Book Review: Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Book 4 of The Red Rising Saga

Publisher: Del Rey (January 16, 2018)

Length: 624 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

The Red Rising saga continues in a new series starting with Iron Gold, which takes place approximately ten years after the end of Morning Star. Darrow, a Red who infiltrated the Golds and won the hearts of his peers, has led a revolution that has turned the entire solar system upside down. Together, he and his allies seek to change the old ways, forming a new government which would give everyone—no matter their color—a voice.

While theoretically you could jump into Iron Gold without having read the original trilogy, I would still highly recommend starting from the beginning. There’s simply too much history in the previous three books, and it’d be best to first familiarize yourself with the characters in order to gain the full impact of this novel. Darrow returns, for one thing; he’s a little older and wiser now, but still fighting, always fighting. The Rising may have ushered in a new system of governance, but peace remains elusive as old prejudices and bitter grudges have led to constant war. Now the man called Reaper must take matters in his own hands, or see everything he has fought for fall apart.

For this new beginning, Pierce Brown also introduces multiple POVs. First of these is Lyria, a Red girl who was freed in the Rising, only to end up in a refugee camp where the conditions aren’t much better. After tragedy takes away what little she has left, Lyria seizes a chance to get off-planet, unaware that she would soon become a pawn at the center of a long-standing feud.

Meanwhile, Ephraim is an ex-soldier, angry and bitter with grief. He’s turned his back on his old life as a Son of Ares, starting a new one as a thief instead. Soon, his reputation catches the attention of a ruthless and powerful Duke, who hires Ephraim and his team to help him steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy.

And finally, we have Lysander au Lune, a Gold in exile. As grandson of the late Octavia and heir to the Sovereign, this young man clearly has a lot to sort out about his heritage. Traveling across the solar system with his mentor, Cassius, the two of them are determined to do the right thing for the planets and peoples forever changed by Darrow’s revolution.

Not gonna lie, I shamelessly played favorites with the POVs. The chance to catch up with Darrow and his old companions like Mustang and Sevro again was probably the highlight for me in Iron Gold, and I think I liked his perspective best, though I suspect much of that has to do with my personal bias for his character. I forgave many of his personality flaws and blind spots where his desire for peace are concerned, not to mention some of his monumentally stupid decisions, but hey, that’s because he’s the Darrow I know and love, and some things never change.

The other characters did not have that advantage, however, and admittedly, I probably placed higher expectations on the author to convince me to care about them. Not too surprisingly, the results were hit and miss. Lyria and Ephraim both took their time to grow on me, with Lyria’s chapters capturing my interest first, since her story was just so heartbreaking. Ephraim’s story, on the other hand, took a while to build, but once things took off, his chapters continued to gain momentum until the very end when his arc actually took over my full attention.

Unfortunately, the one POV that did absolutely nothing for me was Lysander’s. I just never found his plot very interesting, and his chapters especially paled when compared to the complexity and intrigue of the others. While my interest in the rest of the characters’ POVs ebbed and flowed, for Lysander it remained flat and unaffected, and I often found his chapters unbearably tedious and had to fight the temptation to skim them.

That’s the problem with multi-POV books, I find—namely, if there’s one that you can’t stand, it can drag down the whole experience. And that is also why I couldn’t bring myself to give this one a higher rating, not when I struggled with roughly a quarter of this book. Yes, I blame Lysander. And I also think Brown might still be finding his rhythm when it comes to balancing multiple POVs. I could tell he tried to give his characters equal attention, even if it meant sometimes switching to their POV when there’s nothing really worth talking about. As a result, we had uneven action and interest, and the occasional chapter consisting of mostly filler. These are by no means insurmountable obstacles, obviously, but they did impact the flow of the story, however slightly.

That said, I still had a great time with Iron Gold and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I really only had one complaint, and it just so happened to be one that affected my enjoyment in a major way. I loved Darrow, Lyria, and Ephraim, but try as I might, I couldn’t get into Lysander’s chapters, though I have a feeling his role will be leading to something big. I hope that I will find his story more compelling in the next book, because I definitely plan on continuing with the series. I love this world Pierce Brown has created, and it was fascinating to see how the people and the places have evolved. If you are a fan of the Red Rising trilogy, this is one you absolutely will have to read.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Red Rising (Book 1) by Mogsy
Review of Red Rising (Book 1) by Wendy
Review of Golden Son (Book 2) by Mogsy
Review of Morning Star (Book 3) by Mogsy

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30 Comments on “Book Review: Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

  1. I never thought about it but you are right about one POV dragging everything down. That’s why multiple POV books are the most difficult to write!

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  2. That’s a shame. It’s still a great series and world but that one character affecting the read so badly is a bit naff isn’t it. It’s one of the problems with multiple POVs – sometimes it’s not even that you don’t like one of the characters so much as you like the others so much you resent being drawn away.
    Lynn 😀

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    • That perfectly describes my experience with Lysander! Not only was I not interested in his chapters, after a while I absolutely resented having to read his POV when I would rather be reading someone else’s.

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  3. I haven’t read any of this series and have thought about it but there’s so much else on my TBR. That’s one chuncker of a book – I didn’t realize. I love big books but I guess it just took me by surprise when I looked at the page count. You make a very valid point about multiple POVs. If you don’t like one, it really can ruin the whole experience. Great review and I bet there are lots of people that will be picking this one up.

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  4. I never expected to see a 3.5 star review for this book from you because I’ve been seeing gushing 5 star reviews around. I still need to catch up with Morning Star which is why I didn’t request this.

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  5. Sorry you didn’t love this more, though I can understand some of your points. I loved Lyria’s POV, and I didn’t have a problem with Lysander, I was interested in the parts of the story that he was giving us, though will admit they were somewhat disconnected from everything else.

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  6. Seeing a 3,5 rating for this book was a shock for me, considering the high expectations I have about it, so it was with a great measure of relief that I reached the part where you mention your problems with one of the p.o.vs and blame the not-so-stellar rating on him. This means I will probably enjoy the book as well, and going in “armed” with your warning might make all the difference.
    Great review, thanks for sharing!

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    • Yes, I had a very specific problem with this book, which unfortunately dragged my rating down, but that doesn’t mean it will be an issue with anyone else. In fact, I think most other readers loved Lysander. You’ll do just fine with this book 😀

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  7. I barely read your review since I haven’t read the original trilogy yet (UGH, SO BEHIND), but I’m intrigued since you’re the first person I’ve seen who’s given this less than four stars. Hmmm…🤔

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  8. Ah that is a shame about the POVs, but I can see why it’d be hard to get attached to new characters in the same way as the old ones. Still really looking forward to this- it’ll be nice to see the old characters (and I reckon I’ll play favourites too 😉 ) Great review!

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  9. Great review. I felt the same way but cassius was enough to keep L’s POV interesting even if the interest was to yell in my mind at them for being stupid. Plus I probably read it to fast to get boged down 3 sittings over 2 days I think.

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  10. It took a bit for the other characters to grow on me as well. Lysander’s chapters were some of my faves, but I largely attribute that to Cassius’s presence.

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  11. I’m glad you explained this was still a new series. I’ve been a bit confused. For a long time I was seeing it as a #1, but then all of a sudden this past month it was a #4. I can’t believe I still haven’t read this series. How to fit them all in? It’s an OK problem to have, I suppose. 🙂

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    • Yes, it’s part of the sequence, but because we jump ahead ten years, it can be considered a new start. Having the background of the original trilogy would help of course, but it’s not necessary 🙂

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  12. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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