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Dark Age

Series: Red Rising, Book 5
Length: 33 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,822 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For a decade, Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. 

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? 

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies. 

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation - and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form - and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed - every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

©2019 Pierce Brown (P)2019 Recorded Books

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sound volume

I sure wish the sound engineers had put all the narrators at the same volume

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Least favorite so far.

As much as I looked forward to this book I was a little bit disappointed by time the end came. It felt too....disjointed. As if side quests kept popping up to interrupt the main story.
Even if they were overall connected to the main plot, it still felt like way too much time was spent focused on them. Like a side story could have been written instead.
Alot of the ruminations from the characters felt like filler to pad out the dialogue. I hope the next book is more tightly focused.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

THE RED WEDDING OF THE SERIES

Dont read this book if you have loved or even remotely liked any characters from the original series. At every moment that you think somthing will go right, everything implodes and your left with a gut wrenching feeling. But by god this book is so dark and soul killing. That when you finish you cry and hold yourself, because the rollercoaster of emotions has ended. And then realization hits you, like a smack in the face. You have read a master peace. And if you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing. It would be to, stop everything in your life and read this book.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nails on a chalk board

I have always loved the books, I have listen to them times over because I love the flow, the narrators it was always like music to me, I actually almost giggle when the first chapter of Lysander was to begin then I cringed at the sound of the new narrators voice, its really hard to listen to, its like listening to Count Chocula and Carrie Grant.I just want to know Piece Brown why? I would also like to know why the new pronouncing of Cassia, really sad to see something so perfect broken.

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why??

Should've had Tim Gerard Reynolds narrate the entire book. He is amazing the others are lame.

50 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

More bloodshed and a new PoV character

The war has spread and it now consumes the entire solar system. Blood and violence are pervasive as the fledgling Republic tries to hang against those who oppose it. Many want to return to the old color based society and others view this conflict as an opportunity to rise to power, so there is no shortage of combatants available.  Like the last book, Iron Gold, this story is told from the perspectives of the same PoV characters (plus Mustang this time) and each of them experiences this conflict from a different location within the solar system. With such a complicated set of battles it will take you some time to get your bearings, especially if it has been a while since you read the last book, but once you get everything sorted out this is another wild ride in a series that remains surprisingly compelling.

The body count rises as humanity tries to find some sort of equilibrium in the aftermath of Darrow's rebellion, and it is his storyline that remains the most compelling of the bunch. The other PoV characters all play key roles in the conflict and some new characters also rise to prominence, including Darrow's son Pax who grows into an interesting character in his own right. Despite a number of big moments that have unalterable impact to some of the main characters, this book is not without some Deus Ex Machina which can be a little unsatisfying. However, if you are a fan of the series then you should definitely pick this one up but don't expect much to be resolved in the big picture. The individual battles are tense and exciting, but they do not bring an end to the overall war, so this series will be moving on to book 6. 

Once again it is an ensemble cast of narrators with each PoV character being voiced by a different person. I found them all to be excellent with Tim Gerard Reynolds remaining the best of the bunch.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This series has gone full blown Grim Dark.

As my title says, the story has turned really dark, so much so its incredulous how everything that could go wrong does. So much so it takes me out of the story several times. The beautiful prose of the author in this book feels laborious to work through as you start to realize it's going to lead to tragedy.

The performance is flawless and the addition of other narrators gives more life to the story, I'm happy with the change.

The plot suffers from timing, luck, nativity and stupidity of certain characters that its truly unbelievable. I rate it a 3 out of 5 out of respect of the audio performers and the first trilogy. how beautifully the first trilogy was done and the obvious talent of the author gives me enough hope he will drag this story out of the hole it's in. This is part of the whole which is still not finished. I will reserve full judgment of this trilogy or story until it is finished but this book left me feeling very unsatisfied.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Series losing steam; pass after this one

