Dark Age by Pierce Brown **WARNING!**WITH SPOILERS**

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For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.

This was a rollercoaster!!! So much happens and I had so many emotions as it unfolded.
I have had a book hangover this last week, unable to move on, and have been spending lots of time on the Facebook DA discussion page while trying to come up with a non-spoiler review.

I am failing to come up with one. So buckle up, Howlers. This is going to be long and only for those who have read the book.

I’ll separate the review by the character POVs.

 You have been warned about SPOILERS!

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Pierce Brown Dark Age Discussion at Barnes and Noble August 7, 2019

I got to Barnes and Noble Union Sq at 9 am to get my bracelet. I arrived just as the store opened and I saw the queue of people waiting outside filing in. So I followed the line inside and it was very swift. People went in, picked up Dark Age at the front table and went straight back to the check out. I already had my book purchased from b&n online so I just showed them the receipt.

Then I went to work and got back to B&N around 5:15-5:30ish.

I decided to record the whole thing because I was (and still am) exhausted. I had spent the past several days reading as much and as fast as I could. About 130-150 pages a day. I was still 100 pages shy of finishing during the event.

It didn’t start until 7PM and I was reading up until it started. So yea, I recorded the whole thing because I wasn’t sure how much I would remember from being so tired and also, it makes it easier to write this if I have the video to look back on.

There are some breaks in the video. I tried to break it when people were laughing, but then Pierce would say something funny and I’d miss his one liners. But other than that I think the editing is almost seamless.

Highlights:

The beginning Pierce and Peter discuss their method of writing, how they outline and the layering of their drafts.

Pierce then discusses where Darrow and the Republic stands in the second trilogy, and was it all worth it.

17:15 – That is some Star Wars Sequel Trilogy shade right there. 😉 How the ST dishonors the sacrifices and accomplishments of the OT characters. I totally agree!

18:45 Lyria’s lack of agency but how her POV shows the disillusionment of the Rising.

21:00 Pierce talks about Roman history and Greek history.

25:00 The release date delays and how he kept going on and on with Ephraim’s POV. LOL

27:50 The order in which he wrote the POVs. Darrow, Lysander, Ephraim, Mustang then Lyria (or Lyria then Mustang.)

28:50 About the story having multiple POVs and climaxing at the same time. The innuendo is hysterical.

31:00 Audience Q&A begins.

51:00 Hysterical moment: The question about Mustang being inspired by his mother so how does he write sexual scenes about her?

53:11 The sexual innuendo about what the razors (swords) look like. The gift that keeps on giving. LOL

Around 56:00 – The TV show!

So since I was in the front row I didn’t have to wait long to have my books signed. When I got up there he remembered me (blushes) and then I asked if while writing does he find himself having to reread the pervious books to remember what he wrote.

He answered, “All the time.” That he will reread sections and use control find but would love if the fans built up the wiki pages.

I said that I wanted to do a whole reread of the saga and make an encyclopedia book. He encouraged that idea.

(Funny enough, when I finished reading the next evening I did catch a blooper! He didn’t check a name!)

We took a photo together and then he asked where my sister was. I told him she was at a class. He said to “send her my love” as he pounded his heart. How sweet is he?

So my very spoiled review is coming. I am still processing that mountain of a book. It will take a few days to write. I have no idea what to say in a non-spoiler review. It would be nothing but Servo-like profanity because it was a whirlwind!

Review of Iron Gold – the audiobook.

Iron Gold By: Pierce Brown
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney

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I last read Iron Gold back in January of 2018. This week I listened to the audiobook for the first time to refresh my memory for Dark Age (coming out this Tuesday).

I have heard mixed reviews about the new voices. Some say that Lysander’s voice is too low and that he doesn’t do different voices for different characters speaking. Some say Lyria’s is too whiny and others say she has great emotion.

Here are my thoughts:

Tim Gerard Reynolds, as always, is perfect for Darrow’s POV. I have no complaints.

The voice of Lysander, Julian Elfer, was what I imagined a Gold like him to sound. Kind of stuffy and pompous. Something was off with the volume. His parts sounded lower and I’d turn up the volume. It is true that he doesn’t do many variations for the voices and it’s hard to tell who is saying what. Actually at 25% in I started reading along on my ebook.

Lyria, Aedin Moloney, has the accent I imagined her to have, but like the narrator for Lysander, she didn’t have much range for doing the different voices. Especially for Ephraim and Holiday. I will say though that I think she got the emotion of Lyria right: the anger and sadness.

