The first three books of this series are among the best SF of the decade. It should have been wrapped up as a trilogy. As others have pointed out, the story has become very dark and all the gory violence is excessive and gratuitous. Pierce Brown is an amazing writer and I enjoy the classical references on which this fascinating world has been built but I feel the passion of the characters and the arc of the characters as their world was turned upside down by the rising has become lacking in the fifth book. I was lost in the endless characters and tired of the constant need to refer to the “dramatis personae”. I have to say I feel the 5 star reviews are trying hard to make excuses for this book out of loyalty to the brilliant first three. Beware! Book 5 is 750 pages of verbosity and little enjoyment.
I love this series and remain invested, but this one, while gripping, had a number of issues.
First, there is a disappointing flow between the various perspectives. The 4th book seemed much more fluid with this whereas I found this clunky.
The worst issue though is that the author is far too committed to the characters previously developed- resorting to deus ex machinas (yes plural) to keep them in the story while sacrificing new, potentially interesting characters.
It hasn't quite reached "matrix level" in terms of "you should have quit while you were ahead" but i am hoping that the next book can clean things up. Like others, I'd say it's probably time to wrap this world up.
The world of Red Rising is one of my favorite universe's to go back to time and time again. Dark age is a wonderful addition. To call the book a rollercoaster is an understatement. Throughout the novel with each new battle or massive point of intrigue I though "ok so from here it's gonna start to wind down". I was frankly wrong. There are so many parts on the book where it could have gone wrong and made it a confusing mess, but Pierce Brown is Ana mazing author who managed to balance a million plates at once and to not break a single one.
Pierce Brown is fabulous, if you like the Red Rising series don’t hesitate to continue on with Dark Age. If you’ve read the first books in the series you really don’t need to be told to read this one too, you already know it’s going to be great so just do it.