Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? My anticipation for this book was raw and pure joy. I think I did a fine job for myself by pre-ordering it as a birthday gift, considering it released the day before my birthday, lol. The book gods and Pierce Brown have blessed me tenfold and more.
Title: Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Ray Books
Release date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian
Length: 603 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
Brown presents four different facets of people changed and shaped by the war: Lyria of Lagalos, a Red; Lysander au Lune, a Gold and grandson of the previous Sovereign, Octavia; Ephraim ti Horn, a Gray and former Son of Ares who fought in the war to break the chains of Gold rule; and finally the Reaper, Darrow of Lykos, a Red who transformed himself into a Gold. But ten years has passed since then. His wife, Virigina the Lionheart, is Sovereign, but the world they built together is crumbling in their very hands.
“Change isn’t made by mobs that envy, but by men who dare.”
I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of these four characters, their different backgrounds and ideas. When dystopian series like Red rising ends, I feel as if a lot of the readers ask themselves, “What happens next?” Well, Brown gives us that, and it isn’t pretty. I don’t think it’s meant to be pretty, not when such a lustrous regime fell. But the truth is, not everyone has accepted the fall of the Golds and the equality of the Colors. The Rising simply brought forth new prejudices and Color (racial) biases. The entire solar system will not bow down to the Sovereign and the Slave King, and some on the Rim and beyond still hold out that Golds will once reclaim their initial duty: to shepherd.
The heavy weight Darrow carries with him is heartbreaking. At one time, he thought this would be easy, but alas, he has learned otherwise. He wants to settle down, to spend time with his wife and child, but peace is not easy. I don’t think Darrow is ever truly content with what he has done in order to free the other planets, moons, etc., from Gold rule. To him, there’s more he can do, more that can be done, and it nags at him even more when the tenure of the Sovereign and Darrow’s own disobedience and a group known as the Vox Populii come to the forefront. Darrow thinks he’s protecting people, but I truthfully believe he’s hurting more than helping at this point. At one point, I wanted to throw my book across the room.
(But then I’d damage it so who am I kidding. This sucker’s 600 pages!)
“…[L]ove does not fade. Love is the stars, and its light carries on long after death.”
I wasn’t super enamored with Lyria and Ephraim’s stories and how they become intertwined. However, both are bitter, and while one’s viewpoint becomes slightly more understanding when exposed to the world more, the other simply stays bitter–tired of fighting and hearing things that no longer come to fruition or are no longer true, at least not for him any longer. Yet I did like the heist part of the book, because we were exposed to the real underbelly of the society. Granted, we knew it existed but to see it tangle with some of the main characters in the story was good.
“They planted us in stones, watered us with pain, and now marvel we have thorns.”
Both the worst and lovely part of this for me was Sevro. Who knew I could become so attached? lol Love how adoring of a father he is and how dedicated and loyal he is to Darrow. But man, does Darrow put him through some crap. I like this softer side to Sevro, too. Personally, I liked all the supporting characters as well. I’d absolutely kill to read chapters from his or Mustang’s POV. Speaking of Mustang, give me all of fierce, independent, and capable Virginia!
But with that being said, I struggled with my feelings for Lysander. His deep connection with Cassius and their journey for the past ten years made their parting a struggle as well. The years after the Rising was not pleasant for Cassius, emotionally and mentally, and I feel as if he took Lysander under his wing out of obligation and duty. Lysander reminded me a great deal of Roque (less psychotic, of course). He carries a sadness with him, and deep down, he has some bitterness too–about the Rising and Darrow as well. I’m just trying to figure out if it’s all justified in the end.
Brown’s writing and his world is incredibly captivating. It was an absolute and utter joy to return to the world of Red Rising. I can’t believe book 5 is scheduled to come out in the fall. I hope it doesn’t get pushed back like this one was, but if it means more amazingness from Brown, I think I can handle it!