First and foremost the performances were great. That’s where the flattery for this review mostly ends.
Were there major plot twists I had no way of seeing coming? You betcha. Were there many? Not really. Most of this book is predictable and in the gut-churning, dreading the next sentence sort of way. While it’s no indictment against the author or the series to let the seemingly natural courses of events unfold, it was a drastically overused device.
All the major character deaths? I’m getting tired of authors trying to out-GRRM the GRRM. While not always true if you’re killing off characters left and right it’s a sign of lazy storytelling not painting with darker shades.
The violence in the series has always been substantial and cringe-worthy, but it’s almost obscene in this one.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for gritty badass realistic characters and settings and whatnot but this was a step in filth for the fun of it, not because it did the story justice.
This series hooked me with hope from the first books and has done nothing but crap all over it for the last two books. I’m sick of it, and I’m not interested in finding out new and disgusting ways the author will murder other characters I’ve grown to love in whatever they cook up in the next books.
Did I say books? Maybe because the author not so subtly hinted at enough content to fill at least two more; pass.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too Poetically Long-Winded

I have been anxiously waiting for this release since Iron Gold but, while Pierce Brown writing is still amazing, even amazing can chafe when over-used, over-wrought and overly and brutally indulgent. It was also much too long and seemed that Pierce Brown may have attempted to give each voice actor close to equal voice time to the detriment of the story.

As others have mentioned, the change of narrators took some adjustment and was disconcerting. Aedin Moloney for Lyria was replaced but Moira Quirk (I believe) as her replacement but was also quite good along with Lyria's intriguing new part. Rendah Heywood as Mustang (I believe) was a treat, not only for Mustang returning to the story but for her performance. John Curless as Ephraim was still difficult to enjoy, partly due to the character he played but also to how much story time was allocated to his character. By far, the least enjoyed character was that of Lysander, voiced by James Langton. He, too, was given way too much time in the novel. While there does seem to be an attempt by Pierce Brown to frame the battle between The Reaper (Athenian democracy champion) and Lysander (Spartan supremacy and slavery advocate), it falls apart when one attempts to map Spartan martial expertise with Lysander's constant sophisticated, urbane and meandering pontifications.

There was some strangeness introduced what with invading, intelligent parasites and restoration of both likable and unsavory characters that gave the story a sense of shark-jumping.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Changed Narrators!?! Trash Move Amazon/Audible.

WTF. Lysander had the best voice and this new guy obviously didn't even listen to the other books because he didn't even attempt to pronounce the names of people or places correctly. The recast ed two characters in fact. Just pay them what they want. We sure pay enough for these books!!!!! I am very disappointed in Audible. Very disappointed indeed. It is very hard to listen to. Save your money and read the book. This was just pathetic.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Bjarte
  • Bjarte
  • 08-09-19

Fantastic book, but!

I asked pierce brown over twitter why they changed two of the narrators and he responded that it was because of fan comments.
I don't think this was a good choice as both new narrators are in my eyes not as good as those they replaced.
That being said, this is a brutal master piece that is better than Iron Gold.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gadget
  • 09-06-19

Gripping; but minor audio and performance issues

I found this absolutely gripping. While a little clichéd in places, it made my drive to and from speed by, and sets the scene for the final book of this trilogy.

Regarding the quality of the audiobook:

The main issue I had with the audio was that it was too quiet. Much of my commute is on the motorway, so I expect to have to turn the volume up a bit. However, for this book, I had to turn it up a lot; and for Ephraim in particular, even with the volume at maximum, there were still times when I couldn't hear everything he said.

Regarding the narrators: Ephraim and Darrow were as solid as ever. I preferred the accent of the previous Lyria, but the new one did a good job, and the voice she used for Victra was just right. Where the previous Lysander sounded like he was bored of the whole thing (and not in a good way), the new one did a good job in combining casual arrogance and a general feeling of superiority and destiny. Virginia I felt was the weakest of the bunch; while she was fine when voicing Virgina herself, she made no changes for other characters, which was occasionally confusing; and she made a number of mispronunciations.

Finally, the producers didn't do a great job of ensuring consistency between all the narrators. It meant that some names and places were pronounced differently by different people; and the same character could end up with a different accent depending on who was voicing them (for example, when Ephraim was quoting Lyria, he used the accent of the narrator from the previous book.)

But despite all that, this was still a good listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dave poole
  • 08-23-19

Shame about the new readers and new accents...

Loved all of them, but to many new readers and accents for the same charictors

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julian Bowdidge
  • Julian Bowdidge
  • 11-14-19

Everyone now comes from Essex apparently.<br />

The problem with audio books is that you don't see the names of characters written down, so at times you can be a little lost as to who this knight is or that tyrant.
With a character sheet that had grown quite long over the previous 4 books, it's time for a bit of a cull.

Delivered with the usual gusto and a grand sweep Mr Brown thins out the herd, game of thrones style, with as much gore as he can muster.

