Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Page Count
: 630

I have waited for this book to be released for what feels like eternity. However, I will be the first to admit that the wait was totally worth it. I had the pleasure to buddy read this book with the one and only Analee @Book Snacks (read her review here!) and it couldn’t have been more fun. I guarantee, there were a lot of ALL CAPS conversations going on and I just love that we were able to talk about it in almost real time, even though we are time zones apart.

Before I continue, this review is Spoiler free, nonetheless, I urge you to not read on if you haven’t checked out the original Red Rising trilogy first.

Reading this book was like coming home after a very, very long time, just to find your life in ruins with your friends and family tired and divided. We pick up 10 years after the end of Morning Star and the new Republic is still at war with its bordering regions. I was disappointed in the lack of progress Darrow and Mustang have achieved during their reign and definitely understood the frustration among the people. It just feels like it NEVER ends! The pain keeps coming, the injustice keeps happening and as always death begets death begets death.

The saga was always about racism, but somehow it hit me in the face even more during this part of the series. There were some scenes that might as well could have been straight out of the 21st century with examples of racial profiling and police brutality. Especially one of the new POVs offered insight into this matter and quickly became one of the most stand-out voices.

To put it lightly, shit escalates quickly. I don’t see what good it would do to go into detail about the plot, especially since I promised this would be spoiler free. Instead, I want to focus on my thoughts and feelings for all 4 different POVs.

  • Darrow: Reaper has gotten older, but I am not sure he has gotten all the wiser. His decisions weigh heavy on him and there are things he has done that he will most likely never be able to redeem.
    It is obvious that he loves his family, the one he was born into and the one he chose, but the war has worn his trust thin and his patience even more so. I am at a loss with Darrow. On the one hand, I understand most of his decisions and that he truly believes he is doing what is best for his people, but on the other hand, I think he has lost sight of who he is.
    One of his greatest qualities was always his ability to inspire faith and trust in others, but now that he has lost that in a way, I am not sure how he will fare. I think that the next novel’s title (Dark Age) will also very much mirror Darrow’s inner storm.
  • Lyria: Lyria’s POV was the one I could get into the easiest. She is a fierce Red with a tragic backstory. There was an immediate emotional connection and I absolutely loved how her story slowly intertwined with those of the others. She deserves so much better than the crap that life handed her, but she’s a survivor, much like Darrow even if she would hate that comparison.
  • Ephraim: Eph sure doesn’t make it easy to like him. He brings a sort of heist-component to the story, but makes it difficult to connect with him. He is bitter and reckless and does just plain wrong things, but he also has one of the most precious crew members in the shape of Volga. I find it hard to see where his allegiance lies. I think he is at a point in his life where he only lives for himself, if what he does can be called living.
  • Lysander: Lysander is cancelled for life! I cannot even with this child of a man. All he cares about is Gold and honor, without understanding what either of those things mean. He has one of the most fickle minds I have EVER seen in the history of literary characters and it drove me nuts! All of his decisions were selfish and childish. He refuses to listen, he doesn’t honor those closest to him and I very much doubt he has the stomach for what is to come next. Wherever he goes, people will keep dying and I have no problem blaming him for it.

At the end of it all, Iron Gold was definitely more of a set up and introduction of new players than anything else. I cannot wait for what’s to come next and I am sure Pierce Brown will deliver as per usual. According to Goodreads, Dark Age will be released on Sept. 11 and that means the book gods have blessed us with two releases in one year. I might actually burst into happy tears!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! I have only love for this saga (and a lot of anger)!

Have you read the Red Rising saga? Have you read Iron Gold? What are your thoughts?

 

TTT: Reasons I Love the Red Rising Trilogy

top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, if you want to know more about it, you can just click on the name! This week was almost like a freebie, seen as you could talk about basically anything you like. Here’s the official theme:

Ten Reasons I Love Xcould be a certain book, character, author, your indie bookstore, a fandom, a tv show, reading, a hobby, a genre. Honestly anything you want to gush about.

