About a year ago I discovered Pierce Brown’s incredible series Red Rising, and after some initial resistance, I was quickly enthralled by its incredible action, compelling story, awesome characters, and enticing writing.
I devoured the three books in the series, and then immediately dove back in for a reread.
I enjoyed the trilogy more than I had enjoyed any other new series in a long time.
To me, Golden Son was the best book of the trilogy, but the original Red Rising remains my favorite.
As I’m sure you can expect, I was supremely excited when the sequel trilogy was announced, and eagerly related the release of Iron Gold.
During the months before its release, I read the Sons of Ares comic series, which was a nice way to stay connected to the Red Rising universe, but still proved to be unsatisfying to my ravenous appetite.
When it was announced that Iron Gold would have four POV characters including Darrow, but not solely him, I was annoyed.
Darrow is one of my favorite characters of all time, he’s awesome, why would I want to hear from anyone else?
But then I figured, the guy Cassius is pretty cool, as is Mustang, and a Sevro POV would be absolutely incredible. So, with this in mind, I came around to the idea.
Then it was announced that the POV characters would be Darrow, Lyria (a Red), Ephraim (a Gray), and Lysander deposed heir of the Society.
And the selfish feelings of annoyance arrived again.
I understood Brown’s reasoning for including the characters, but struggled with the idea that new characters could come close to matching the excitement and thrill of reading Darrow’s POV.
Still, despite my doubts, I was excited for Iron Gold to arrive.
Eight days ago it finally did.
I planned on reading it all immediately, but unfortunately my skills have slipped some from my book reading prime.
(I’m also busier now than I was in 9th grade, but only a pixie makes excuses for his own failings).
I finished the book in a week, and enjoyed it considerably.
The next paragraph or so will be spoiler free (for Iron Gold), but after that, I’m going to delve into some spoilers.
So, I would say this was probably my 3rd favorite book of the series. The order goes:
1. Red Rising: I think Golden Son is better, but this one started my love affair with the series
and that feeling is hard to beat.
2. Golden Son: Has probably the two best scenes in the series, the duel with Cassius and the
and the Iron Rain on Mars.
3. Iron Gold: I’ll delve in more in the spoiler section, but I was riveted throughout.
4. Morning Star: Probably unfairly downgraded because of the bittersweet nature of the
series “ending” with this book.
Still spoiler free.
I will say, I enjoyed all of the POVs (some more than others) and came to really appreciate what was going on with those characters.
All four were important for showing what was going on in different parts of the world.
That said, I did find myself groaning when I had to switch POVs (especially when switching from Darrow’s) but all in all, I did enjoy them all.
This book is filled with surprises, shocks, action, and complicated characters. Fans will be quickly enthralled by the world once again.
Overall I’d rate Iron Gold about 89/100. Completely subjectively and just after one read through.
For context: Red Rising is about a 93/100, Golden Son is about a 95/100, and Morning Star is around an 87/100.
That concludes the spoiler free portion of this review. Thank you for coming, have a nice day.
Did they leave yet?
Good! Now that it’s just us we can really delve into this.
What I’m going to do is discuss how I felt about each plot/POV, the overall plot, and just some general thoughts.
I enjoyed Lyria’s POV. Her character was important because she showed that for many low-colors the Rising has not improved their lot in life, and many cases has even made it worse.
I did not enjoy when her story became entangled with Ephraim’s, but overall I found it enjoyable.
She provided a much needed look on how “true” low-colors felt about the Rising. I also thought that the glimpse we saw into the refugee camps was fascinating.
Another awesome part was getting to see the Telemanus’ again and lord knows we could all use more of those giants in our lives.
Lyria was cool because while bitter and angry, she was still a good person, and her story overall kept me interested.
This was definitely my third favorite POV, but I enjoyed her character a lot. I think the Reds are my favorite of all the colors, though it may just be because we’ve seen a lot of them.
I feel like we could have made due with either Ephraim or Lyria’s POV.
Both were disgruntled low-colors, who hadn’t felt the upside of the Rising. Of course Ephraim was able to voice his dismay a little louder as a result of his military training.
So I didn’t hate Ephraim’s POV by any stretch, but I definitely enjoyed it less than the others.
It was cool to see into the criminal underworld of the Republic. I didn’t enjoy how explicitly his story intertwined with Lyria’s as previously mentioned, but overall his POV chapters were fairly good.
The whole, deliver the children to the Duke of Hands, and then save them immediately after,
I didn’t really like Lysander, but I immensely enjoyed his chapters.
I was fascinated by the glimpses we got of the Rim, and how they sorted of captured what the Society was supposed to be like.
What was truly cool to me was the insight that they were heavily influenced by Japanese culture, these kind of peaks into the world of Red Rising are to me what make the series so fascinating.
The world Pierce Brown has built is so complex, layered, and just beautiful. You can tell the love, thought, and craft that went into building it, and that’s what makes the entire series click so well.
Back to Lysander.
It was awesome to see Cassius (one of my favorite characters) again, even if he “died”. (MY MANS IS NOT DEAD)
I appreciate Lysander as a character and his inner conflict is compelling, but I don’t like him.
Which is probably the point.
Sweet, sweet Darrow. The Reaper of Mars. Oh how I cherish thee.
Still my favorite character, still my favorite POV.
Did Darrow make mistakes?
In his (not his) own words: