I am a big fan of the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. In fact, the audiobooks of Red Rising, narrated so fantastically by Tim Gerard Reynolds, are what sparked my love of audiobooks. It wasn’t only the narration, which is really top tier, but also the energy of the story itself that made me so excited. So I was fairly hyped for this new book continuing the series, and I wasn’t at all disappointed.
Iron Gold takes place ten years after the events in Morning Star. We’re reunited with several of our favorites while also being introduced to new characters. Our old friends have spent their entire adult lives fighting for change, some having gone into politics to create the new Solar Republic while others have been in the thick of the war against the Ash Lord and the lest vestiges of the Society.
Unlike the original trilogy, there are four point of view characters in this new part of the series. We’re reunited with Darrow as he argues with the government to allow him to end the war that’s been dragging on by continuing to spend money and troops in his fight to take out the Ash Lord. It’s his conviction that they must not make peace but completely destroy the old Society so that the new Republic can rule with no opposition. Darrow, true to himself, doesn’t much care for the government telling him what to do, even if it is being spearheaded by his family and friends.
We’re also following Lysander au Lune, the grandson of the old Sovereign, who has been under Cassius’ guardianship since he was a child. Lysander is young and eager to prove himself. He was a child when the revolution started and it’s clear he very much looks up to Cassius but he also wants to take charge of his own destiny.
Two new characters are also POV characters. Lyria of Lagalos is a low red that has been living in a very poorly supplied temporary camp since their mine was liberated a few years before. Ephraim ti Horn, is a gray, a former insurance appraiser, a former member of the Sons of Ares, and current thief and scam artist. Both Lyria and Ephraim share a certain disappointment, bitterness, and anger with the new government’s actions as they’ve lost loved ones during and because of the changes. Though they have this in common they deal with it in very different ways, Ephraim having fallen into a dark place while Lyria tries to remain positive, even in the face of all she’s experienced.
I loved this book for many reasons. The first being that often in dystopian fiction when the characters work to bring down those in charge to free everyone and open people’s eyes to new possibilities…the story often ends there. In this continuation we’re in the thick of building a new way of life and it’s *messy*. Ideals are great but they’re not always practical and often a lot of people get left by the wayside, even when you think you’re doing what’s best for everyone. Also, in taking down old regimes creates a power vacuum which can make enemies of old friends. I LOVE that this book brings all of this up and more. I think having the four POV’s really helps showcase the way this is effecting various people throughout the Republic.
Speaking of the POV characters…wow. At various points during the book I either loved or hated all of them. If this was a show I’d have been screaming at the television to try and get through to the characters. My experience was like ‘Yay, Darrow! I love Darrow!’ then later, ‘Dammit, Darrow! I hate Darrow!’. And it was pretty much like that with every single POV character to some degree. That being said, be prepared that you may have to set aside some of your hero worship of our old friends because during those ten years we’ve been absent from them they’ve been worn down by war and you may not always agree with their actions.
I also loved that we got to explore even more of the world in this book. This is a huge, sprawling world that is spread between planets and moons and conquering the old ideals is going to take time, money, and lots of bloodshed. And in the end is the new world going to actually be better than the old one or will it just be another system that only benefits a few? I guess we’ll find out in the later books.
A lot of stuff is set up here, and the end is a bit of a cliffhanger, but overall I felt like this was a great continuation and start to a new chapter in this saga. I’m extremely excited to see how the rest of this plays out. 5/5 stars.