Dark Age by Pierce Brown is epic on every level, this is a novel of loss, sacrifice, redemption, heart break, political moves, and tyranny. This is book five of the Red Rising Saga. This book was so welcomed by me, because I thought that book four Iron Gold was the weakest in the series. This book follows the same format from Iron Gold, where it gives the same five character perspectives Darrow, Lyria, Ephraim, Virginia, and Lysander. This worked a lot better this time around it didn’t feel like all the characters were setting up something for the next novel, there’s a only one that didn’t feel complete, and was a set up story. This novel wrapped up all the stories from the cliff hanger of Iron Gold, and managed to go into new territory and create new problems as the stories moved forward. This book does a great job of showing two characters difference towards the same goal, as a reader they kept making good points and then screwing up there own ideas to beat one another, it was such good character work and plotting. The twist and turns are so good it reminded me of the midway turn in the original Red Rising and the end turn in Golden Son. There’s a lot of character’s too keep up with which was a little daunting since it had been over a year since reading Iron Gold, and two years since reading the original trilogy. This book brings back some characters that you might have forgot about in the original trilogy that you might have forgotten. One character I thought would have made it to Iron Gold but when they do appear it is well worth the wait and the shock value that they’re capable.
The Plot: Darrow has gone to fight a war in Mercury to free more colors from slavery, he had to sacrifice not finding his son Pax in the process. His Wife Virginia the Sovereign has kept the kidnapping under wraps to not alert anyone and for people who want her power to say she’s compromised. She with Servo, who’s daughter was also taken help track who took the kids. Virginia also is trying to gather support for her husband n the unsanctioned war on Mercury he started. Lryia is being tortured by a pregnant Victra, who is Servo’s wife, She does not know she was a pasty and was manipulated by Ephraim. Ephraim downed his ship on purpose with the two kidnapped kids, when he realized who’s hands they were going to and there intentions, but where he downed the ship there people who see a big opportunity to use the kids as a bargaining chip to gain power. Lysander convinced what’s left of the Raa family to make Darrow pay for his huge betrayal and lie in the book Morning Star. He meets with a members of his family to take Darrow down on Mercury. He’s finding out the people remember that he is rightful heir to sovereign.
What I Liked: This is edge of your seat story telling at it’s best. There’s so many twist and turns one person will have an advantage one moment then switch, then find out there was a puppet master in the shadows. The character’s arc in all stories evolve and come full circle. Secrets are revealed that were hinted at in past books making it really rewarding for having read the first 4 books in the series. Every character has an agenda and it’s constantly shaping but it all makes sense. The flow of this book is amazing it does let you catch your breath after a big reveal but not too long because another one is coming soon. The character’s big and side character’s all sound different and easy to separate from one another. A great ending not a cliffhanger like the last one but you know where most characters are headed, and it going to be bloody.
What I Disliked: This is a broken record comment, but with so many character’s if there was some synopsis for the character’s, it would be great, thank goodness for the internet, so I could look up the character’s to know their history in the series, the book usually gets there, and gives a background eventually. Lyria story is still the weakest story but is way better than in Iron Gold.
Recommendations: I totally recommend this series with a little warning about content, this is a brutal story where people are ripped apart, swearing, sex, rape is threatened, radiation rots the people form inside out, and urination on a vanquished foe is par for the course. This is book is rated Young Adult but could really be adult. That being said I’m an adult that loves Game of Thrones and stories where no one is safe and a brutal world. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. my ranking of the series from top to bottom is Red Rising, Dark Age, Golden Son, Morning Star, and Iron Gold.