Pierce Brown brings IRON GOLD out of the rim of YA and dives deep into Science Fiction in a bloodydamn good way.
Disclosure: The galley of Iron Gold was given to me for an honest review.
If you finished Pierce Brown’s The Red Rising Trilogy thinking that Darrow, the lone narrator of the series, Mustang, Sevro, and Cassius had succeeded in ending the war and changing the way the Society runs, and thus liberating all people from all the worlds from their enslavement, you’d better get your bloodydamn head out of the clouds, because you obviously haven’t been paying attention.
Iron Gold is the first book of a new trilogy that follows up with Darrow and his crew ten years after the end of Morning Star. Several of the characters that were in the original trilogy are brought back into the fold, including Virginia au Augustus, aka Mustang, our favorite goblin and leader of the Howlers Sevro au Barca and his wife Victra au Barca, nee Julii, and Dancer, whose role has gone more political this time around.
Also making a return to the story is Cassius au Bellona, the former Morning Knight under Octavia au Lune’s reign as Sovereign. From the events at the end of Morning Star, we know that he left in a self-imposed exile, taking Lysander au Lune under his wing after the death of Lysander’s grandmother, the Sovereign.
Lysander himself is now on the cusp of adulthood, being the age of twenty during this first book. He also serves as one of the three new narrators, in addition to Darrow, telling their side of the story.
And all is not well.
Pierce brings us back to the Red Rising universe, and expands his world exponentially, introducing us to new characters with different perspectives of their world and the consequences that Darrow’s liberation has brought upon them over the last ten years.
Brown’s story reveals to us the dangers of such a drastic change in the world, or the universe, can put upon the people living in it. Of course we think change is good. Of course we know we’ll have some trouble with it. Of course it will be complicated, but how so, you might ask. Well, this is where Brown brings us to.
The story, feels much more dense and complex than the original trilogy was. With four characters narrating their side of things, across different areas of the galaxy, it shouldn’t be a surprise.Their unique experience, including their past, shapes how they’re seen in the book, and how they act and think. It gives us insight to their part of the Society and how they see the current Sovereign (Virginia) and her husband (Darrow) handle the issues that continue plaguing them.
And there are many. This story is not to be taken lightly and much needs to be paid attention to. With that said, for some readers it can be long with the details and not enough with the battles and violence that we’ve seen in the first series. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good story. Patience is what’s needed. Plus, the new characters bring a much needed variety of this world that Darrow lives in. It is no longer just focus on his perspective and his way of thinking, although his narrative is still a much more prevalent part of the story. But Brown is apt to give the others a respectful amount of narrative to broaden this world he’s created.
What’s shown, and what will likely be just a fraction of what we’ll see in the future books of the series, is not only getting to know what our new narrators are like and what they’ve experienced as well as empathizing or understanding with how much the war has changed them on a personal and visceral level.
Also narrating the story are Lyria of Lagalos and Ephraim ti Horn, two very different characters who see things very different from one another. Lyria was a Red from the Gamma clan and though she may have experienced some of the favoritism for her clan when she was much younger, her story has a much different path than gaining laurels as prizes.
Ephraim’s narrative holds a very interesting perspective that at first seems no more than a good thief, but as we find out more about him through the book, the more we want to know.
One thing to note when reading Iron Gold is that, yes, we are continuing the story of Darrow, but we are also being introduced to the stories of Lyria, Lysander, and Ephraim, and in the same book, so one may experience the lengthy-ness that world-building and character assessing consists of.
Because of that, it did feel a bit slow at the start of the book, but it also often felt like it was just the beginning of a much larger and complex story and something that shouldn’t be rushed, as if we needed to fully take in what was happening to these characters before we moved on to the bigger stuff. And considering how this book went (and because I believe Pierce Brown loves to torture us slowly,) there is definitely much bigger stuff coming.
After I finished the book, I wasn’t sure what to write about it. Words were lost on me and I felt overwhelmed in a new sort of way because of what I just read. There are some revelations and some shockers, to be true to form, but Brown tells the story in a way that really sinks in deep and is hard for your brain to just let go of. His characters take on real emotions and go through very realistic situations, both physically, psychologically, and emotionally. His characters are flawed through and through, they’re conflicted more than a few times, and none of them are wholly good or wholly bad. Pierce doesn’t write these characters in a way for you to like them, either, because sometimes they do things that you will definitely not like, multiple times.
Pierce Brown takes Iron Gold to the next level, wholly immersed in the science fiction genre. It’s mesmerizing and hooks you back into the vast and violent world of Red Rising and is unforgiving. Brown brings us to new expectations and heights that will tear you up from within with you begging for more. And you will bloodydamn appreciate it!
My rating: B
Iron Gold will be sold in stores starting tomorrow, January 16, 2018. Get your copy!