Book Review: Iron Gold

33876216Rating Five Star

Title: Iron Gold

Author: Pierce Brown

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Series? Yes

Goodreads

Book Depository // Dymocks // Booktopia


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia, all opinions are mine.

Note: This review will contain spoilers for the first Red Rising trilogy (including spoilers of the last book, Morning Star). I promise it will be absolutely spoiler-free for Iron Gold itself! If you haven’t read the previous trilogy, what are you waiting for?! Go binge it immediately, it will be one of the best decisions you’ll make this year.

Iron Gold
Darrow Character Art by Magali Villeneuve

I can say with absolute certainty that the Red Rising trilogy is one of the best series I’ve ever read, and it’s one I regularly recommend to avid bookworms and reluctant readers alike. Aside from its gripping action and high-octane emotional drama, the series is populated by some of my fictional favourites. While I found Morning Star a wholly satisfying conclusion, I was pumped to discover Pierce Brown wanted to expand on the series. We’ve seen numerous fictional tyrannical empire fall before visionary young leaders, yet we rarely witness the aftermath of these upheavals. Iron Gold explores the conflict and unrest which continues to plague the newfound Republic a decade after its establishment.

“War eats the victors last.”

If the first trilogy is an examination of revolutions and wars, this sequel trilogy scrutinizes the slippery slope of governance and politics. In classic Red Rising manner, Iron Gold never deals in moral absolutes. The readers are shown numerous sides of every political debate, and I can appreciate the hefty weight that Mustang carries on her shoulders as the Sovereign of the new Republic. Similarly, Darrow faces a multitude of challenges as he’s simultaneously the ArchImperator of the Republic, and a living symbol of The Rising. Our heroes’s exploits during the The Rising have been made into legend in the decade that followed the fall of society, but we will soon find out that being living gods is a tough act when the fate of the Solar System hinges on your every decision.

Alongside with the challenges of governance, we also see Darrow grapple with being a father and a husband. One of Darrow’s most enduring trait throughout the series is his inability to choose, whether it’s he’s torn between his identity as someone who’s both Red and Gold – or picking between his duties to the Republic and his responsibilities to Mustang and his son, Pax. We also see several other characters struggle with the fine balancing act that comes with a family, most delightful of all being the Barca – Sevro and Victra both retains the essence of their character, honed all the sharper in their roles as parents.

On the flipside to the Republic, the book also follows Lysander and Cassius as they travel to the Rim of the system.  The Rim is somewhere I’ve always wanted the first trilogy to explore in more details, so I felt gratified to see it in sharp focus during Lysander’s chapters. The culture of the Rim is derivative of Japanese traditions, in particular the honour codes of the samurai. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to see the world building head towards this direction –thankfully the influences avoided cultural misappropriation by featuring more than stereotypes and aesthetics. Numerous new personalities emerge from the Rim, with my favourites being the two mother-daughter duo of Dido and Seraphina.

Another reason why I found Lysander’s chapter engaging was the philosophy by which he lived, as they are drastically different from my own. Although I don’t agree with his point of view, at times they infuriated me, I could always understand where he was coming from. I can’t wait to see where future books will take his character and his choices. A mirror to his own story arc, Lysander’s relationship with Cassius is fraught with contradiction and tension. Their brotherhood is tainted by mistrust and Cassius’s betrayal of the Golds ten years ago, yet strengthened by the time they spent in exile together. This series has such a knack for layered friendships and this one quickly became one of my favourites.

Two new voices are added in this series, and they both add another dimension of depth to the world of Red Rising. The first is Lyria of Lagalos, a Red been liberated from the mines – but finds herself shackled by poverty and prejudice that still plagues this new world. Her narration is filled with resentment towards Darrow and Mustang, along with the unfulfilled promises of the Republic. I loved her chapters, especially for the way Iron Gold incisively criticises the ongoing social injustices of the real world through it. The other point of view is Ephraim ti Horn, a Gray who once served in The Rising, but walked away once bloodshed and tragedies turned him cynical. Through his eyes, we see the underbelly of society, where gangsters and thieves are caught in an interplanetary web of crime and deceits. Ephraim is also the first main character in Red Rising to openly identify as gay, and I’m glad to see a step towards more inclusivity in this series.

