Format: Hardcover, 624 pages
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Del Rey, Random House
Genre: Science Fiction / Action & Adventure
Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution in the action-packed new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Rising trilogy—the epic next chapter in Pierce Brown’s “haunting space opera.” —Entertainment Weekly
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?
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.
Story Locale: Space; future
Series Overview: RED RISING: Darrow, a lowly Red, leads a revolution to upend a color-coded Society ruled by the nefarious Gold overlords. He infiltrates their secret schools and warring families, rending Society asunder from within using the very tools of Gold oppression and hegemony. Fighting against an overwhelming enemy with the help of newfound friends and loved-ones Darrow’s efforts are finally rewarded with open revolution, as the Rising emerges from the shadows to break the chains and live for more.
Iron Gold, by author Pierce Brown, is the fourth installment in the Red Rising Saga. However, this is apparently the first installment in an entirely new arc. 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. Iron Gold picks up TEN years after the ending of Morning Star.
"Death begets death begets death" is one way of describing what happens in this book. From the onset, we are reintroduced to Darrow, who is once again doing what he does best. Trying to bring down the planet Mercury which is under one of Darrow's main adversaries. But, times haven't exactly been easy for him. It is the tenth year of war and Darrow no longer believes that peace can be achieved. Not even when is own wife is the leader of the Republic.
A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society which separated people by colors like Gold, Red, etc. 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 named Lyria flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined. An ex-soldier named Ephraim 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.
This is a book that is filled with darkness, betrayal, war and violence, and an entirely new set of characters who have waited their time before confronting the man, Darrow, who destroyed most of their lives. One could say that Darrow is his own worst enemy more times than not. This causes him undue heart aches with his wife, his son, and his former allies who now see him as someone who needs to be retired one way or the other.
Two of the three new characters really didn't nudge me in one direction of the other. Lyria and Ephraim both get caught up in things that see their lives fundamentally changed. Iron Gold is definitely a book large in scope, page count, and a more complicated plot and character development. I am hesitant in saying that Brown didn't really need to continue this series. If he had just left Darrow alone to his own devices, we wouldn't have the sort of ending that Brown leaves readers to stew on.
One could say that Darrow is still the main protagonist, but splitting up the airtime among Lyria, Lysander, and Ephraim gave the book a much broader scope. Having Ephraim, a former Grey resistance fighter, and Lyria, in particular, was great because it gave us a glimpse back into the lower reaches of the society. Author Brown also addresses those left over by Darrow's war. Those who have faced consequences from just being a certain color. There are those like Lyria who truly do stand for those who were lost in the cracks of Darrow's war. Whether or not we will see any resolution towards that aspect remains cloudy at best.
I shall repeat what others have said. While you probably can get away with reading this as a standalone, I would not recommend it. As I've said before, it doesn't make sense to jump into a series at this point without knowing what happened from the beginning and who the characters that Darrow calls friends and allies. There is way too much history and in order to understand Darrow and others, you need to know why they matter to you, the reader.