The second novel in Pierce Brown’s science fiction trilogy that began with Red Rising is on the Book Shelf this week, and if I liked the first one (which I did), I loved this one!
The story picks up a couple of years after the events of the first book, and sees Darrow on the cusp of success, proving himself, and climbing higher in the ruling society of the Golds, but things take a drastic change and he finds himself floundering.
He still has his goals, learned as a Red, then recut as a Gold, inspired by the memory of his dead wife, and the resistance group known as the Sons of Ares, to bring down the Society, restoring a balance to humanity and doing away with the hierarchy with the Golds on top and the rest of the colors working as slave races.
But things have changed, Virgina aka Mustang is no longer at his side, carving her own political path far from him on Mars, working with the Sovereign on Luna, insinuating herself into the Bellona family, while trying to safeguard her own.
Her father is the ArchGovernor of Mars, and is ready to let Darrow go when he stages a bold move, and brings the Society to the brink of civil way. The ArchGovernor sees this as his chance to seize control from the Sovereign and become the leader himself, but Darrow has bigger plans.
But what should happen if his closest allies, Roque, Sevro, Mustang learn of his true lineage? and his true plans?
This book doesn’t confine itself to Mars, or the Institute, this one expands the story and world that Brown created and does it incredibly. And while it doesn’t have the religious overtones, or layers that Herbert’s Dune has, I found myself thinking of the classic tale of Arrakis as I worked my way through this adventure; there are a plethora of families at work in these books, politics, recognizable weapons and designs, and the way I see them in my head is expansive, gorgeous and full of history, just the way Dune came to life in my mind.
The action sequences are deftly paced, I love the characters, the reveals, moments, and deceptions at play on all sides. I love how expansive this novel, knocking the doors wide open as we plunge into a familiar solar system, though changed by centuries of work.
Darrow is relatable, and the conflict and worry we are privy to inside his head fill out the character nicely, you know he messes up with his friends, and in his relations. You know he wants his friends and loved ones by his side, but his determination and drive to bring about the changes that his dead wife, Eo helped inspire in him.
We learn who Ares is through the course of the story, we hope for Mustang and Darrow to be reunited, we long to run with Sevro and the Howlers, and the amazing thing is, we see both sides of the argument.
And, of course, being the middle part of the trilogy, it has to leave the characters in dark places, and this one does. I want to pick up the final novel in the series and blaze my way through it, but, I know if I do that , the story will be over. So…
I’m not going to read it yet. I’m going to take a week or two, and read something else before I see how things play out for Darrow and his friends.
Check this one out!