I really wish I was able to tell you that I loved this book. That it was as good as the first two entries in its trilogy, Red Rising and Golden Son. I wish I was going to sit here and tell you to run out and read this RIGHT NOW, to put everything else aside, and to get lost in the world of Reaper and Sevro for a while. But I’m not able to do that. Sorry.
Yes, you should definitely read this if you read and loved the first two.
There’s just something missing from this one that was alive and vibrant in the other two.
Maybe it was all of the battle details. Tidbits about ships and brigs and defending the bridge, that were painstakingly researched, and maybe just explained to great a detail. (translation: THEY WERE BORING).
Maybe it was all of the Roman lingo that I simply just couldn’t keep track of. I kept flipping to the cast of characters and to the map at the beginning, hoping that there was another page that maybe I had missed. One that might explain just what in the hell was going on in parts of this book. Was the problem due to the fact that I had read each of these books when they came out, and that I had simply forgotten huge chunks of important names, places, and facts? Or was it that there were simply TOO MANY names, places, and facts to remember?
Maybe it was the fact that Pierce Brown is now a bit of a superstar in the book world and doesn’t have anybody around him telling him NO. Seriously, there is actually a scene in this book where a Gold named Felicia is brutally murdered, and in response, Darrow says, “Bye, Felicia.” COMMENCE EYE ROLLING.
Maybe it was just the underlying feeling of dread that any character that you may have any attachment to could be killed for no reason at any time. Like a Joss Whedon movie, this gets exhausting after a time. I only have so many fucks to give.
But I think what it mostly was is that I got tired of Reaper telling me things instead of showing AND PROVING things to me. The first two books were so filled with Reaper and his friends DOING things, that all of the talking in this last book simply pissed me off.
But yes, you should read it. Because Pierce Brown really is a superstar. And he can write. Some of the new characters were exciting and fun to read about. Some of the new locations (the ice land of the Valkyries) were just amazing to imagine. And there were passages that really just blew me away with their beauty.
They call me the Morning Star. That star by which griffin-riders and travelers navigate the wastes in the dark months of winter. The last star that disappears when daylight returns in the spring.
That’s kind of nice, in the middle of all of the ugly parts. And there are plenty of songs, poems, and speeches just as lovely. Like Darrow’s speech to his army before a huge battle:
In mine, in space, in city and sky, we have lived our lives in fear. Fear of death. Fear of pain. Today, fear only that we fail. We cannot. We stand upon the edge of darkness holding the lone torch left to man. That torch will not go out. Not while I draw breath. Not while your hearts beat in your chests. Not while our ships yet have menace in them. Let others dream. Let others sing. We chosen few are the fire of our people…We are not Red, not Blue or Gold or Gray or Obsidian. We are humanity. We are the tide. And today we reclaim the lives that have been stolen from us. We build the future we were promised…Guard your hearts. Guard your friends. Follow me through this evil night, and I promise you morning waits on the other side. Until then, break the chains!
Hell, I’d follow him in to battle after a St. Crispin’s day speech like that.
I’ve read that Brown is putting together another trilogy about the same world. I’ll definitely read it, but am grateful for a rest. I hope the books are about Sevro, maybe years in the future, training a bunch of his kids to become Howlers. I’d read those books.