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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My Imaginary Book Con Itinerary.

This Saturday is Book Con, but it is in Chicago. I wish they would rotate cities throughout the year. May can be New York City’s month. I hope it’s back in NYC next year.

Also, as my luck would have it, the year I can’t attend is the same year a few of my favorite authors will be there. That just made me make a mock schedule of my imaginary day at Book Con:

8:00 AM -10:00 AM – Queue up for wristbands in the Autographing Area.
Definitely get wristbands for Pierce Brown and Nicola Yoon. After I have those try for Scott Sigler and David Levithan.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM – Unwritten: Stories You Haven’t Read (Yet)

Authors write more stories than they ever get published… and even more remain in their heads, unwritten. How do Authors choose one idea from the many? What makes a story worth telling, and what deserves to be cut? Learn this and more from bestselling Authors Pierce Brown (The Red Rising Trilogy), Justin Cronin (The Passage Trilogy), Naomi Novik (Temeraire series, Uprooted) and Scott Sigler (The Generations Trilogy). Moderated by editor at Del Rey Books, Michael Braff.

Speakers:
Justin Cronin, Scott Sigler, Pierce Brown, Naomi Novik, Michael Braff.

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Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown – non-spoiler review.

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Darrow 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.

Morning Star is a great, fantastic end to the Red Rising Trilogy. Pierce said he wrote it for the fans and it shows. This is my favorite literary science-fiction trilogy. Hands down.

So much happens. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I laughed, was nervous, touched, and sometimes sad. I could not put it down. After having a headache on a Friday and a Saturday I wanted to catch up on those lost days. So I read 100 pages on a Sunday and another 100 pages on Monday (Presidents’s Day). By Monday night my right eye was bloodshot. I finished it on February 18 and I still have a book hangover. I am going to fall behind on my Goodreads goal.

The character development was well done and the evolution of the plot was seamless. Not just from beginning to end in Morning Star, but the whole trilogy.

The action was great and heart pounding, but some of my favorite moments were the quieter ones between Darrow and his friends. So much emotion is felt. Particularly Chapter 22 and Chapter 50.

One critique was that I would have liked to see more scenes with a few minor characters from the previous novels.

I am going to elaborate more in a different post (here). I feel it is difficult to describe my feelings without spoiling the whole book. I like giving examples and quotes.
4.5 out 5 Broken Chains

Pierce Brown’s Morning Star discussion and signing at Barnes and Noble, February 17, 2016.

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This was a wonderful informative and entertaining discussion. I had so much fun. Pierce has an easy going and charming personality.

I took a lot of notes so I’ll get started and share some photos I took.

My sister and I showed up right after work, bought our books and waited on the queue for the events room.

A woman on the queue with us went around and handed out a notebook with the Sons of Ares symbol and a Morning Star keychain that she made herself. Cute.

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There were about 10 to 15 people ahead of us so when we entered the room it was easy to pick the seats we wanted. We sat in the center of the second row.

The discussion was led by Pierce’s editor Mike Braff. They made a joke that Mike already knows the answers to his list of questions but I think that makes the q&a more relaxed and allows for more spontaneity.

One of the first things discussed is that Pierce is working on a new trilogy called Iron GoldUSA Today broke the story that it is set in the Red Rising world and what happens after the fall of an empire.

Warning: There are a couple of spoilers below the cut for Red Rising.

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Book review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

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With shades of The Hunger GamesEnder’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

The second book of the trilogy, Golden Son, came out in January, but before I jumped into the sequel I reread Red Rising. I remembered a lot of the major developments and twists, but really needed to refresh my memory about the details. I found myself gasping as it all came back to me.

I did love Red Rising just as much as I did the first time. Reading Red Rising again was the smartest thing because while Golden Son does occasionally remind you of happened in the first book, it does not waste time with the details. It is best to read them back to back.

Like Red Rising I loved the characters ever changing developing and regressing relationships. There is so much that goes on with the alliances, plotting, and backstabbing politics. You shouldn’t read this while tired but it is also a page turner that is difficult to put down.

The pacing of the story is well done. The story never slows, but even during moments that are not action filled the scene has meaning. There is no filler. There is humor, romance, suspense, jaw dropping moments, and intense caring for the characters. Except maybe for the ones you love to hate.

I saw a reviewer call Darrow a Gary Stu, and I must disagree. He is flawed and makes some mistakes. He learns from mistakes but also is not invincible to never make another one ever again.

Very minor spoilers below.

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