Although I never reviewed the original Red Rising trilogy on this blog, believe me when I say that no series has ever made me feel such a range of emotions so strongly. Pierce Brown has a way of making me laugh, cry, and yell as I restrain myself from throwing a book across the room in stress. Iron Gold is no different – it is gripping from page 1, chock-full with lively characters and entertaining dialogue.
Warning: if you haven’t read Red Rising, this does contain spoilers for the series.
In case you are not aware, the original Red Rising series is set in a future world where humans have colonised space. The books follow Darrow, a Red, meaning that he is from the lowest class of people on Mars. When he learns the true extent of the injustice and oppression of the world, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold, the highest of society, and begins a mission to overturn the system from the inside out.
Iron Gold is Pierce Brown’s follow up series which follows Darrow’s new Republic ten years later, as he tried to stamp out the remaining challenges to his new society and bring peace to his people. It also follows a number of other new characters: Lyria is a Red who has lost everything, including her faith in the Republic, and who finds herself embroiled in a conspiracy far larger than anything she could have imagined; Ephraim, a former Son of Ares and thief, whose latest job pushes him to the edge; and Lysander au Lune, the grandson and heir of Octavia au Lune who has been living, in hiding, under the protection of Cassius au Bellona since the events of Morning Star. These characters begin in opposite corners of space, but sloly they come together in a riveting story of family, duty and honour.
All of the characters are well crafted, multi-faceted masterpiece, whether we knew them in Red Rising or not. I liked that those that we knew have been developed even further, and that those that we have met for the first time were given interesting backstories that made us feel like we had known them all along. Pierce Brown is excellent at building his characters and making us really understand them, and I was glad that the new characters stood up to the existing ones and I cared just as much about them as I did the ones that were familiar to me. My own personal favourites were Lyria and Rhonna, whose stories I am interested to keep following.
In this book you could see just how skilled Brown is in that he was able to explain, in a way that doesn’t feel boring or like an info-dump at all, everything that has happened in the 10 years between the last book and this one. The Red Rising books are not light reading, and you have to pay attention to grasp the details in the world-building, political systems and family dynamics that Brown has created, but the effort is always worth it. I was initially concerned that I would struggle to keep up, but Brown is really great at weaving in details to the story so that it is all relevant and interesting.
Finally, the story was, as always in the Red Rising series, exciting and fast-paced. Even with the multiple narrators, you are always guessing and the plot twists had me genuinely surprised and sitting on the edge of my seat.
Overall, as you can probably tell if you’ve read the whole review, I absolutely loved Iron Gold. I don’t know why I waited so long to read Iron Gold, but I’m glad I did because now I don’t have to wait before reading the next book – Dark Age! Straight onto the next one!