I received a copy of Rose Gold from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rose Gold, following up Blue Gold, takes place several years after the previous book. This time skip allows events to move forward enough that you do not need to know the plot of the previous book to understand this one. However, while Rose Gold does work as a standalone novel, reading Blue Gold first is recommended. Going into Rose Gold already knowing these characters, and getting their backgrounds in detail, makes for a stronger story. Even more so when taking into account how the events of Blue Gold changed them as people. Either way to book works, but as part two of a trilogy reading part one first naturally works better.
Like in Blue Gold, one of the central themes here is resources. In the not-too-distant future these novels take place in, Earth’s resources are becoming scarce. Whereas the first book deals with world superpowers competing for water, Rose Gold focuses on the energy crisis. A continuing theme from the first book is the corrupt lengths that nations, companies, and individuals will go to for the sake of power and greed. While the futuristic setting allows David Barker to show off neat technology, it is not so distant it becomes far-flung.
The most dynamic shift from Blue Gold is likely the setting. Blue Gold was more of a fast-paced adventure, with Sim and Freda traveling the world for their investigation. This time around the two of them have separate adventures, with much of the book focusing on Sim on the moon base. While different, this was a pleasant change to the storytelling. More of the same in Rose Gold would have run the risk of being dull. Being on a moon base, a confined space in an environment that is 100% inhospitable, adds a different sense of danger. Gopal and Rabten also return and, like in Blue Gold, feature in a lot of the action sequences.
Overall, Rose Gold keeps itself and its audience busy. Readers are bounced around between different perspectives, protagonists and antagonists alike, but not so much that it feels nauseating. The action is exciting while not over the top; think James Bond instead of Rambo. With this novel working standalone but also being an excellent follow-up to Blue Gold, it will be interesting to see how the Gaia Trilogy wraps up.