If you have read any of my book posts or know me in person you'll be aware of how much I adore this series. Red Rising became my favourite series the moment I started the first book. I was captivated by the world, the characters and the break neck plot. The classical civilisation geek in me loved seeing all the little details from Greek/Roman culture being weaved into the narrative. The names used the places, down to the region. I was so excited there was going to be another series set in this world.
Firstly, a huge thank-you to the team at Hodder & Stoughton for hooking this howler up with a Proof/ARC. I nearly cried when I opened the parcel...okay I did cry. Behold the face of a very excited and overwhelmed Howler.
Secondly, I adored this book. It devastated me emotionally, had me on the edge of my set and smiling like an idiot. With each book set in this world Pierce has expanded the world, the lore, everything. I hadn't thought it possible but his writing gets even better. This novel is split between four perspectives rather than one, which is how the original trilogy was. It's incredible how he's managed to create, whilst writing in first person four very distinguishable characters. They never blend into one another and I never had to flick back to the chapter header to see who was talking.
If you haven't read Red Rising (Fi) then I implore you, please do. Beyond the books being absolutely incredible, the fan base is also one of the best. There's a Facebook Group with a couple thousand of us. Hic Sunt Leones: A Red Rising Fan Group - come find us.
Now for the spoiler-y discussion. If you haven't read any of the Red Rising novels and/or Iron Gold then avoid this last part...
I warned you. If you get spoiled now it's your own fault.... sorryyyy.
Okay. One last chance...
I have absolutely no clue where to start so I'm gonna warn you now. There is going to be absolutely no logic to this section, like at all.
Lysander and Cassius. I loved their relationship though I've no clue what to call it. Cassius treated Lysander like a brother, son and student all at the same time. I certainly felt for both of them considering what happened in Morningstar. Lysander's family was killed and Cassius watched the woman he loved walk away with another man. However, Lysander's declaration at The Bleeding Place. I was freaking out so bad. Messaging one of my friends (from the FB group - Hey Ryan) in all caps asking how on earth that just happened. I couldn't cope. Then, then. Flaming Dido au Raa with her sending more of her family to face Cassius. I can't believe he died...though unless the death is on the page I don't believe it's actually happened. I just hope Lysander knows what he's doing. I really want to know where Pierce got the inspiration for the capital punishment there. Walking in the freezing cold in an attempt to reach the mountain of their ancestors? Mildly, terrifying but such a clever idea. I really enjoyed seeing Lysander's perspective. Out of all the POV's his is probably the most interesting when you consider that Darrow directly stole something from him in the name of the rising. His family. Lyria lost her family but that was indirectly, Ephraim lost his fiancé and saw his men butchered. But again, it wasn't actually by Darrow's hand.
Lyria is everything. She is such an incredible character. She's so resilient and has such a strong moral compass. She saw her family killed, ripped from her because of the past mistakes made by her clan in the mines of Mars. Yet she still dove into a river to save a Gold...lucky for her it just so happened to be Kavax au Telemanus who brought with him the return of Sophocles the jelly bean eating fox (who remains my favourite character). Honestly, all the Telemanus' are incredible, how they treat other colours is admirable. I did however, feel incredibly sorry for Lyria. She then worked for the Telemanus' but still didn't feel as though she belonged...not until she met Phillipe. Sodding Phillipe.
Phillipe, also known as Ephraim. As a character yes I think he's incredible, as a person I'd quite happily hand him over to Aja. He's a man scarred by war both emotionally and physically but he allowed that to rot him from the inside. As a result he's numb, hollow. Nothing seems to affect him and when he does he lashes out at the people that care about him. Namely, Volga. I just want to look after her. I want to take her to the zoo and make her happy. I'm really interested to see how Ephraim changes in Dark Age. The last we saw pf him he was on a one man rescue (some may say suicide) mission to rescue the children from The Syndicate, that he had already kidnapped for them. Confusing, I know. He blew the back off the craft he, Darrow's son Pax and Sevro's daughter Electra were all on as The Syndicate were attempting to remotely override the craft and bring it back. God knows where they are but I now that Pax is going to melt his heart.
I want to take a second for Mustang. She wasn't in the novel a great deal but when she was she certainly made an impact. I can't get the image of her kneeling before Lyria asking for forgiveness out of my head. It was such a powerful moment and something I think Lyria really needed. Out of all the characters I think Mustang has the most honour. I still don't know what creature Daxo was trying to attach to Lyria's face but I don't think it was going to be particularly pleasant, then Mustang sweeps in and stabs the thing. Do not mess with the Lionheart.
Finally, Darrow. When Sevro is the voice of reason you know that somewhere along the line something went wrong. Throughout the book you could see him wrestling with the desire to be at home with his family but knowing that he would be wasted waiting in a cell as Dancer wanted, whilst they spoke of a farcical peace. He was called a Warmonger but a man can only do what he thinks is best. Even if in the grand scheme of things it may have been the wrong decision.
There's so much I could say about this book but I'd be sat here for hours. Just know it's incredible and if you do want to discuss more come find me on twitter or instagram.