After TGR the narrator for Ephraim, John Curless, was second best. John Curless is the only one to return for Dark Age. He really got the tone of Ephraim and was able to do more of a variety of voices. I really liked his accent for Volga and The Duke of Hands.

Listening to Iron Gold to refresh my memory was a smart decision. I forgot some details, but my feelings from the review I wrote in 2018 have stayed the same.

So excited for Dark Age! I’ll read the ebook first, then listen to the audiobook, and I will review both. I’ll reserve judgment for the new voices, though I think I will miss Julian Elfer and Aedin Moloney. I got used to them.

New York Comic Con 2018 – Saturday, October 6

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First panel of the day was I’ll Take Dementors for $500, Obi-Wan: A Fan Game Show with Marc Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Sylvain Neuve, Ryan North, and Chuck Wendig.

Here is the gist: Do you know the whole DC universe by their legal names? ID a Star Wars villain from a single wicked line? Name every kind of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Test your knowledge, competing alongside bestselling authors in categories like The Dark Side, Bad@ss Chicks, Winter Is Coming and more, using clips from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter audiobooks. Narrator Marc Thompson hosts in character as Obi-Wan Kenobi and will select a few lucky audience members to compete onstage.

While Marc was dressed as Obi-Wan, he didn’t do his voice the whole time. The game was played like Jeopardy! and the categories were The Dark Side; Expecto Patronum; Winter Is Coming; Fierce Females; I Can Be Your Hero, Baby; and Nerd-Tastic.

It was really fun to watch. My favorite categories were The Dark Side and Expecto Patronum. For some reason they weren’t picking Winter Is Coming until nearly the end. If none of the players knew the answer the audience would shout it out and the first one to buzz in got to answer it. In the end Delilah’s team won.

There was a short Q&A afterwards. The part that interested me most was when Marc Thompson was talking about the process of recording an audiobook. He’ll get the book and make notes, and also record some new voices on his phone to refer to. As he gets more into the recording process he will be so used to doing the new voices he won’t need to refer to his voice memo.

Marc doesn’t talk to the authors because he has a director and doesn’t want to go over the director’s head by saying, “Well, the author said this.”

He was complemented on how great he sounds but Marc gave the credit to the editors who piece it together when he makes mistakes, as well as the music and sound effects they add when it’s a Star Wars novel.

As for the voice of Thrawn, I guess he did a different voice for the anniversary edition of the Thrawn Trilogy, because that was before Rebels. I still have to listen to it. But for the two most recent books he really captured the his voice from the animated series.

I can’t remember this other question or full answer now, but Chuck said that Palpatine’s first name “Sheev” is like “Steve” in AGFFA. That made me laugh.

After the panel there was a signing with the authors right outside the room, which was super convenient. We didn’t have to run and push our way to another part of the Javits.

This time I brought From a Certain Point of View with me. I told each author how I plan to slowly collect every author’s signature until I am old.

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Thursday, Oct. 4 – Part 2

After the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child panel I went to the live stage to see Ashley Eckstein talk about Her Universe and The Clone Wars being saved.

I took video of the 10 minute interview, but I am having some trouble uploading right now and will edit this post with a link to the video sometime soon.

I liked the part when she said she had to keep the secret about the Clone Wars being saved since January when she got a call from her agent and she didn’t believe it so she had to call up Dave Filoni to confirm it.

After, I roamed the Exhibit Hall and picked up these giveaways.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid from Simon & Schuster.
From the Penguin booths:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden -> I asked a few people at the booth if they had this ARC before someone found it in the back. I have all 3 now! More about this in Sunday’s post.

I also went to the Audible booth where they were having a special event all weekend for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter. The line was so long – about a 45 minute wait on Thursday and one hour on Saturday. You pick a character’s bottle for the “Pensive” (really just a headphone station) to hear a scene of theirs from the audiobook.

What is funny is that since July 31 I have been listening to the audiobooks and am now up to Deathly Hallows.

There are six characters to choose from Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort. I would have liked to collect all 6, because you got to keep the bottle with their name, but I only got to do it twice. I picked Hermione first then Ron on Saturday. Hermione’s scene was when she slapped Malfoy. Ron… I think the machine malfunctioned, even though a repair man had just been there doing something to it, because the scene was when Bellatrix is torturing Hermione. And my sister went before me and she picked Harry and heard the exact same scene. So, yea, the machine was still busted, we think.

My sister went again on Sunday and picked Dumbledore. She heard the part when he tells Harry of the Prophecy and Voldemort’s need of it.