So, everyone knows that I adore the Red Rising books! Seriously, if you don’t – WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING THESE PAST MONTHS!? In the unlikely case you truly haven’t heard about it, this is the post that will definitely prove my admiration for it.

1. Pierce Brown

Let’s face it – without this incredible man we just wouldn’t have the books. He is funny and smart and quite frankly also really good looking. He is one of those rare authors who can get your attention on social media and make you want to read his books because of his charisma without you knowing what the books are really about. It’s the added bonus that Red Rising is this amazing series.

pierce3

2. A Flawed but Perfect Hero

I know that statement is very contradictory, but Darrow’s character depth is just beyond anything I’ve experienced. He makes mistakes, he is flawed, but at the same time he is the kind of leader you would follow to the end of the universe and give your life for. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes at all, yet he manages to inspire people in the best ways.

3. Amazing Side Characters

It’s definitely not just Darrow who is great! I could just make a list of names of all the characters I will cherish or despise forever, but I won’t because it would be majorly long. Just know that they are as developed as the main character. That they have motivation and cause for their actions, even if they sometimes feel like knifes in the back.

4. Twists and Turns

I’ve already sort of lead up to this point. Don’t try to anticipate what’s going to happen in these books, because in 9/10 cases you won’t be able to guess it for sure. It makes the story so great, because Pierce takes you in one direction and then simply reeks chaos. It’s what makes this such an exhilarating read.

5. Great World-Building

I remember there being a lot of information on the world in the first book, sometimes a bit too much, but it will sink in eventually and it’s such an intricate world. It has its own slang and language, without overdoing it or making it annoying. Also, I love the names!

6. All the References

Are you into Greek, Roman or Northern mythology? Do you like historic references? This is most definitely the book for you! But even if you don’t have any idea about that kind of stuff, it will make sense within the context of the books.

7. Social Criticism

And it is done in the most entertaining and enlightening way possible!

8. Blurs the Lines

Who is good, who is evil? Is this a YA or an adult book? Do I trust this person or not? (Oh, there are SO many trust issues!) You can’t really choose a side or at least a lot of the time people don’t turn out to be who you thought they would be.

9. A Bit of Everything

There may not be everything in equal parts, but it sure is all in there. It will make you feel all the feels, because it’s a tale about revenge, justice, honor, family, love and everything in between.

10. It’s Not Over Yet

You  know those stories where the hero accomplishes his task and you just wonder how the world is going to go on now? Worry not, Pierce Brown is currently working on a follow up series (Iron Gold) that will explore exactly that issue. Aside from that, they are also working on a movie adaptation of Red Rising and they are taking their time and working with Pierce to do that exactly right. I will consider this as a good sign.

What’s a book that made you feel all these things? Which topic did you choose for your TTT?

Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

morningstarDarrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.
Finally, the time has come.
But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Page Count:
 518

Morning Star is the third and final book in Brown’s trilogy. If you haven’t read the previous installments, Red Rising and Golden Son, I highly suggest you stay far away from this review!!! Like far, far away! In the following there will be a spoiler-free and a spoiler section (clearly marked), but Brown’s books are best experienced when you are clueless in my opinion.

Have you ever had a book hangover while reading the book? This is sort of what reading Morning Star felt like. I was so excited to finally get the book, to read more about Darrow and his friends and foes, however, as soon as I turned to the first page, I dreaded the story coming to an end. My mind was split between wanting to know what happens next and not wanting to finish it at all. So, for my standards, it took me forever to read it! Like always though, Pierce Brown knows how to crush your feels and I felt like nearly having a heart attack a couple of times.

Throughout the series our characters turned from rash teenagers to wiser adults. We plowed through Greek, Roman and now Norse mythology. There were betrayals that felt like a knife in the back and people so fiercely loyal, they warm your heart. War is a nasty business, something I rarely like to read about because of obvious reasons I think, but somehow Brown has managed to captivate me with this tale. It was an epic journey, spanning over the course of several years. He always managed to surprise me, gave me the most bookish trust issues, yet also made me feel deeply for all of the characters. I loved experiencing this world, but that is all that I can say without spoiling you. Pierce Brown is truly writing King!

