Iron Gold (Pierce Brown)

Iron Gold (Pierce Brown)Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on January 16th 2018
Pages: 634

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.

SPOILER ALERT: As this is book 4 in the Red Rising series, there will be spoilers for earlier books in the series throughout this review.

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★

Where to start with Iron Gold?! It’s no secret that I adore this series – I gave Red Rising 4 stars and both Golden Son and Morning Star 5 stars – so I went into Iron Gold with seriously high expectations.  I was very nervous too though: would the time gap and character changes ruin everything? Would I connect to the new characters?In Iron Gold, we’re no longer only concerned with Darrow and his friends.  Brown gives us four point of view characters – Darrow, Lyria, Ephraim and Lysander – some of whom we already know, and others of whom are new to us.  Even the characters we think we know aren’t unchanged by the events of Morning Star, so there’s character development for all of the characters throughout the story, and I found myself enjoying the chapters from all four points of view.  Having said that, the characters have always been one of Red Rising’s strengths, and I didn’t truly love any of the new characters.  Lysander’s chapters narrowly edged out the others in terms of addictiveness for me, despite the fact he’s almost the total opposite of Sevro, my favourite character in the series.

A lot has changed in the 10 years since the conclusion of Morning Star, so although we’re returning to a world we already know there’s plenty of new world-building information to pick up.  With it’s four POV characters, including a Darrow who has exponentially more power and freedom than ever before, Iron Gold also gives the impression of a much larger world than the earlier books in the series.  These two things add up to make it feel a lot like the start of a new series, and I have to admit it took me a while to get my head around a world which feels more developed but also more complicated than ever before.  We’ve got lots of different power players, all of whom believe they’re the hero of their own story.  These morally grey, complex characters make for really interesting reading, and combined with the political elements of the story, help the series to feel more adult.

Until now, every book I’ve read from Brown has been better than the last, and it feels a little disloyal to say, but Iron Gold didn’t follow that trend for me.  I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it as much as I expected to, and it took me three weeks to read.  I missed some of my favourite characters, who felt like they were only occasionally there in the background.  On the other hand, I loved the moral complexities, and I’m still in love with the world Brown has created, so I’ll see if I feel differently on a re-read, and I’ll definitely be reading Dark Age when it arrives.

One StarOne StarOne Star

Review: Morning Star

Review: Morning StarMorning Star by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #3
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on February 11th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 512
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher

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.

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Addictiveness: ★★★★★

When I read it…

I took just over a week to read this one, between February 5th and 14th 2016.

What I’d heard before I read it:

All good things! [Sidenote, anyone else incapable of hearing the phrase ‘All good things, all good things’ in a voice other than Olaf’s from Frozen? Just me?]  Morning Star was by far one of my most anticipated reads for 2016 so I couldn’t wait to read it, but I’d deliberately not gone looking for reviews in fear of spoilers. I had seen a few comments on twitter though, and they were all VERY favourable!

What worked for me:

  • The plot: Sometimes, a writer tries so hard to be unpredictable that it becomes predictable (Steven Moffat & Doctor Who for example), but that wasn’t at all the case with Morning Star. Given the ending of Golden Son, I didn’t think Morning Star could shock me – I was wrong.  There was at least one occasion where I wanted to update my GR progress and couldn’t think of a single update that didn’t involve swearing because I was so surprised by what had just happened.  Morning Star‘s plot is brilliant; full of epic drama and exciting plot twists that meant I just didn’t want to put it down.
  • The characters: There are so many characters to love, and love them I certainly do! Sevro, of course, remains the favourite, but I also adored Ragnar, had a total soft spot for Kavax au Telemanus and Sophocles, and loved how kickass Victra is.
  • The relationships: From Sevro and Darrow’s witty back and forths to Victra’s casual flirting to the Howler initiation, Morning Star is full of funny, teasing moments between characters that had really believable, satisfying relationships.  In a book that could otherwise be so dark, the humour is surprisingly frequent, and I loved that – while the drama is still heart-pounding (and at times heart-warming and heart-breaking) the book felt epic rather than grim.
  • The world-building: From the beginning of the series, Darrow’s world has fascinated me, and with each new book we get more details about the intricate, complex world that Brown has created.  I particularly loved seeing the Obsidians, meeting Alia Snowsparrow and Sefi and seeing a bit more of Ragnar’s world.

What didn’t quite work for me:

  • Mustang: I found Mustang a little less likeable in Morning Star than in the first two books – maybe just because we had so many other awesome female characters who were more readily accessible!  I didn’t dislike her, and I certainly still wanted her to get her happy ending, I just found her a little harder to connect with than the other characters.

Something worth mentioning…

  • I’m not sure why, but it took me a little longer than I expected to get truly engrossed in Morning Star.  I’m not sure how much of that was because I was reluctant for the series to end or due to nerves that the book wouldn’t live up to my hopes (which it did!) or even that I was too excited to concentrate 100% (this genuinely happened on the first day I tried to read it) but I didn’t feel as instantly addicted as I did with the two earlier books.  Once I did get hooked, I just didn’t want to put it down, and it was every bit as gripping as I’d expected it to be based on Red Rising and Golden Son.  The question of WHY it took me longer to get hooked (whether it was the pacing of the first section, or whether it was a matter of timing/my reluctance to finish the series) is one I’ll figure out when I re-read, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  If you’ve started Morning Star and aren’t instantly hooked, rest assured you will be soon!

Overall thoughts:

I had to think for a while on the ending of Morning Star and whether it was satisfying, but ultimately I’m very happy with it – it wasn’t what I expected, but the more I thought about it the more I realised I couldn’t think of anything I would have found more satisfying!  Now that it’s all over, I’m confident in saying Red Rising is one of the best trilogies I have ever read.  I adored Red Rising and Golden Son and have been pushing the books on friends and family even more than usual since reading this truly awesome finale.

