Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown (2016)
Fiction | Sci-Fi
“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.”
Book One: RED RISING
pooled ink Review
The end has arrived and I know not what to do. *slowly begins to applaud*
If you look back at who Darrow was at the beginning in Red Rising and compare it to where he ends up in this shattering conclusion to the trilogy, it’s not only a whole different person but he’s playing in a completely different ball game. Darrow’s heart is the same, his essence remains untouched which I love, but the journey his life is shoved down has sculpted him into an entire different being and it has been incredible to witness. There really is something about him that not only rallies allies to his side, but has readers softly chanting his name needing his victory as much as he does.
(It is also interesting how Darrow’s life transitions from fledgling adulthood to full-blown war leader just as book one begins on the darker/older scale of Young Adult and by the end transitions fully into Adult Fiction.)
After the shocking and devastating cliff-hanger in Golden Son, things begin to destabilize among the rebels because, as is his character, Darrow is the glue. It’s simply who he is and without him visions skew, bombs fall, and resistance wavers. Having the right leader is an essential component that can often go underestimated and we see that as Sevro takes up Ares’ mantle and struggles beneath its weight. Just as with every book in this trilogy, characters surprised me and made me feel emotions that I did not invite in. Allies broke my heart and enemies had me cackling, but despite the emotional turmoil they bring I actually really loved the complexity it laid within the plot. No character was left to be drab and one-sided so it was intriguing to unearth new dimensions to them as the pages turned.
Unlike with others’ opinions, I actually still love Red Rising best of all. Is it because it was my first step into this world? Because the characters were all shiny and new? Probably both, but also because I just loved the setting of the Institute and basically that entire plot line. By book two we’re all pretty familiar with what people are capable of and the ruthlessness of the Golds, but in that first book it was thrilling twist and shock with every page and I loved it. That said, I do feel like Brown evolved then wrapped up this trilogy brilliantly. I know that there is a sequel trilogy taking place about 10 years later that shows the wake of the uprising Darrow helped bring about (toppling a regime is one thing, but rebuilding a new one is another entirely), but even so this initial trilogy was done well. There’s enough left open-ended to be realistic but more importantly enough loose-ends are tied up to satisfy.
So much happens in these books! So much! How Brown manages to pack so much action, politics, friendship, and more within each book is just astounding and leaves me out of breath each time. I’m not normally a major fan of space-heavy books (perhaps another reason why I enjoyed Red Rising best) and I admit at times the pace moved so quickly and introduced so many new characters that I occasionally got lost or confused and had to backtrack, but even so I can appreciate just how wild a ride it was. I really don’t quite know why but I did struggle with these last two books a bit with keeping everyone and everything straight in my head haha. I don’t normally have such a problem with that but my brain would just totally blank (thank goodness for Wiki/fandom notes!). Anyway, I still enjoyed it.
I always find books with a plot centered around rebellion intriguing not so much for the act itself but for the motivations behind it. To see who fights for what and why. To watch as characters switch sides, struggle to lead or remain impartial, or what tactics they will employ to do either. Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy does an excellent job of untangling these elements with its characters and I can never help but be a touch slack-jawed when I read about their tricks, schemes, and cunning. I’ve never been a major fan of politics, either fictional or real, so my attention would wane whenever those types of scenes took too much of the spotlight, but other than those occasional moments it was all action and all scheming and I loved it haha.
Friendship is another element Brown explores, emphasizes, and holds up in great esteem in this series and it is something I love most about it. It ties back to Darrow really, he was always looking for friends, accepting people and letting them in, and even when some scoffed or resisted it was that unique genuineness that lured them in. It is shown as both a weakness and a strength, but above all it is shown as something that can change worlds. I love it.
When I read the blurb for Red Rising I was instantly intrigued, but upon opening the cover I found myself knocked off my feet only to be winded by Golden Son and slack-jawed with Morning Star. It won’t be for everyone, that much is true of any story, but I’ll recommend it for any with even an inkling of interest in the genre because it’s so much more than that and deserves the recognition it has gained. I’m not going to dive into any specifics or spoilers with this review. I will only say that when the ending comes, you will not be disappointed.
Morning Star is the ending destined from the start. What began as a spark has ignited beyond one vengeful boy and into the hearts of endless fleets and colors willing to give their blood for a better future. Adrenaline and cunning drench the pages as players attempt to outmaneuver one another never quite leaving the Institute games from whence they were trained, but this time it is the fate of a galaxy resting in the balance. Deaths, betrayals, alliances, and schemes so secret they stun await as you embark on this final installment of the epic Red Rising Trilogy. Embrace it and the tears of grief and triumph that come with it.
Purchase Here: Morning Star