I asked for a throne @randomhouse built me a throne. Now where is my castle!

A photo posted by Pierce Brown (@piercebrownofficial) on Feb 19, 2016 at 8:16am PST

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***SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS***

There are some things that need to be discussed and that is only possible with people who’ve read the book, so if you are still reading this, without having done so – don’t be a Pixie and return after reading! Believe me, you don’t want to be spoiled! I am just going to straight out say things that you shouldn’t know, so go!

A lot happened, there was so much more war talk and strategising in the past two books than in the first one. Some of it was overwhelming at times, but what I really want to talk about are the relationships in Morning Star! Pierce promised us a love interest for Sevro and he delivered! I would have liked to see a tiny bit more of Sevro and Victra together before they got married, but I do feel that they fit perfectly. They both have a weird sense of humour, are tough with a soft core and they would do anything and everything for Darrow. I am so happy they found each other.

Then that bombshell at the end!!! I bet little Pax is the cutest child in all the worlds. How could she not spill that secret? Mustang is truly the master at this game. I am glad it was her on the throne in the end, because as Darrow has realised himself, he couldn’t have done it.

As always, a lot of people died. No one will be surprised by the fact that I was devastated at Ragnar’s demise, but I was a little astonished with myself at how deeply I felt for Roque. I think it was because I was like Darrow, wanting him back as a friend, being sad that we lost him during the journey. Ultimately, I am glad that at least Cassius was redeemed. I won’t even talk about how much I hate Aja and Jackal … that’s just a given.

And lastly, I still can’t believe he “almost” killed Sevro twice. Like WTF?

***SPOILERS OFF***

Fazit: 5/5 stars! It was truly an epic conclusion to an epic tale! However, I am glad we will get to stay in that same universe with Brown‘s follow-up trilogy.

5stars

Have you read Brown’s books? Are you as smitten as me? Did you think this was the ending the story deserved? Are you yearning for more as well?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

redrisingThe Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page Count: 382

I started this book not knowing what to expect. Seen as Pierce Brown was crowned hottest YA author by Buzzfeed (Yes, this is for real! Check out the post here!), I guess I just assumed that Red Rising would be a Young Adult dystopian novel … well, I am not so sure now. Despite the main characters being teens, I think this is a very adult book.

You cannot imagine how “gorydamn” hard it is for me to write this review right now, because this book took me completely by surprise and swept me off my feet. I can’t say that it was love at first sight though. The book itself is separated into several parts and it starts out with a lot of information, just to negate everything we thought we knew in the second part. The world-building is really complex with it’s own unique vocabulary that needs some time getting used to. Like Districts in the Hunger Games and Factions in Divergent, we now have Colours that separate the people – Red being the lowest and Gold being the highest in the hierarchy. There were also tons of references to Greek and Roman mythology, which I really loved, which I thought gave the story a very distinct voice.

Right from the beginning everything is very dark, cruel and unjust. A lot of things are already considered given from the get go, but at the same time so many very emotional things happen that you aren’t yet ready for. I think that maybe there wasn’t enough time to get to know everyone properly for some of the tropes to really hit you with their full force. However, as I went on I found myself unable to put the book down. There was this raw rage, the sense of injustice, an incredible amount of scheming and the pure confusion about who to trust. My whole body tensed up at times, almost shaking from the intensity with which I had to know how the story continues.

I really have to give it to Pierce Brown for creating such complex characters, each of them having a unique motivation, likable and dislikable traits. Darrow is a strong hero, but he is also human and therefore makes mistakes. He is incredibly relatable in his struggle between getting vengeance and justice for his people, but he is far from being the only great character! I changed my mind about so many people several times throughout the book, feeling my heart crack every single time there was another betrayal or death. So many people die! I was emotionally exhausted by the end.

In the end, I can only give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because of it’s slow start. Other than that I utterly loved it and cannot wait to continue with the series!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! People who like dystopian novels in the slightest bit HAVE TO check it out!

5stars

Do you know what I am going to do now? I am going to order Golden Son, that’s what! Have you read Red Rising? What’s your take on it?