Iron Gold, by Pierce Brown
Wherein Pierce Brown once again rips out my heart. These books are going to kill me. Pierce Brown (who I hate, by the way) has a talent of creating a beautiful dream that you just want to be a part of, then systematically rips it into shred in front of you. Then killing everyone. And setting them on fire. In every. Single. Book. Iron Gold is no different.
Darrow and Virginia (Reaper and Mustang) have conquered at least a third of the solar system and it is ten years after the Rising. They have a son and life should be idyllic. But this is a Pierce Brown book, so of course it is not. Darrow has become (or believes he has become) a monster, and spends the rest of the book proving this to us.
There is a bunch of new characters in the new book, which shows new perspectives into the solar system 10 years later. We follow three new points of view aside from Darrow's, and I think it makes the book all the richer. They are all coming from different sides of the conflict, and in each case the characters' actions are understandable, and even sympathy-inducing. It shows how very complicated life (and war) is, and there are no simple answers here. People are going to die, people are going to be let down, and that is the reality of the world.
We follow Cassius and Lysander (through Lysander's eyes), as they wander through the outer rim and get caught up in the scheming of the Jupiter moons. Lysander I found someone distracting and occasionally annoying (show some GD emotion, boy!), but it was interesting to watch as different factions in the war developed and prepared for the conflict ahead. I really liked Seraphina's character, she is intriguing and tough and the books could use more of her!
Lyria is another new character, and by far the easiest to love. She is a refugee Red slave on Mars, and her people have been left to be molested and murdered, forgotten by the powers that freed them and promised them a better life. After her family is murdered, she takes a gamble towards a better life and gets caught up the political intrigue on the highest level.
Ephraim, the last new character we follow, is quite simply heartbreaking. I take that back, there is nothing simple about him, or him motivations. His heart is broken and he tries so hard not to care about others, but no matter how he protests, there is no doubt he is a big softie underneath. I found his and Lyria's stories the most interesting to follow.
And Darrow, once again makes the big mistakes, hating himself the whole way along. His story comes with a massive dump of pity and self-loathing, it became nearly hard to read. Luckily the book moves at such a nuclear-fast pace, so much happens so quickly that you never get caught up in these sticky emotions for long.
As with many fans of the Red Rising book, Sevro is by far my favourite character, and I've already expressed my intense fear that he doesn't make it through. I suspect this would actually end me and I would be dead, so Pierce Brown, don't play me like that. And all this book is just the set up for the next two books, and I'm not sure I can handle what it's going to take to read these. Seriously stressful.