Another part of the Pensive experience was that you wave a wand in front of a camera, they add some smoke to the video and you send it to yourself to share on social media.

But the best part was the code they gave to redeem at Audible. I got a free credit and downloaded The Shining. Only allowed one code though, even though I went twice. My sister tried to add the second code and was told she already did it.

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown book review – WITH SPOILERS

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They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second 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 everything 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.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

 

I actually finished reading the day before the signing in NYC, January 23. It’s taken me a while to find the time to write a review and also think of what to say without spoilers. Well, there is no way for me to say what I feel without them, so here it goes.

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Iron Gold – Pierce Brown book signing at Barnes and Noble – January 24, 2018.

My sister and I got to Barnes and Noble pretty early and we got some good seats.
She had not read Iron Gold yet, but I finished it the day before.

Pierce spoke about the different POVs in Iron Gold and how his writing had to change. He usually does not outline, but he had to for IG and the next book Dark Age, not just because there is more going on but for pacing and syncing up different POVs that have to match at the same point in time. Otherwise there would be a lot of rewriting.

Something Pierce said that I related too when I write was that sometimes when writers outline they have so much energy and momentum while doing so but then lose it when it comes time to actually write. So sometimes it is better to just go for it.

This part threw me off because I noticed that Pierce changed his answer in another interview. At this event he said Lysander was the hardest to write because he’s so smart, and Lyria was the easiest to write. He thought Lyria would be the hardest.

One thing I really liked was when Pierce said that the readers have different experiences in life and it’s not an author’s duty to tell others how to think but to ask questions.

The Q&A portion with the audience was great. These were some of my favorites:

1)Someone asked what are the other Howlers’ real names. Pierce answered that he will reveal them in due time and it wasn’t an oversight to omit them, just there is a way he wants those details to be presented. He also has to find his notes to remember them. HA!

He also spoke a little bit about the differences in his former editor, Mike Braff and his new editor, Tricia Narwani. Mike had become one of his best friends and Mike’s complements could be counted on one hand. He’d say the pacing was slow and get to the killing. So Pierce would put in an Obsidian to distract him. Mike called Obsidians “Space Vikings.”

This is a funny story: Pierce told Mike that the end of Golden Son had a wedding. When he got to the end Mike was sending him messages in all caps and called him. But he was in his cubical so he had to use his inside voice but was clearly like WTF!?

Tricia was a beta reader before, the first person after Mike to read the drafts, so there is still continuity there. She is more complimentary and helps with the pacing when his world building slows down the story.

He has pages and pages of world building and his editor(s) would tell him it’s great and none of it will be used. I think that right there is a great start for a World of Red Rising Encyclopedia.

2)Another person commented how Lyria was written beautifully and wanted to know if he would ever write a novella from Mustang’s POV – as a mother and Sovereign.

Pierce said, “No comment. Seriously.”

Now I have nothing but speculations about Dark Age!

3) This was my favorite question of the night: When Pierce began writing Morning Star he wasn’t going to write a story about the aftermath, the what happens after the Death Star explodes. Is there any series, TV or book, that Pierce would like a follow up like Iron Gold?

Pierce answered almost all of them because when you are in the Falcon or at Hogwarts you feel like you are at home. You miss your home and you miss your friends.

The problem is…would the additions ruin the initial trilogy? He said it’s his burden/responsibility not to demean actions of the first three books: the original story, personal journeys and sacrifices of the characters.

So then, and this was my favorite part of the night, Pierce used The Last Jedi as an example. Luke’s evolution demeaned him from the the Original Trilogy.

Pierce wants to add on to the same journey with Iron Gold. The story should feel like the same characters and not a restart but an evolution of them as older people.

Sometimes he thinks he wants more but maybe it’s better not to have more. Many series go past their prime. He knows this story is not past its prime because he’s exhilarated to write this trilogy and if it didn’t feel right he wouldn’t write it. He doesn’t want to dilute or make the past consequences feel insignificant so that the fans feel cheap for reading it and then have fans say “that’s not my canon” or “not my Darrow.”

By not taking a big break and going right into this new trilogy he has kept the same tone. And there are new things to explore through the different POVs. We see more of the world and culture, and the cracks in their civilization. So it feels richer, and when we reread the first trilogy we’ll know all this is going on outside Darrow’s POV.

Before the signing portion we concluded the Q&A with a collective howl. People in B&N must have been like, WTF, lol.

Photos and a major spoiler below!

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