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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, dystopia
Hardcover: 596 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: January 16, 2018

Series:  Red Rising, #4

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third 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 all 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.


Ever since I found out there was going to be more of Darrow's story, it's been harder than anticipating Christmas! We needed answers to see what happened to the broken-in-pieces Republic. Don't go thinking this is the "same story" as we've heard before. It's quite an adjustment from the last series since there are four narrators.

I found it hardest to get used to the switching viewpoints, though I do understand why it had to happen this way to understand the chronology of plot events. Just when you were really, REALLY interested in seeing what was going to happen next, the narrator changed and as a reader who basically reads for "what happened next", I was super frustrated. Doesn't mean I didn't like or appreciate the different viewpoints. In fact, I really enjoyed getting to know Lyria and Lysander. The one I was most frustrated with was Ephraim, but I also saw what he brought to the story. And I especially relished seeing him spar with Pax and Electra. I'll come back to that in a minute.

Let's talk about Darrow for a second. Darrow isn't our noble, "always think he's right/justified in his actions" hero that we've come to love. Here, he's garnered quite a bit of mistrust among the new Republic. Is he capable of stopping the bloodshed? Is he capable of acting like a man versus an animal? Is his way of thinking right, as we've been conditioned to assume throughout the first three novels, or is he paranoid? I don't think any of these get answered, but it'll be interesting to see how he redeems himself. (Or goodness, I hope he proves his credibility again...) There's also the question of his motivations regarding his family. Virginia is still Sovereign and Darrow's recent actions have called her leadership into question, jeopardizing everything they've worked for and potentially causing a civil war. Darrow also doesn't have a good relationship with his son, Pax, now a tween, making the same choices his own father did when Darrow was young. Additionally, he has made his niece Rhonna as one of his lancers to protect her from getting killed at the request of his brother, and though Rhonna has more than proven her capabilities, he's still holding her back from real responsibilities.

When we talk about Darrow, we also have to talk about some of our other beloved characters. Sevro and Victra are doing splendidly having had four daughters already, the eldest being Electra. Victra is very pregnant, and has some super memorable moments in this novel -- for good or ill. One impressive thing is how Victra crushes herself into battle armor while eight months pregnant and flies a ship AND has a dogfight in said ship. This is like Wonder Woman x4. I actually missed seeing more of Victra in this novel, but I expect that is definitely going to change in the next one due to some key plot developments. Back to Sevro, who is so much more emotional now that he's had four daughters. He really wears his love for his family on his sleeve just like his love for Darrow. It's sweet and endearing, but also entirely expected with his Howler/pack mentality. In fact, this love for his family comes into direct conflict with his love for Darrow and you'll see which side he chooses when all is said and done. I missed more of Sevro here too. His personality didn't have many chances to shine.

I also think Brown was trying to rectify some comments others had made about the first three books and include more world building, but I found it parts of it confusing, especially descriptions of the Syndicate. I actually didn't like very many settings in this novel except when Lysander and Cassius are on their spaceship. Maybe because they are so very different, or it was just hard to notice the setting since both characters and setting changed so rapidly. My final opinion? I don't love this as much as the first three but we'll definitely see where it leads. It had to change sometime, and actually, the very different plot structure reminds me of Gabaldon with her different arcs for each novel.

Saved the best for last! My absolute FAVORITE quote in this book was when we're allowed to finally see Virginia breathe a bit and grow some claws: "If you attempt to escape, or if you defect to the Syndicate, know this as a certain fact: your friend will die.  And be it on Mars, Luna, Earth, the Rim, or Venus itself, one night you will wake in the middle of the dark and find a shadow standing over you. If you are lucky, it will be me. If you are unlucky, it will be Sevro or my husband, and you will die shitting yourself in a foreign bed." YAASS QUEEN!

What did you all think?

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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