library’s catalog and put it on hold. Now, if you’re relatively new to this blog, you might want to take this opportunity to read my reviews of the previous installments of the series.
Now, from those reviews, you might gather that I am a real big fan of this series. A big enough fan that my excitement for Iron Gold, though considerable, was wary. The series wasn’t really left open at the end of Morning Star. I was happy with how the author wrapped things up, and I wasn’t confident that the series needed to be reopened. Was this another mad-grab for cash like so many content creators seem wont to do? Would Darrow and company be belittled by a story that wasn’t really strong enough to warrant another book, let alone another trilogy as Brown suggested?
Thankfully, Pierce Brown shared a lot of my concerns. In his acknowledgments at the back of the book, he admits that he was hesitant to return to the world of Red Rising, that it took a long time to convince him that it was the right decision.
And, I do believe it was the right decision. Aside from a slightly predictable story-line in Darrow’s point of view, the plots and characters are very well done, intricate and dynamic, just as I’ve come to expect from the author. Character voices are distinct, their backgrounds diverse, and despite their actions and motivations, I found myself rather enamored with each of them.
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
The only reason it didn’t get a full five stars is because of the predictable ending of Darrow’s point of view story-line. Otherwise this was a wonderful book. I would not suggest starting with Iron Gold. This is not the beginning of a new standalone franchise, but the continuation of what came before, set 10 years after the ending of Morning Star. Brown does not stymie his narrative with explanations of who established characters are, which I found slightly jarring since it’s been over a year since I read the originals, but I caught up quick enough.
The handling of new characters was also well done. Brown’s novels are very action driven, you learn who characters are through their behaviors and their reactions to the conflicts they’re faced with. And man, is there a lot of conflict, and these problems weave through the various narratives connecting everyone into one large plot arc. It was really well done, and once I realized what was happening, really upped the dramatic irony.
So, who are all these characters? Beware minor spoilers below.
Well, there’s Darrow, of course. He’s the ArchImperator and leader of the Sovereign’s armies. He’s stubborn and righteous as ever, and he’s tired. Ten years of war will do that to a person. And it shows, not only in Darrow, but in Sevro and Victra, Wulfgar and Mustang too. There are familiar faces everywhere in Darrow’s chapters and it’s like coming home, only to find that the rooms you once cherished have been left in disarray in your absence. Worn and frayed. That’s the best way to describe the old Golds.
There’s Lyria, a Gamma Red whose family has been freed from the mines only to sit in squalor in one of the refugee camps on Mars. It’s a very visceral and immediate way to understand the fallout of the Sons of Ares’ revolution. Lyria herself is very bitter and angry, quite understandably, but her vitriol for all things Rising left a sour taste in my mouth. I understood her, but that didn’t mean I had to agree with her. And I very much thought this divide would leave me disliking her, but it turned out I was rather fond of Lyria by the time all is said and done.
There’s Ephraim, a Gray who’s seen and lost too much to feel his life is worth much of anything. He spends his days drinking himself to death, and his nights hatching heists for the highest bidders. He’s cold and sharp-tongued, all in an effort to hide away the pain of losing his fiance to the Rising’s war. Ephraim should not be an easy man to love, and yet I found him incredibly endearing. I desperately wanted him to redeem himself; I didn’t want someone to save him, but I needed him to save himself.
And then there’s Lysander. Yes, that Lysander. He was ten years old the last time we saw him, when Cassius swept him away to save him, and to fulfill the hole that Julian’s death left in him. Now, Lysander is no longer a child, though he struggles to know who he is as a man, especially in Cassius’ shadow. Lysander’s viewpoint was probably my favorite. He’s eloquent, perceptive, and oh so naive. Of course, he’s cursed with the arrogance of youth. Lysander doesn’t think he’s naive, he thinks he is the silver-tongued heir of Lune. Which I guess he is to some extent, but not to the amount he thinks.
The book leaves everyone on quite the cliffhanger, and I am regretting my decision to read the book so quickly after its release. Now I have to wait until who-knows-when for the sequel! But, I’m sure it will be well worth the wait.
I’m on track to finish The Stone Sky this week, and will hopefully speed read through Dark Deeds so I can start Semiosis while we’re in Arizona. Don’t expect to hear from me after Monday, until the following week. If you do, consider it a bonus.
Until then, Blogland,