Title: Iron Gold
Author: Pierce Brown
Publishing Date: 16th January 2018 – Hodder and Stoughton
Genre: YA, Science-Fiction
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. (Goodreads)
Iron Gold develops the characters we loved from the Red Rising series, as well as introducing us to new and exciting characters in a story that explores the consequences of revolution and how difficult it truly is.
Iron Gold follows on ten years after the events of Morning Star, where we learn about the revolution through four different perspectives. This was interesting in itself, since most novels don’t really explore what happens after a corrupt government has been overthrown. In the case of Iron Gold, overthrowing the Golds was just the beginning.
I was really excited to read this book, but since it’s been a while since I read the Red Rising series, it was hard to get into the story and remember all the characters and relationships – especially since there are so many!
Someone I remembered immediately however, was our protagonist, Darrow. Despite being married and having a child, Darrow is still fighting to make the world a better place, but at this rate, it seems he’s fighting a losing battle. It was so disheartening to see that the world hadn’t really improved – especially when we learnt that the Reds’ conditions were still horrendous, and characters such as Ephraim were bitter about the outcome of the revolution (that still hasn’t really ended). As a result, the entire universe is in chaos. Even those who claim to be on the ‘good’ side make silly decisions, others are morally grey, and some characters want to return the universe to its ‘former glory’. From start to finish, Iron Gold is filled with battles, betrayals and nail-biting moments.
Pierce Brown’s choice to write in four narratives does allow us to gain different insights into the revolution and Darrow as a character, which I think was great, but I did enjoy some of the perspectives less than others, which meant at times I did find myself struggling to get through the novel. I think all the perspectives became really interesting at the climax of the novel as certain characters’ stories begin to merge, and as a whole, I am excited to see where the story goes, even as frustrating as it was to see another war begin in this series.
While Darrow’s chapters were interesting to read, he was so frustrating as a character! He kept making impulsive decisions that impacted his family and friends, which left me nervous through the entire novel, especially with the trials and tribulations Mustang (who I wish we’d gotten more of) and his son Pax faced. It was good to see how his and Sevro’s relationship had developed (Sevro is my favourite!) although even that became strained in the end. By the climax of the novel. Darrow is in a pretty dark place and I have no idea what he’ll do next.
Lyria was my favourite character and a great addition to the series. She’s understandably jaded about the war, as Darrow has not met his promises in improving the Reds’ quality of life. She offered an interesting perspective in how Darrow and Mustang have become the thing they wanted to stop. Her interactions with characters like Mustang were some of my favourite moments, as she doesn’t have a filter and often gives characters reality checks. I want more Lyria!
I had a lot of sympathy for Ephraim, as someone who has lost a loved one to the war. He, like Lyria, was very jaded and used drugs to suppress his emotions, which sometimes made it hard to sympathise with him, and I did find that his chapters became more interesting towards the end.
Lysander’s chapters were my least favourite. While seeing an older and wiser Cassius was definitely a fascinating read, I found myself disliking Lysander for his recklessness and views of the world – and Darrow specifically. His and Cassius’ relationship was a strange mix of love/hate, which was great, but I’m unsure where the character will go next.
I’m glad Pierce Brown decided to continue this series, and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. Writing in multiple perspectives is always risky, but I think he managed to make the characters different enough that each character’s voice was distinct. The rise of another war is frustrating, but I imagine that is what the reader is supposed to feel, and therefore I can’t wait to see how this is resolved in the follow-up novels.