Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5) by Pierce Brown

MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5

He broke the chains. Then he broke the world….

A decade ago Darrow led a revolution, and laid the foundations for a new world. Now he’s an outlaw.
Cast out of the very Republic he founded, with half his fleet destroyed, he wages a rogue war on Mercury. Outnumbered and outgunned, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will he become the very evil he fought to destroy?

In his darkening shadow, a new hero rises.
Lysander au Lune, the displaced heir to the old empire, has returned to bridge the divide between the Golds of the Rim and Core. If united, their combined might may prove fatal to the fledgling Republic.

On Luna, the embattled Sovereign of the Republic, Virginia au Augustus, fights to preserve her precious demokracy and her exiled husband. But one may cost her the other, and her son is not yet returned.
Abducted by enemy agents, Pax au Augustus must trust in a Gray thief, Ephraim, for his salvation.
Far across the void, Lyria, a Red refugee accused of treason, makes a desperate bid for freedom with the help of two unlikely new allies.
Fear dims the hopes of the Rising, and as power is seized, lost, and reclaimed, the worlds spin on and on toward a new Dark Age.

📖/🎧 Kindle Whispersync

It’s hard for me to put into words how I feel about this but I’m going to try my hardest to do it without any kind of spoilers. As the title suggests, Dark Age is dark, much darker than the rest of the series has been, and it’s not close. It’s gruesome and brutal, with some scenes that may not be for the faint of heart. From its meticulous start to its climactic ending, Dark Age was a tense story that never truly let you up to gasp for air.

“Fire and ash will come. And end of worlds. Serpent will strangle wolf. Lion will battle lion. Darkness will battle light. Sister murder brother. Son murder father. Father murder daughter.”

I mentioned in my review of Iron Gold that I didn’t know if I was in the right frame of mind or maybe I just didn’t like it as much as the original trilogy, and I was coming to the same conclusion early on during Dark Age. At one point I had securely placed this as my least favorite book in the Red Rising Saga but as it went on, it grew on me more and more and I had a change of heart. While it’s still not my favorite of the series, this was definitely a great addition and far better than Iron Gold. Part 1 and even parts of part 2 were my biggest areas of where I had my issues. It was very well written and intricately detailed, it just felt like those parts could’ve been somewhat shorter and still put across the same message. I caught myself taking more breaks than I typically do when reading, which almost caused me to give 4 stars.

“You know I believe we all begin equal parts light and dark. I fear you think your strength lies in your darkness. But the measure of a man is not the fear he sows in his enemies. It is the hope he gives his friends.”

The characters and their development of each on of the characters was pretty amazing. Pierce did a tremendous job of being delicate but giving the characters so much depth. Ephraim may be one of my favorite POV’s of the last two books, I love his attitude as well as the narrators gravely voice, but the others still had great parts in their own right as well. Only issue I had with the characters was, without spoiling, Pierce’s decision to dial back the appearance of a certain character. With Darrow being the heart of the entire saga, there is a certain character that I believe brings the soul and it felt like that was missing the entire time.

“All of a man’s affairs become diseased
when he wishes to cure evils by evils,” Atlas recites. “For order, I impaled soldiers. For liberty, you drowned cities. The victor writes history with the blood of the vanquished.”

A little change with narrators, as there are new additions in Moira Quirk, James Langton, Rendah Heywood, along with the returning voices of Tim Gerard Reynolds and John Curless. This plays into Virginia getting her own voice and POV which I loved so much. I also enjoyed the new voice of Lyria, who sounds much much better than previously. I know some of this review sounds pretty negative, but this was honestly an astonishing story that got better the further along the story went.

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