Published by Hodder & Stoughton on January 16th 2018
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.
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.