PrintE-mail Written by Tommy James

The twelve months following his exposure as a Red have not been kind to Darrow. In fact, they’ve been bloodydamn horrible. Imprisoned and tortured by the villainous Jackal, to the brink of insanity, Darrow sees only one escape. Suicide. As he smashes his own head into the rock on which he lays bound, naked and alone, Darrow closes his eyes and thinks of Eo. There is no reprise of the forbidden song his late wife performed, that served as the catalyst for his deadly mission to infiltrate the privileged Golds and free his people from the mines of Mars as he surrenders, defeated, into the darkness.

But for Darrow, suicide never runs smoothly. It didn’t work in Red Rising and it doesn’t work now. Moments from death, he is handed from the Jackal to the Sovereign’s allies, which include his enemy and former brother in arms, Cassius au Bellona. Fortunately for Darrow, his old friend Sevro now leads the Sons of Ares and has launched a rescue mission. Returned to his family for the first time in years, Darrow’s reputation as a figurehead of the rebellion is more broken than his body, but confronted by the world he sought to liberate, something inside him stirs. He is the Reaper. He has a mission, and ‘if this is the end, I will rage toward it’.

That same sentiment could be applied to Red Rising’s 28 year-old author Pierce Brown. Trilogies traditionally end with an almighty showdown between good and evil, but Brown’s sophisticated and multilayered narrative defies convention. There are battles, sure. Battles in space, battles by hand but none more dangerous than the battle Brown’s protagonist fights with himself. The civil war that rages inside Darrow’s heart, as he tries to reconcile his desperation to reclaim the friendship of Cassius and the love of Mustang (despite the former’s determination for vengeance and the latter’s repulsion at Darrow’s true identity), are just a glimmer of the complexities that Brown’s skillfully interwoven tapestry presents against the backdrop of certain Armageddon.

The story roars towards a heart-wrenching climax but with so many twists and turns it’s impossible to delve further without giving anything away so we’ll break down what you need to know as follows:

1) There are times that you’ll feel like you’re being punched in the heart. Walk it off. It’s going to be okay. Not right away, but eventually.  We think. We’re not medical professionals, but this book is worth the risk.

2) If warriors ever wrote poetry, it would read like Morning Star. Brown is a General armed with ink and a quill pen.

3) This novel is nothing short of a bloodydamn masterpiece.


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