Series: Red Rising #5
Published by Del Rey (7.30.2019)
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 757 pages
Source: I own it
For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?
Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.
But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.
On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?
Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.
Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.
As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.
If we cannot engineer salvation for our men, then vengeance will suffice.
Like, wow. This book was SO incredibly brutal, it slew me! I knew it was going to be bad, but I never expected how bad. You think things can’t get any worse, and then…they do. PREPARE FOR TEARS, GUYS.
It starts off a little slow, but I wasn’t bored with this one like I was with Iron Gold. It’s got a lot of politics in it, but also a lot of action and DEATH. It’s so brutal and gory, I love it!! Pierce doesn’t spare his characters – or his readers. There were plenty of times I was horrified by what I was reading. I love a book that can do that! After a certain turning point (that was like the end of Golden Son all over again, holy fuck), it grabs you and never lets go.
It’s actually really difficult to talk about anything without spoiling things, so most of this review is going to be in a spoiler tag!View Spoiler »DUDE. The Day of Red Doves chapter was rough. I should have known, honestly. Mustang and Dancer had just patched things up beautifully and agreed to a truce. There was catharsis. Of course it followed up with complete destruction. When Dancer started coughing up blood, I felt this awful sinking feeling that I can’t even explain. I didn’t cry, but I was so devastated and horrified by his death (they had JUST FIXED THINGS!! Things were going to get better!!!) and I’m amazed at the depth of emotion that this book makes me feel. I wished so desperately that it wasn’t happening because I knew this would spell destruction for Mustang and Darrow. And poor Daxo!!!
There were so many difficult scenes and painful deaths in this book, but I am absolutely, positively fucking DEVASTATED about Ephraim’s death. It’s kinda funny, because I hated Ephraim the first time I read Iron Gold. When I re-read via audio, listening to John Curless’ fabulous narrating, he started to grow on me. And somewhere along the way in Dark Age, I realized that he was one of my favorite characters, and I was helplessly attached to him. Of course, right when I realized how much I actually loved him, he died *sobs uncontrollably* The sweet parts between Ephraim and Volga KILLED me!! Especially when he told her she was his tribe. OMFG feeeeeeelssss. Ephraim is just so tragic!
Okay, so Lilath is the Syndicate Queen. I was banking hard on Sefi, so I was pretty broadsided by it being Lilith. And also pissed, like doesn’t this bitch ever die?!
MY BABY SEVRO HAD BETTER BE OKAY. Like I will literally revolt if anything happens to him. I’m so worried! *bites fingernails*
And VOLGA IS RAGNAR’S DAUGHTER?!?! Gasp!!
Also, I KNEW CASSIUS WASN’T DEAD I FUCKING KNEW IT. I was just waiting for him to come back and make a grand entrance, and grand entrance he did make! When he showed up I actually yelled “yeah!!!” out loud haha! « Hide Spoiler
I fucking hate Lysander so much. I hated him in Iron Gold, but I despised him in this book. I knew the farther it went that he was going to end up doing something terrible, and I had a feeling I was going to hate him even more. I was right, of course. Little shit. He needs to die -__-
Um, also pregnant Victra is a flipping badass like what?!?! *pumps fists in air* View Spoiler »Although, it was super devastating that baby Ulysses died. Poor Victra. POOR SEVRO. :( I actually spoiled myself for that part – I was skipping ahead to look at whose chapter was next and the first line was “Ulysses is dead” ARGH. – so I didn’t cry when it happened even though it sucked really bad. But when they buried him, and mentioned that Sevro thought he was having another girl and Victra was waiting to surprise him with a boy “at last, a chance to make up for his own father’s absence,” I lost my shit man. « Hide Spoiler
“Let your enemies be my enemies. Let your errors be my errors. Let your life be my life. I do not tell lies. If you ever call, House Barca will answer.”
Side note: I almost peed my pants when no one would go into Sevro’s pantry for sardines, Darrow called them all superstitious idiots and went in himself, and ended up “shrieking like a goat on the floor” with needles in his face, chest and ass. DEAD.
I freaking LOVED the Iron Gold audio so much that I immediately downloaded the audio for this one as well. Sadly, I was horrendously disappointed.
If you loved the IG audio like I did, do yourself a favor and lower your expectations for this one.
Whoever decided to switch up narrators mid-series needs a good hard punch right in the mouth. I was so upset! I didn’t realize how attached I was to Lysander’s narrator until it was someone else. And my freaking GOD, this new one was terrible!! I hated it to the point that I couldn’t even stand to listen to it.
Lyria’s narrator was also different, and also for the much, much worse. I wasn’t a big fan of the original narrator when I listened, but after the change I appreciate the original so much more! The new narrator was terrible, and didn’t even have the same accent like wtf? The original Lyria had a Scottish accent, which fit perfectly, but this new one wasn’t. I think she was British? I honestly didn’t listen long enough to even try to decipher what accent it was. I couldn’t do it.
I also hated Mustang’s narrator. Her chapters were tedious to begin with, because of her pretentious highLingo, but the narrator made them even worse. She was SO BORING to listen to that I found myself falling asleep on her chapters. I also didn’t think her voice fit Mustang at ALL.
I ended up ONLY listening to Darrow and Ephraim’s chapters, and physically reading all the rest because I just couldn’t handle those three narrators *shrugs*
I will say though, Tom Gerard Reynolds and John Curless are PHENOMENAL. I actually refused to listen to the first three Red Rising books before I bought the Iron Gold audio because I’m not generally a fan of books narrated solely by males, but after hearing him in Iron Gold and Dark Age, I would most definitely get the original three books on audio. I also can’t shout John’s praises loud enough – he was absolutely perfect for Ephraim, and actually made me love Ephraim’s character. I didn’t realize how attached I actually was! I refused to physically read any of Ephraim’s chapters because I couldn’t get enough of them on audio. I neeeed more John Curless!!! It was well worth the purchase of the audio just for those two POVs. (I did end up returning it, though, since I hated the rest.)
“I hate tea” [Sevro] growls from above. “It’s just coffee with piss instead of coffee.”
“Life is meant to be felt. Else why live? Valleys make the mountains.”
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5