Book Review

Iron Gold

Iron Gold

  • Author: Pierce Brown
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Publication Date: January 16, 2018
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books
  • Series: Red Rising Saga #4

CONTENT WARNING: gore, violence, substance use, genocide, war, torture

Rating: 5 out of 5.

They 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.

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 all 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. 

I waited to start this book until I could devote the entirety of my being to reading. Because I’ve never been able to stop reading once I start any of the books in this series. This one was no different. 

The story picks up 10 years after Morning Star ends. It starts off a little slow, but there’s a lot to catch up on, and I had complete faith that things would pick up rather quickly. And BOY DID IT SPEED UP. 

There’s also some new viewpoints, and it took some time to get to know these characters. Even the ones I had encountered before had changed significantly since I had seen them last. Even though the war hasn’t stopped, so many things have changed. The entire structure of society has changed, and you can see it in how Darrow’s own son is being raised. Instead of being brought up surrounded by Golds and entitlement, he’s growing up completely differently than generations of Colors have in the past:

“We raise them in packs of nine now, setting children of disparate Colors together early in their schooling with hopes of creating the bonds that I found at the Institute, but without the murder and starvation.”

But the cost of this endless war is weighing heavily on Darrow and all the people around him. A society that has been at war for so long is bound to come apart at the seams, and those fracture lines are starting to show in Iron Gold. There’s a lot of political maneuvering, as usual, but there’s always a cost involved:

“There’s nothing worse for a soldier to imagine — that there will be no home to return to once the violence is over, no way to become the men we want to be. Instead, we’re trapped in these violent guises, guises we only ever had the courage to don because of how much we love our home.”

The other voices were just as interesting as Darrow’s. Lyria is a Red who experiences immense tragedy in her refugee camp, but manages to use it as a stepping stone to achieve bigger things that she didn’t think would ever be possible. I wasn’t sure what role she would play in the grand scheme of things, but she winds up playing a major part in the events of this story. I loved her character — she’s tough, strong, and sweet, but surprisingly naïve to the ways of the corrupt world she now inhabits. 

Ephraim is a voice from the past, but he’s a completely different man now. He’s broken by the memories of his past, and has become a generally unpleasant person. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat empathetic towards him for some of the time, at least. He was so morally gray, and while he was generally not a great person, he would occasionally do good things that made me gain a tiny bit of respect for him here and there. 

The last character that showed up was Lysander. The last time we saw him he was 10, and a super smart little boy. But now he’s 20 and has been on the run for half his life. After all this time, he’s starting to see things a little differently, and doesn’t necessarily agree with everything he was taught growing up. He and Cassius get themselves into a serious situation, and end up relying on their wits and instincts, but aren’t sure what the right path to take is. I get the feeling that Lysander is going to play a huge role in the next book in the saga. 

There’s plenty going on in this book, but it also felt like there’s a lot of setting the stage for the next book. I get the feeling that it’s going to be a huge clusterf*ck. The book was very fast-paced, and between all the characters, the story never lagged or got boring. There is a lot going on for each of the characters — not just external situations, but also internal conflict. I loved seeing what was happening, and never being quite sure what was going to happen next, other than that it was going to be exciting and shocking.

If you haven’t read this book (or series), WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 27

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