This is the third novel in the Red Rising trilogy, and I thought it came to a very satisfying conclusion. Brown is apparently planning a follow-up trilogy, one that will follow new characters living with the result of this story, and I will probably read through those as well. The first one is due out later this year.
In this world, the people are divided by colour class. The golds rule at the top, treated as gods by some of the lower colours, and at the bottom of the class structure are the reds, who are essentially mining slaves, forced to spend their lives underground at work, never to see the sky. These three novels follow the rebellion of the lower class as they struggle for equality.
I loved the first two novels. Red Rising started out very strong, building up this world in an exciting way and really driving home the inequality and the struggle of those enslaved by this system. The second novel, Golden Son, was just as good, avoiding the lull many middle novels fall victim to while exposing the reader to the entire universe beyond the enclosed story of the first book, essentially turning the series into a space opera.
A trilogy like this could really fall apart at the end, leaving the reader unsatisfied, but I’m happy to say the conclusion hit the mark for me. It left me guessing up until the end with some unexpected twists, and while some of those twists felt a bit hokey, I was able to overlook that. It’s a complicated story overall but still manages to remain a fast-paced and exciting read.
My only real complaint is that everything in this final book felt so high-stakes that it managed to come across as a bit monotonous. Every war movie has that moment when the Sergeant is giving a rising speech to his squad, full of bravado and speaking of glory and honour. Most of this novel is that tone, and it gets a little tiring after a while. I was drifting a bit in the middle of the book. To Brown’s credit, though, the story’s emotional highs and lows still managed to hit me pretty hard, so I guess he didn’t overextend himself.
Overall, this was a great finish to the trilogy. Tim Gerard Reynolds is a superb narrator, and I’m sure my reading experience was improved by listening to him. I’ll be watching for the next trilogy.