Official Synopsis from Goodreads: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.
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.
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Mercury, Mars, Luna
My Copy Came From: I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon.
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Review: Action-packed and fast-paced! I loved it! Dark Age by Pierce Brown is the fifth book in the Red Rising Saga, a science fiction series set in space and on various planets. The books are full of violence, gore, and language, and this entry was more of the same. This is definitely not a series for those who can’t handle violence! There’s violence of all types here, and many times it was too much for me. But, I continued on reading as these characters really drive the story along.
War is our time. Sevro thought he could escape it. I thought I could end it. But our enemy is like the Hydra. Cut off one head, two more sprout. They will not sue for peace. They will not surrender. Their heart must be excised, their will to fight ground to the finest dust.
Only then will there be peace.
Told in multiple point of view (POV) chapters, the first quarter of the book is told by Darrow and Lysander. We then get into other POV chapters, Ephraim and Lyria, and we also get POV chapters from Virginia (Darrow’s wife). I’m not the hugest Virginia fan, she’s just too perfect for me, but I did enjoy reading her chapters here. Once again, Ephraim’s chapters really stood out to me, and I enjoy his drug-addicted, grief-ridden character who struggles to do the right thing. It also helps that Ephraim’s chapters have the most compelling side characters with Electra (Sevro and Victra’s daughter), Sefi (the Queen of the Obsidians), and Ozgard, a mysterious shaman. I found myself not liking Lysander in this book. I’m not really sure if he’s supposed to be villain or hero, and so I’m struggling with his decisions.
Another issue I had with this book is that I’m not sure who the “big bad” is that we’re supposed to root against. There are so many villains and shifting alliances. There are many “bad guys”, and everyone seems to be battling everyone else, so I’m struggling with figuring out with who is allied with whom.
A moving mind is always fed. At rest, mine eats itself.
How many times have I been here? Sealed in a womb of metal, not for birth but to eat the living? The confines afflict me with dread. Dread not of what lies beyond—you can never prepare for that game—but that this will be my eternal tomb.
Cursed to live to kill. Is this who I will always be?
I did not re-read the earlier books prior to reading this one, and for me that ended up being a mistake. I couldn’t remember who a lot of the minor characters were, or where the politics had left off after Iron Gold, and a lot of that confusion would’ve been cleared up had I re-read the previous books. I hope to re-read the five books that are out before book six is released!
Another thing about Dark Age is that there is just so much going on that it became overwhelming to me. You know how when you go to a circus and there are so many different things to look at? I find that distracting and frustrating – I want to focus on one thing and not have to jump around. The emotions here are high, there’s death and danger on every page, and it was too overwhelming. I kept forgetting where characters had left off (Are they dead? Are they alive? Captured?) and it wasn’t because I didn’t care about the characters, it was that there was just so much going on that I’d lose track of what was happening “off page” so-to-speak when reading another characters chapters. There was just too much to focus on and I couldn’t read fast enough! (Plus my Kindle kept lying to me and saying I was at 85% completed for three hours…needless to say when I finished the book at 2am and read Pierce Brown’s author note about reading into the night I had to laugh!)
“You know I believe we all begin equal parts light and dark. I fear you think your strength lies in your darkness. But the measure of a man is not the fear he sows in his enemies. It is the hope he gives his friends. I could no more ask Pax to stop tinkering with my datapad than I could ask you to change who you are. I know that. I only ask that you remember what you mean to me, to your people, to your son. You have not been abandoned. I will come for you. Sevro will come for you. The Republic will come for you. Until then; endure, my love. Endure.”
There are many standout scenes here, and I’m pleased to report that we see a lot more of Victra in Dark Age than we did in Iron Gold. And she was fabulous. She remains one of my favorite characters in the whole series, but my heart belongs to Sevro. Unfortunately we didn’t get a whole lot of Sevro here, which had me bummed.
There are several reveals at the end of the book, which sets up the next book quite nicely, and I’m quite concerned about how Pierce Brown will end this. I’m not sure I can handle the emotional rollercoaster that we’re bound to get in the next book.
Bottom Line: Not without its flaws, but overall an enjoyable, captivating read! Can’t wait for the next book in the series!