Spoiler warning! This is the THIRD and final book of the trilogy and it’s going to be impossible for me to review this without referring at least a little to stuff that happened in the previous two books. Hence, this is not a review you want to check out until you are well and truly caught up. Interested in the series? Go forth and start at the beginning, with Red Rising.
So readers will remember that when we last left Darrow at the end of Golden Son, he was not in a particularly good place. The shit, as they say, had hit the fan big time. The beginning of this book finds him at his lowest point yet, helpless and imprisoned by the Jackal, tortured in isolation, unsure of the fates of the rest of the Rising, with his mind slowly unravelling. It wouldn’t be a very good ending to the series if Darrow was locked up the whole time, though, and I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say he gets rescued (and what a rescue it is!).
Having been a deep cover agent for the rebellion for years, Darrow’s cover is spectacularly blown. The Reaper and his allies no longer work in the shadows. It’s time to launch all out war, but to take on the might of the Jackal, Octavia du Lune and the rest of the oppressive Golds in society, they are going to need some formidable soldiers, a whole lot of guile, cunning, sneakiness and a bloodydamn ton of luck.
While Brown really is a very kill-happy sort of an author, a lot of your favourite characters are still around, to love (and hate). Sevro and his Howlers were never going to give up on Darrow, no matter that the Jackal made it look like he had been publicly executed for treason. Mustang has an army of her own and Ragnar agrees to take Darrow to his people, to recruit the fierce warrior women of his barbarian tribe to the cause. Brown may have been criticised for his treatment of female characters in the previous books, but I really believe it’s exaggerated, especially in this book. Darrow’s single POV narration sadly means we don’t get to see what goes on in the minds of Mustang, Victra, Orion (who is now a pirate queen), plus great new additions to the cast, Holiday and Sefi the Quiet (Ragnar’s sister), but they are integral parts of the story. Add to that that some of the prime antagonists are powerful and formidable women, the Sovereign Octavia du Lune, her knights Aja and Moira, Lilath the Bonerider, the Jackal’s terrifying second in command, even Antonia, Victra’s duplicitous sister, and you frankly have a more impressive cast of women populating this book than male characters.
Full review here.