However, there is a slight nagging feeling that half way through the book, he had a cracking new idea for the direction the narrative should be heading in. A random new character out of the blue is dropped into the narrative and any conflict with past plot points is hand waved away.

Which sets up the final book nicely.

I await which regional accent Lyria will get next with interest.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 11-13-19

Excellent

I love how the story continues. The narrators were all excellent. The only down side is waiting for the next one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlie
  • 11-08-19

Wow. Blown away every time.

Without a doubt this is easily my favourite book series I've read to date. I was wary that they'd changed the narrators for two of the characters in this book but they do an amazing job regardless and it didn't take long to get used to the difference.

Can't wait for the next one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 10-14-19

The best Sci-fi story ever told - Movie magic....

I can now truly understand addiction, to crave something like this on a daily bases is really admirable..

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • 10-12-19

Death and more death

Nope I didn’t enjoy this. Yep there are characters that you want to hear their path but there was no tea plot no real engaging story. I ended up running this in 1.5 speed and even then still skipped ahead on the last 4 hours. Such a shame I loved the first 3 enjoyed the 4th but this nope I’m done. Some of those scenes were just too much.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G@mazon
  • 10-12-19

Brilliant but too long

I did love this book, The Red Rising saga has a special place in my heart and the writing was incredibly intelligent and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Only cons were that it was too long and complex and too many characters. Some of the narration could have been better produced in some places I.e. intonation on the two by parts of the sentence which didn’t help with understanding the storyline.

However Pierce is an excellent author and I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter S
  • 10-10-19

WOW - gory damn what a book

I expected the fourth book of the series to lose the plot, like most do after a defined trilogy. But, the fourth was fab and the fifth as good if not better. Complex, violent, sad and hopeful. heroes and villains both struggle with what date has given. I listened to this while walking my dogs. in the last four hours of the book they had lots of walks. Can't wait for the Sith book. Hope it doesn't let me down.

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  • peastri
  • 08-04-19

Relentless

I can never say enough about this series and no matter how much praise I heap on it I will never do it the justice it deserves. 

Dark Age hits the ground sprinting offering a level of anxiety riddled intensity that makes Golden Son look like a picnic.

It's not for the faint hearted it's relentless and keeps you moving for fear you'll be caught in the crossfire. You'll rage, cry, fatigue, despair, endure and hope… hope? lol.

Never am I as immersed in a world and its characters as I am when I'm with the Rising. I'm not looking forward to it ending, I don't know how I'll cope - per aspera ad astra, hail Pierce! you bloodydamn marvelous pixie.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben Persson
  • 08-01-19

WTF IS GOING ON WITH VOICES

different actors, pronunciations and tones consistency is the name of the game. Don't buy past book 3 if you want your happy bubble in tact.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-19

CASHUS

Goryhell, get this slow mumbling awful Lysander narrator off this book. Hard to believe that they could find a more unconvincing narrator than the one who read Lyria in Iron Gold. But damn, RecordedBooks has underachieved wonderfully, done it again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MM
  • 11-27-19

good series

Hard to start with as it felt like a long time between books, but once started it slowly vame back. well worth reading, may be worth a quick recap first though.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda Hadley
  • 10-31-19

slower than the others but worth

worth the slow start. some nice character development but a little rushed/chaotic in some parts.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BW
  • BW
  • 10-09-19

Brilliant

This book delivers! With multiple strands and threads coming together in the story arc, there is an amazing blend of action and intrigue. Manages to both provide the reader with some satisfaction and closure whilst simultaneously setting up the next book. Performances were excellent though a change with one of the central characters was a little jarring at first. Arguably the best book in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 09-27-19

back to form - ripping read

i believe the first book in this series is worthy of scifi cult status. The series has been a pleasure to read but I feel it lost it's way in book 4. This was a sterling return to form, really enjoyable. Pierce is mastering his craft. Great performance too, especially Ephraim.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-22-19

What a ride

Loved the book Darrow and Ephraim both really good voice work the rest are okay insanely hyped for the next one

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Blain
  • Blain
  • 09-11-19

great story line only slightly less than 1st 3 bks

Lysanders voice was okay but not after the last book set a different tone. otherwise great story setting up for a big finish!

can't wait

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 09-06-19

One book too many

Enjoyed earlier books however I am now struggling to sustain interest. All the best Darrow.