The world building is expanded immensely in this book, yet it never gets in the way of the constant thrum of action. There are machinations from all sides, open-war and heart-stopping combat, betrayals and triumph, and underlying all of that – a deeply personal narrative about how difficult it is to remain a hero in a broken world.   But they bloodydamn try, and I love them all for it.

As I said to CJ on twitter earlier on today, it’s not a Red Rising book unless you feel your very existence is being threatened while reading it. Iron Gold certainly fits that bill, so Howlers: brace yourselves and pray for your faves.


Please tell me whether you’ve read this series, and let me know your thoughts. However: No spoilers for Iron Gold in the comments please, or The Reaper himself will come for you with his slingBlade.

I also posted some phone wallpapers based on the book earlier on this week, check them out here!

Midnight Designs: Iron Gold

Iron Gold Twitter Teaser

NOTE: Post will contain mild SPOILERS for the first Red Rising trilogy! There are no spoilers for Iron Gold, beyond a few quotes you might have seen in other promotional materials.

Two graphics posts within a week is unprecedented, but I’ve been very lucky with my 2018 reads and have loved them enough to create edits. Iron Gold is the first of a new trilogy in the Red Rising series, and it’s a game-changer. I usually get series-fatigue with expanded trilogies, but Pierce Brown keeps me coming back for more with his addictive pacing and morally complex characters. I could go on for pages, but I’ll save it for my review, published next week!

  • Quotes belong to Howler alpha Pierce Brown, official character artwork by artist Magali Villeneuve.
  • The phone wallpapers are free for your personal use only.
  • Please do not edit, repost, redistribute the images.
  • They are made for iPhone 6, but should fit most smartphones.

Iron Gold Darrow Wallpaper

“War eats the victors last.”

Darrow of Lykos is a living legend, after all, he is the man who led the Rising against the Republic. Ten years later, Darrow serves as an ArchImperator in the Republic he helped built – but victory did not guarantee him a happy ending. His journey in Iron Gold is an entanglement of internal conflicts and treacherous external pressures. The Reaper has never felt more human and fallible, and it makes for a damn good story.

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Iron Gold Lysander

“The dream of the Gold is over.”

Although Octavia au Lune is long dead, the powerful ghost of the old Society remains – whether it’s from the war against the Ash Lord, or in The Rim where the pyramid of Society stands unchallenged. Lysander’s narrative is one that I found simultaneously infuriating and utterly compelling, I’ll be back for more.

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Iron Gold Wall Lyria

“They planted us in stones, watered us with pain, and now marvel we have thorns.’

Lyria of Lagalos presented us with my favourite quote from Iron Gold. Liberated with the rest of the Reds through the efforts of The Rising, Lyria and her kin found themselves shackled by bonds of a different sort: poverty, prejudice, and marginalisation by society. Her chapters are filled with rage, but they’re some of my favourites in the book.

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Iron Gold Ephraim

‘Only thing easy is entropy.’

Ephraim ti Horn is disenchanted by society and its promises, made cynical by the tragedies he’s seen unfold. His voice vastly differ from the other characters, and his actions unpredictable – he’s a wild card and I can’t wait for you all to meet him.

DOWNLOAD ON DROPBOX



  • Find more of my free book-related designs here.
  • If you enjoyed these free graphics and want to support me, you can find me on Society 6.
  • Alternatively, you can commission me for your custom graphics by contacting me.

FIND ME ON: Twitter // Instagram

Read at Midnight Designs: Morning Star

So if you’ve read my previous posts about the Red Rising series, you’ll know that I am huge fan. I finished Morning Star over the weekend and my brain is still reeling from post-series devastation/euphoria. I haven’t been able to string together a coherent review, but I have been making some wallpapers to share.

Morning-Star-Preview

  • Quotes belong to the magnificent Pierce Brown and the Red Rising trilogy.
  • DO:  Download wallpapers for personal use. Buy the books. Enjoy!
  • DON’T: Redistribute or modify without permission.
  • iPhone 6/6s resolution, but should work with most phones. Let me know if you need resizing 😀

Continue reading “Read at Midnight Designs: Morning Star”

Read at Midnight Designs: Golden Son iPhone Wallpaper

designs

Today, I have 3 bookish iPhone wallpapers, free for everyone to nab!  Either use them as wallpaper, print them out, pin them, up to you :D!  They were inspired by:

I.  The 3 Quotes, 3 Days meme. I was nominated by The Fiction Fairy + The Bookish Barrister! Thank you both! I didn’t want to do 3 days’ worth of posting so I combined it into one post.

