Title: Iron Gold
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Saga, #4
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: January 16th 2018
They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armour 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
It’s been ten years since the end of Morning Star, and Darrow is still fighting the same war he was back then. Despite liberating Mercury and forcing the Ash Lord back towards Venus he is still a threat that needs to be taken down. Darrow wants to make one more strike, to end the war and the Ash Lord once and for all, but he doesn’t have the support of the council and so he finds himself setting out on his own, risking everything in a desperate mission.
Despite Iron Gold picking up Darrow’s story ten years after the end of Morning Star I had no problems diving into the book and this new instalment to the Red Rising Saga. Instead of just following Darrow’s journey we’re introduced to new players; Lyria, Ephraim, and Lysander. Sometimes in books with a lot of POVs I find the writing disjointed as the author tries to cram in too many characters and stories, but that wasn’t the case with Iron Gold.
We see how all four stories intertwine. As Darrow fights side by side with Sevro and his Howlers once more to try and reach Venus and the Ash Lord, Lyria struggles with adjusting to life after being pulled from the mines on Mars. Ephraim gets mixed up with the wrong people and is forced to plan a dangerous heist, and Lysander gets mixed up with the Rim where Darrow’s actions from so long ago still overshadow the lives of the people living there.
While there was plenty of action in Iron Gold it felt like a lot of what happened with Darrow, Lyria, Ephraim, and Lysander was building up for something explosive in the next two books of the series. There was a lot to expand on as Pierce Brown catches us up on the ten years in between the two books and also introduces us to new players but I thought this was a strong start to the second half of the series, and after way we left things with all four of our main characters I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
Darrow has changed a lot in the ten years between Morning Star and Iron Gold. After so many years he’s tired of fighting; he’s missed out on so much of his son’s life and all he wants is to finish the Ash Lord and end the war once and for all. Darrow is tired, he isn’t sure who he is or what happened to the boy in the mines from so long ago, but he sees a way to end the war and he is determined to go after it with everything he has.
The relationships Darrow has with his friends and loved ones are still the strongest part of this book. I loved seeing his friendship with Sevro expanded on in this book, but I do wish we’d seen more of Mustang and Darrow together. The two have always made a great team and I would have enjoyed seeing more of that teamwork in this book, especially when they are both fighting for the same goal from different angles. It seems like because they are apart in this book Darrow and Mustang are struggling with everything that comes against them.
Lyria has only faced hardships in her life outside of the mines, and she blames Darrow and the sovereign who promised them a better life but left them wallowing in the mud in cramped refugee camps. When her home is attacked and Lyria makes a new life for herself and her nephew she finds herself lost in a world she doesn’t understand where there is no one she can really trust. She’s lonely, but despite her tough exterior it seems like there’s still some hope in her.
Ephraim lost everything once, and now he’s a man driven by grief who tries to drown his emotions in alcohol. He keeps those closest to him at arm’s length and has a very dim look on people and on the world. The chapters told through Ephraim’s POV are dark, coloured by his grief and his standoffish attitude to those around him. He finds himself trapped between two impossible choices in Iron Gold, but he makes the only one he can to preserve his own life.
Lysander is a relic of an age long gone. He travels with Cassius and as much as Cassius tried to instil honour in Lysander there are some things that can’t be untaught, and the teachings Lysander’s grandmother and Aja gave him are the ones he follows. Lysander and Cassius find themselves getting mixed up with the tension on the Rim, and you can see the two slowly drifting apart as they clash on how to deal with the mess they have found themselves in.
All four characters had their own internal battles to fight. All of them have been shaped and scarred by the war that was started ten years ago, all four have their own demons to fight, and by the end of this book I feel like I can almost see how all four characters are going to be shaped by the choices they made in Iron Gold in the next two books of the series.
As we followed four characters we almost got to see four different parts of the world Pierce Brown has created in this one book. Through Lysander we see more of the Rim and learn what it’s people have gone through since Darrow destroyed their docks in Morning Star, and through Lyria we see more of Mars and learn what the people there face now they have been freed from the mines, still waiting to see the brighter future that was promised to them. Through Darrow we see the heart of the war, we see how things have changed for him now he is fighting for the sovereign instead of against them. There were a lot of differences in the world after ten years of war, but Pierce Brown expanded on things incredibly well in this new book.
The main reason this book didn’t quite live up to Morning Star for me was because of the introduction of the new characters and the new world after ten years of war. Based on the way Iron Gold ended I have no doubts that the fifth and sixth books in the Red Rising Saga will be even better, and the fact that Dark Age is being released this year means there’s not much longer to wait to continue with Darrow’s story.
What did you think of Iron Gold? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.