Published February 2016
Red Rising #3
I am doing it. It is happening. I am finally going to review Morning Star, after finishing this dang book over two months ago.
With the ending of Golden Son being the most bat-shit insane ending / cliff hanger to a book I have read possibly EVER, it wasn’t long before I picked up Morning Star. And by “wasn’t long”, I mean it was approximately 7 and 1/2 minutes.
While this final installment in the Red Rising trilogy wasn’t my favorite of the three, it was a solid ending to a fantastic series, and I highly recommend the series to any fan of science fiction. I think Morning Star left much to explore and possible situations unexplored, but for the most part, I finished the book satisfied, so it’s a weird line to walk.
Please, beware that while this review will not have too many spoilers for Morning Star individually, it is EXTREMELY difficult to review the finale in a trilogy without spoiling some aspects of the previous two books. You have officially been warned.
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war.
The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.
Finally, the time has come.
But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.
In the back of the book, Pierce Brown admits how difficult this series was for him to finish. He talks about how Darrow was no longer a soldier and force onto himself, but the creation of all of those around him. Reading this explanation, something clicked in my mind, because I think that this is, absolutely, the most perfect way to describe Darrow’s character development in this novel.
Darrow is troubled and conflicted and broken and overall so god damn depressing at some points, I was wishing for a point of view change. But then I realized that it would be completely unreasonable and unrealistic (not that the story is realistic, just roll with me here) for Darrow as a character to be weakened based off of everything that had happened to him from Golden Son on.
“I’m afraid all the time. I don’t want to lose anyone. I don’t want to let them down.”
One of the things that I really appreciate about the Red Rising series is that Brown has no qualms with killing off his characters. Each chapter brought new anxiety and anticipation about whether or not my favorites were going to make it through. Spoiler alert: not all of them do. But, with that being said, Brown also has this amazing ability to kill someone who the readers love and adore, only to bring in a new someone to fill that fallen character’s spot in our hearts.
I struggle with placing this book in the YA category for that very reason: reading a story and having absolutely no idea who is going to live and who is going to meet a bloody, grisly end. There is a lot of death. This book contains a lot of explicit violence, and while war is never pretty, Brown does not shy away from showing us that.
“All that we have is that shout into the wind–how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.”
I guess I will end this review by saying that if you haven’t read this series, you need to change that. And, if you have read the first two books, but haven’t gotten around to picking up Morning Star: what are you doing? You don’t know where this series is going. You don’t know how it ends. You don’t know who lives, and who dies. And that my friends, is a bloodydamn good reading experience.