II.  The Potato Prints feature at the Social Potato.  Faye has given me her blessing to do something similar here!

The book being featured on today’s iPhone wallpaper is Golden Son by Pierce Brown.  It was my favourite read last month and you can check out my review here.  I think they will become a regular monthly feature, please leave suggestions if you want to see a certain quote/series or if you want me to offer them in different sizes (e.g. other phones, bookmark size).

Without further adieu, here’s the wallpapers.  Click on the links below each preview image to download the full size from Dropbox!

Golden-Son-Preview-1

DROPBOX

Wise men read books about history.  Strong men writes them.

Continue reading “Read at Midnight Designs: Golden Son iPhone Wallpaper”

Book Review: Golden Son

5star

Title: Golden Son

Author: Pierce Brown

Series? Yes. 2 of 3.

Goodreads

Book Depository


I waited 3 days after the conclusion of Golden Son to write this review, because for a whole day, the only thing I was capable of emoting was HOW DARE YOU, PIERCE BROWN, YOU CRAZY GENIUS?

Ahem.  You know how second books are always the unwanted middle child no one loves in trilogies?  Not Golden Son. Not never. This is the perfect sequel to Red Rising in every way, excelling where Red Rising was good – and all those reservations I had about Red Rising? Bloodydamn gone, my goodman!

golden-son
Yes, brace yourself, it’s another list 😀

1.  More Stakes and Schemes

“For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.”

Much of the last book took place at the Institute, where Darrow was simultaneously fighting for his life and proving his worth to the Golds. He was driven by his own rage and desire for revenge. Now, the fight is no longer for himself, he understands that he represents all of the Reds still unwittingly enslaved underground.  He slowly assumes a role a leader, and learns to make difficult choices that would bring about justice rather than vengeance.  This was no easy journey, but it’s one that was incredibly satisfying to watch unfold.

Darrow’s also in an extremely dangerous position: caught in between a blood feud between two of the most influential families on Mars.  Not to mention the Sovereign of the entire Solar System has an agenda against him. Gone are the war waged between students — this is real shit hitting the fan!  Space battles, Iron Rain, assassination plots, and schemes being thwarted at every turn.  Golden Son is unceasingly engaging, tense, keeping me on my toes the entire time.

Continue reading “Book Review: Golden Son”

Book Review: Red Rising

Title:  Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Series:  Yes, 1 of 3

Ratings:  My heart says 5! My brain says 3!

Goodreads

Book Depository

The review format is going to be a bit different for this post.  I’m experimenting on what to do when I feel so conflicted about a book.

I read Red Rising by Pierce Brown earlier on in the week and it’s pretty much consumed my brain.  As we speak, I still have 50% of Golden Son left to devour, but I am a tiny bit hesitant to finish it off, as it’s a cruel 5 months wait until Morning Sun comes out!

Anyway, I can’t give a rating for this book, my heart says ALL OF THE STARS but my brain says 3.  I am aware there are some issues with the series, issues that makes my book-loyalty divided when I think of them, I’ll include my thoughts on those at the bottom of the post. But first I just want to tell you 5 reasons why you need to read it ASAP!


redrising

1.  Strong Worldbuilding

Pyramid-allcolors

“Men are not created equal; we all know this. There are averages. There are outliers. There are the ugly. There are the beautiful. This would not be if we were all equal. A Red can no more command a starship than a Green can serve as a doctor!”

We have a mix of scifi and dystopia here:  Space, a government that spans the solar system, castes.  Yes, I know, caste system isn’t a novel idea – people at the top will always try to make deify themselves. The one in Red Rising at least makes sense: it works seamlessly in the Gold’s favour.  One of the key to a great leadership is to delegate all of the shitty tasks and to make your underlings believe they are working towards a better world:  their toils are all for Society, for mankind.  Whether it’s the Blues who are genetically modified to control spaceships, to the Pinks who are specifically designed to grant sexual pleasure: everyone believes that their purpose is to serve: a cog in the wheel.  It’s the perfect lie, the slaves do not realise they are enslaved, and the foundation of this lie is built on the unwitting sacrifice of the Reds.  The Reds, a caste of miners who still believes after almost a millenia that they are the pioneers: the first ones on Mars.  They have faith that by doing dangerous work, they’re paving the way for a new generation – little do they know that they have no future.

Continue reading “Book Review: Red Rising”