A good story is so much more than its ending. I hope we can all agree on that.
As readers, we invest a fair amount of time and emotional energy in a story. The ending is the payoff, and if the story does its job, the reward is immeasurable. Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy is a perfect example of that, and in my experience, not as common as I wish it were. For every truly great book or series that I’ve read, I’ve probably read three good books that left me underwhelmed or outright disappointed by the ending. Again, a story isn’t defined by its ending, but when the story is great and it sticks the landing, I’m almost always going to rank it higher than a good story that stumbles its way to the finish.
That brings me to Iron Gold. When the sequel for the Red Rising trilogy was announced, I found myself mostly excited, and just a little bit anxious. I’m generally a sequel-optimist, but I’m emotionally wired in such a way that most of my excitement comes with a splash of anxiety. That said, I have enough confidence in Pierce Brown’s story-telling abilities to believe we’ll be in good hands with Iron Gold and the books that follow. He earned my trust with Red Rising. So I’m beyond ready to revisit his world. But I’m bracing myself.
With Iron Gold‘s quickly approaching release, I’m preparing myself for more heartbreaking losses, and for the possibility that any of the happily-ever-afters we got in Morning Star will reach their expiration date. And I’m as ready as I can possibly be to see what the “more” in “live for more” really looks like.
By the description of the book, it sounds like the post-Octavia solar system isn’t the perfect utopia of colorful unity we might have hoped for…
“A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?”
Things are not ok. And that’s a pretty good place to start a story. It worked for the original trilogy. But Morning Star left off in an open place, allowing us to believe that Eo’s dream would be realized in time. With Iron Gold, the door to our own imagined future for the Red Rising universe is being closed and we’re about to find out what really happens next.
Based on the way Pierce Brown recently described Iron Gold to Barnes & Noble, that appears to be his actual intention…
“Essentially, the first series, Red Rising, is about a man trying to destroy a corrupt regime. And Iron Gold is about someone picking up the pieces after the empire has been destroyed. So, essentially, it looks at the cracks in the fantasy of what we always read, what we always see in movies. And I wanted to see what happens after the glorious ending.”
I get what he’s saying about wanting to see the cracks and the fallout of the Rising. If anything, it makes me even more excited (splash of anxiety) to read this new book. We got that glorious ending with Morning Star, but what happens next? And with that, the obvious question: What if it’s not what we imagined? Let’s face it, it probably isn’t. Shit will undoubtedly escalate, for better or worse. Are we ready for it?
As a reader, I want to believe that the characters I’ve come to love live indefinitely inside of the writer, and if the rest of their story begins to reveal itself, that the writer will take the risk to write it down and put it out there. Pierce Brown is taking that risk. And as fans, we’re taking the risk by reading it. Again, he has my trust. So much of my excitement lives in that.
I’m ready to love this new trilogy. And I’m anxiously prepared for heartbreak and whatever tragedy might be the price to pay for victory. A good story usually has both. Red Rising‘s original trilogy was proof of that. I’m prepared for the same to be the case with Iron Gold.
I’m also prepared to be wrong about my confidence in being prepared for anything these next three books have in store.
Please don’t let Victra die.