If you’re looking for something light and fluffy, this is definitely not the book for you. If you’re looking for an awesome plot, kick-ass characters and a fantastically built world then this is absolutely the book for you – just be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster too!

Other Reviews of Morning Star: Stephanie’s Book Reviews | Rabid Reads | Star-Crossed Book Blog

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Golden Son (Pierce Brown)

Golden Son (Pierce Brown)Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #2
Published by Hodder General Publishing Division on 8-1-15
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Ender's Game meets The Hunger Games in this, the second in an extraordinary trilogy from an incredible new voice.

'I'm still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.'

Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind's last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.

In RED RISING, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It's a journey that will take him further than he's ever been before - but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

Hic sunt leones.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown's growing status as one of fiction's most exciting new voices.

SPOILER ALERT: As Golden Son is book 2 in a series, there may be some spoilers for Red Rising, so please stop here if you haven’t read that yet!

Plot: ★★★★

The story

You know how in my end of year survey, I said the book that crushed my soul was Thirteen Reasons Why? I was wrong…it was this. The ending will leave you begging for more: more so even, than the way you did at the end of Red Rising and just had to know what happened next. Trust me, this is even more powerful.

Approximately two years after the end of Red Rising we return to Darrow, now fully embedded into the Gold society he wants to tear down from the inside, as he deals with enemies who look like friends and friends who look like enemies.  There’s civial war, endless political scheming, and we see a lot more of the world throughout Golden Son than we did in Red Rising. This book is every bit as dramatic and gripping as the first, but the brutality in Golden Son is just as present (if not, perhaps, more so) in Red Rising. I think it’s necessary for the story – at least most of the time! – so it doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s worth noting.

“You’re going to fall into trouble because you believe that exceptions to the rule make new rules. That a bad man can be good simply because he says he can or simply becaue he does so once when you are watching.” – Location 4457 eARC

The characters

There is no greater plague to an introvert than the extroverted. – Location 1373 eARC

Golden Son would almost certainly benefit from a reread of Red Rising first, as there’s quite a cast of characters – especially when you also factor in the various titles, groups and code names. Not to mention the locations too!

I liked the characters in Golden Son, even those I wasn’t sure about in Red Rising, perhaps because we’ve seen more of them.  The star of course is Sevro, who manages to steal your attention at every possible moment! I found it slightly harder to connect with Darrow than in Red Rising because he’s grown up a little, which is to be expected, but he’s also less principled than the boy he used to be. Having said that, I really liked Orion and Tactus, and I still liked the characters overall.

final thoughts

Golden Son is one of those books that I both never wanted to end, and yet could not stop reading.  I forced myself to try and take it slowly, dragging it out over a week so that I could enjoy it for as long as possible, but it wasn’t enough! I don’t re-read much but I’ll almost certainly be re-reading Golden Son just because I loved the story and I won’t want to wait until the final book comes out.

Golden Son isn’t perfect of course (for one thing, I would have liked to see more of Mustang!) but it is, quite simply, brilliant. It will break your heart, piece it back together, and make it stop completely. It has one of the most dramatic scenes I think I’ve ever read, and I can’t wait for the final book.

Buy it? This is one I’d definitely be happy to buy.
In a nutshell: A truly fantastic follow up to Red Rising, I loved this even more than the first book!

Other Reviews of Golden Son The Eater of Books | Star-Crossed Book Blog | The Bookaholic Blurbs

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Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 28-01-2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★★


The storyDarrow is one of the Reds burrowing deep into Mars to mine the elements needed to terraform the planet so that the other colours can one day join them.  Or so he believed.  Helped by a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow is disguised as a Gold, one of the ruling class, and manages to obtain entry into The Institute, where Golds learn and compete for apprenticeships.  Darrow hopes to work his way up from the inside, but the Institute may be more than he bargained for – and he soon finds out that not all Golds are created equal.

The story is dramatic, gripping and full of twists and turns – but it’s also dark and gritty.  If you’re expecting fluff, or romance, or anything of the like, put Red Rising down and step away!


The characters
Darrow is great.  I can definitely understand the comparisons between him and Ender (of Ender’s Game). Both are old beyond their years, occasionally ruthless and hrd, but also compassionate.  Darrow is, with good reason, driven by fury and hatred of the Golds, and it’s absolutely impossible not to sympathise with him.

Brown’s writing is evocative and emotional, and it will suck you into Darrow’s mind and world.  You feel Darrow’s heartbreak, his rage, his shock, as he does.  His love for Eo comes through so clearly which also makes him very easy to like.

There are a lot of characters in Red Rising but it’s hard to comment on many without spoiling elements of the story.  I will say I thought the women were great – Eo, Mustang and – to a lesser extent – Harmony are strong, fierce, opinionated and independent women you can’t help but like.


final thoughts

Red Rising was slightly darker than I expected – more adult than YA I would say – but I really liked it despite, or perhaps because of, that.  It’s refreshing to read a dystopian novel that stands out, both because of the unusual setting and the dark events that Darrow and the other characters are put through.

There were a few things I didn’t think were perfect about Red Rising.  For one thing, the language took me a little while to get used to, and the sheer number of Houses was a little confusing at first, but overall I really enjoyed Red Rising and I’ll definitely be getting my hands on book 2!

Buy it? This is one I think is worth buying.
In a nutshell: A hugely absorbing start to the series – I can’t wait for the next book!

Other Reviews of Red Rising: Not Yet Read | Popcorn reads | Fantasy Book Cafe

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