Note: You really need to read the previous books in this series to understand this book.
Book 2, Golden Son, left us on a hell of a cliffhanger. Luckily, Book 3 picks up where things were left, which was right in the middle of a mess. Our hero-to-be Darrow, the Reaper, is in desperate straights. Things went horribly wrong with an unexpected betrayal. Friends and allies have been killed or imprisoned. Others, such as Mustang, are off on their own, their intentions unknown.
The author doesn’t disappoint with this book. The mix of tension, action, betrayals, loyalties, saving people, executing people, adventure, dismemberments, and body enhancements continues to be excellent. Darrow continues to yank the feels out of me by a fishook! He’s at the center of this rising, doing his best to maintain his own humanity and yet sometimes he has to sacrifice it in order to bring it out in others. In Book 1, Red Rising, the story started off with Darrow and his Red family. Book 2 hints that Darrow’s family is at his core, the thing that makes him strong. In Book 3, it’s very satisfying to see that come full circle with Darrow’s family, both biological and the family of friends he’s built, standing strong behind him.
This book should get an award for creative cursing. Oh, dear Severo! He made me laugh so hard, and sometimes inappropriately, with his flagrant curses. He’s such a harsh man and he seems to revel in being crude or disgusting. While Darrow was temporarily out of the picture, he had to rise above and become more than he thought he could be. However, the eventual, and perhaps inevitable, butting of heads between these two friends had me gnashing my teeth! After the unexpected betrayal at the Book 2, I was constantly on the look out for the next breaking of friendship or betrayal or splitting of paths. I need a back massage just from being so tense throughout this book!
Without giving much away, I really enjoyed the visit to Ragnar’s homeland. It was so different from what we had seen so far. And his isn’t the only alien landscape our heroes visit. There’s the moons of Jupiter as well. The author did a great job of maintaining realistic travel times between all the points of interest in the solar system.
Towards the end, when I was down to the last 6 hours or so, I wasn’t sure how the author was going to wrap up everything that still had to be done. I was a bit worried that things would get rushed towards the end, unrealistic compromises, etc. tossed in just to wrap things up. However, our author wasn’t that clumsy. Things did unfold in a realistic way and everything got wrapped up nicely. I was quite satisfied by how things came to be in the end. Yes, there were plenty of deaths and sacrifices. Yes, not every person who committed some despicable act was killed. Yet I felt that Darrow and his close friends have laid solid ground work for a new regime. In the end, I so enjoyed this book I wanted to go back and listen to the series all over again.
The Narration: Tim Gerard Reynolds once again does this series justice. I really enjoyed his accent and voices for the new characters we meet on Ragnar’s home world. His creative cursing as Severo is very entertaining! His range in accents and character voices make this an excellent listen!