- Series: Red Rising Series (Book 4)
- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (October 23, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425285936
- ISBN-13: 978-0425285930
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 485 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Iron Gold: A Red Rising Novel (Red Rising Series) Paperback – October 23, 2018
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PRAISE FOR PIERCE BROWN AND THE RED RISING SAGA
“[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today
“Brown writes layered, flawed characters . . . but plot is his most breathtaking strength. . . . Every action seems to flow into the next.”—NPR
“In a word, Golden Son is stunning. Among science fiction fans, it should be a shoo-in for book of the year.”—Tordotcom
“A page-turning epic filled with twists and turns . . . The conclusion to [Pierce] Brown’s saga is simply stellar.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Brown’s vivid, first-person prose puts the reader right at the forefront of impassioned speeches, broken families, and engaging battle scenes.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Pierce Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, and Dark Age. His work has been published in thirty-three languages and thirty-five territories. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next novel.
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Most of the elements (original pattern of speech, rich vocabulary, unapologetic exploration of emotional and philosophical undercurrents, unpredictable twists and turns, constant play of contrasts) that made the Red Rising a masterpiece, surviving my multiple re-reads, are preserved in this book but the soul is missing.
Unlike its predecessors, this book is not blessed with self-awareness. I felt so far from the characters and the events like the story has been told too many times before it was written on the pages in front of me.
I did get into it around the 80% mark. I wouldn’t even mind cliffhanger if the ride to the cliff was real and not a holo-immersion.
Lysander's arc was not essential to this story. I assume it builds the next installment and was added to preserve the chronology. But it was distracting, albeit enjoyable. Lyria's arc is shallow, lots of telling and very little showing after she gets to Luna. I wanted to see Lyria's anger and isolation in a dialogue with other colors which would have helped the world building from the inside out.
Too many planets to handle: Luna, Venus, Earth, Io. Too many social powers: Republic, Society, The Red Hand, Syndicate, The Rimm, houses, disassembled Sons of Ares. All of these elements are introduced through too many descriptives, page after page. To be a five-star book, the page count has to double. Or better yet, split it into two books with Lyria's and Lysander's points of view earning the spot of the main arc in two separate books. I will not abandon this author and the Red Rising series. I will not advise any readers to not read this book. Just prepare to put work into it and, perhaps, be ready for a mild disappointment the finish line. The hope for the future books to come is still alive and well. ADDED LATER: Try reading Lysander's point of view as a novel, skipping all others. And then try reading Ephraim's, Darrow' and Lyria's POVs as intended (skipping Lysander's). It flows so much better and your emotions are not at a constant "stop-and-go" pace.
However, Iron Gold - the first installment in a new trilogy set in the same universe - falls a little flat.
The revolution is over. Set 10 years after the events of Morning Star, Iron Gold is about what it looks like to rule after a revolution and regime change. Once again, Brown creates a believable world preoccupied with moral dilemmas about politics, war, and power. And, instead presenting the entire narrative from the point-of-view of one protagonist (Darrow), Brown introduces three more POV-characters - which expands the scope of the series considerably.
However, one of my issues with this book is its over-reliance on secondary characters. The future society in the Red Rising series is heavily influenced by ancient Roman culture, so nearly every proper noun in the series is unfamiliar to the reader. While this an unique spin (and, honestly, one of the distinctive elements and main draws of the series), it makes keeping track of all the different characters incredibly difficult once things start getting complicated.
And, boy, do things get complicated fast.
Between all the different Colors, Houses, planets, factions, dynasties, political parties, alliances, underworld gangs, rogue military units, marriages, spies, traitors, sibling rivalries, children, and family grudges, you'll be wishing for a far more detailed index of characters and places than is offered at the start of the book. Kudos to Brown for creating a world that rivals George R. R. Martin's labyrinth of interweaving characters in such a short amount of time.
In other words, if you don't have encyclopedic knowledge of the Red Rising universe, you're probably going to spend at least a 1/3 of this book lost and confused.
Multiple times throughout the book, I couldn't tell if I was being introduced to a new character or reintroduced to a character I should already know. And, unfortunately, this sapped a lot of the emotional urgency from the narrative when some of these characters were in danger or met grisly ends.
At 600 pages, Iron Gold is the longest book in the series thus far, but it doesn't feel as if too much really happens. The action scenes are few and far between, and there are so many characters they sometimes feel as if they've been reduced to pieces moving on a chessboard than fully realized people.
I know it sounds as if I'm being overtly negative, but the original trilogy was so riveting, engaging, and personal, it's hard not to feel a little let down by a novel that wants to be so much more than the sum of its parts. With all that being said, there are several elements of the book I can praise.
Whether it's an orbital bombardment, beachfront assault, or one-on-one combat, there are very few writers who can capture the horrors of war with such beauty and mess. And Brown is a master at plotting. His ability to create unexpected confrontations and scenarios in a genre so overridden with cliches is second-to-none. At no point was I ever bored.
Even though it was (more than) occasionally frustrating, I enjoyed my experience with Iron Gold. I have to remind myself that it's a setup for an entirely new trilogy arc. I am excited for the next installment, and I genuinely care what happens to the characters - including some of the new additions. I'm looking forward to Dark Age, which is due out this fall.
This first of a new trilogy struggles, predictably, to meet its own bar. I hoped for a new installment to rival the first trilogy, but I did not expect it. Pierce’s authorial life is much more full this go around - his considerations much more complex. This book comes on the heels of a whirlwind success, there are new demographics, infinitely more input, the legitimate potential of screen adaptation, whereas the first trilogy was penned without expectations. So many more variables played into the writing of this and so much less time. This is predictable. Sad, but expected.
Nonetheless, despite falling short of equaling the first trilogy in thematic merit, character drama, or complexity of plot, this book is fantastic. The tone is there. The voice is more mature. And the story is still compelling. Being the lesser of this universe is still a high praise and Iron Gold remains standing far above what Pierce’s contemporaries dream of achieving. Worth reading. Not worth comparing to his first.