If you’ve read my review of Red Rising, you’ll know that I loved that book, and Brown has done an amazing thing, in not just maintaining quality, but improving his story in the sequel. I can say without hesitation that I absolutely love this book. This and the previous one, have honestly been the most engrossing books I can remember. I sit down to read it on the bus, and I’m magically transported to my destination, cursing that the journey isn’t longer. I look at the clock, and then it’s been 30 minutes, an hour, two. And when I stop reading, I actually felt dissonant with reality, and took a moment to remember that I was just reading a book. I don’t know exactly what it is, but whatever Brown is doing, he’s doing it right. It’s not a dull book, but it’s also not a simple book.
The story picks up a few years after the last one, Darrow is about to complete his time at The Institute, indeed it is the final battle between him, and Karnus Bellona. Darrow is one of the Peerless, and all is well. Until, of course, everything does not go well at all. You cannot be prepared for this book, you simply cannot. You just have to come along for the ride, and let Brown have his way with you.
It’s so lovely and complex, there are schemes and counter-schemes, and backstabbings. You have to try to figure out whose side people are on, and what their own plans are, and does Darrow have a secret plan in the works. And this usually doesn’t even consider the actual rebellion Darrow is apart of! That weaves in a whole beautiful layer, and who can he tell, and what happens when he does share, will those he share with accept him?
I think it is quite telling that on Goodreads right now there is an average rating of 4.5/5, and not just that, but in the comments, I scrolled down, to see one DNF, and then the lowest rating was a 3. Of course, I’m sure there were other low ratings, but these are the ‘top’ reviews that Goodreads shows, and usually there’s a negative review floating around, but not really so in this case. The negatives I saw really were just “I wanted more training like in the first one” (and I actually agree that I do like that sort of book, which is why Ender’s Game the first one was so good, but the series can’t just be that, there needs to be more) and one which looked like the person had just forgotten what happened in the first one, and openly admitted as much. And it really deserves such good reception.
The ending, well, well, you’ll see. Bring on the next one! Seriously, January/February cannot come fast enough. Really, I compel you to give these a shot, you won’t be disappointed.