Iron Gold - war eats the victors last.
Iron Gold, the latest book in the Red Rising series, shows us how the rebellion from Morning Star has resulted in a new age of peace and harmony for mankind. Ummm, no. In truth, the war is far from over and establishing a new Republic is a lot harder than just disposing of the old leaders. The old color-based system is entrenched in society and the concept of accepting everyone as an equal is far from a reality. This is just one reason of many that the newly formed Republic finds that the challenges of peace can be more difficult to overcome than those of all out war.
That being said, the war is not over and the both the Ashlord and the Rim present very real threats to the new Republic. These threats are elevated by the fact that the new government already has its hands full dealing with issues from within. All of the main characters are back with Darrow, Sevro, Mustang, and Cassius all front and center alongside some interesting new PoV characters that enter the story. Lyria is a red who was liberated from slavery on Mars only to find that the new world offered by the Republic is not better than the old one. Just another forgotten refugee, she struggles to find happiness in a world of chaos that she is ill prepared to understand. Ephraim is a grey who has made a living as a master thief and built up a reputation as someone who gets the job done at any cost. He too suffers from the rebellion as he gets caught up in the machinations of the many factions vying for power.
These new characters blend nicely with the old to create a compelling storyline that moves along nicely from start to finish. I felt that the series was in a good place after the opening trilogy was complete and was worried that this new book would feel out of place, but it certainly doesn't. This continuation of the storyline is solid and since the main characters are older now we see them struggle with the realities of the world which clash against the ideals from their youth. If you enjoyed the first three books then do not hesitate to pick this one one.
For the audiobook, Tim Gerard Reynolds is back at the mic, but this time he is not alone. Normally I don't mind ensemble cast of narrators, but TGR is so talented that it is tough to have to listen to someone else when the story shifts narrators. The new narrators each voice a new PoV character for the story with John Curless doing a good job with Ephraim, Aedin Moloney also doing well as Lyria, and the weakest of the bunch, Julian Elfer voicing Lysander. Julian is clearly talented, but his reading was at a faster pace than the others so I found it to be the least enjoyable of the bunch. Still, a worthy listen in total.