My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hic sunt leones.
This is Act II of a 3-act play on the human condition. It is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching at its darkest. Melodic and light-hearted at it’s lightest.
But the dark time are where the story lies in most, and it’s a dramatic juggernaut comparable to the likes of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead in its tragedy. However, I’d rather not say it’s like them, because this story that Pierce Brown has written definitely stands on its own merits.
For those of you who detest YA novels, this is barely YA. The previous book, also just skims what is considered teenage-ry. This is storytelling at its pinnacle – Pierce Brown is stunning in his debut series.
The details and the dialogue of the world and its inhabitants that Brown has created is mature, complex. The storytelling is engrossing, anticipatory in a way that’s pulls you in but doesn’t drag on. It is pieced together to tease you just long enough so that when the reveal comes, it’s as monumental as Brown would have you believe.
The main character, Darrow, has grown in age, but is still barely trying to get by now. In a color-coded society that deems his color as the lowest of the lows and not even worth, he’s been hiding his true self to achieve the goal that was set out for him by his wife. And even though he hides himself quite well, there’s still only so much he can bare in hiding who he really is from those that he’s grown to care about.
Darrow still makes many mistakes, and many times is saved by his Gold friends. This makes it all the more harder for him to live on as he does, in hiding. But much of his strength is derived through the memory of his wife and what she wanted for him and all the Reds. In that, he is a tragic figure (though I can only hope that his ending is not tragic at all), which also makes him a great figure. A character worthy of our sympathy, of our sorrow, of our love.
Other characters from the first book are just as compelling, although we cannot really see the complexities of who they are as much as we do Darrow as we read this all from Darrow’s point of view. But as you see them they way Darrow sees them, you see the potential of each of these characters, both the good and the bad.
There are times when you don’t know what to believe about them, and at times you hope that they make the right choices even if you’re lead to believe they won’t.
It seems often that I find the second book of a trilogy to be my favorite. This second book has definitely surpassed the first in storytelling and drama, but at the same time, I can hate it for the emotion that it seems to have torn from my heart. At times, it felt as if my heart was being literally pulled from my chest and a lump the size of a watermelon was growing in my throat.
As much as I loved this book in all its grandeur, I can’t wait for an even more grandiose affair in the third act. And I can’t help but go a little crazy in the thought that I do have to wait yet another year for the conclusion of this operatic-like drama. And I mean operatic in the best possible way.
(My spoiler section is not long, but it is VERY spoiler-y, so don’t read it if you haven’t read the book yet!)
All I can say is that Pierce Brown was right about one thing.
I want to live for more (of his books)!
For my spoiler section, you can go to my Goodreads page