Title: Morning Star
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Saga, #3
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: February 11th 2016
#1 New York Times bestseller. Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.
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 honour 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After his triumph ended in bloodshed, ended with the deaths of his friends and Darrow’s betrayal at the hands of Roque and Jackal, Darrow has been left in the darkness with nothing but his own mind going over and over the mistakes he made. Darrow lost the war, the truth that he was nothing more than a Red masquerading as a Gold has been revealed and he lost everything, including Eo’s dream.
The story opens with Darrow in a very dark place. He’s been captured and for the past nine months he’s known nothing but the darkness of the hole Jackal buried him in. There’s a way out, Darrow just has to give up, but he refuses to give Jackal that satisfaction. Unlike Red Rising and Golden Son this was the first time I picked up Morning Star, and holy god this book was incredible. This review is going to be pretty much me gushing about how amazing the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy was.
I’m not going to go into too much detail when it comes to the plot, simply because I don’t want to risk spoiling anything for anyone. After Darrow escapes from Jackal (I don’t really consider that a spoiler, how would there be a story if Darrow didn’t manage to escape?) he’s back with the Sons of Ares but after spending a year in captivity Darrow isn’t sure if he can be the leader they need. Having lost Mars to Jackal there’s so much Darrow needs to fight for, and he’s not giving up. Even if he has to tear society down to nothing he’s going to achieve the dream Eo died for.
Morning Star was everything I wanted from the last book in the trilogy and more. I was terrified for the characters I loved so much, and at one point I was so shocked that I was tempted to throw my Kindle across a crowded train, (I managed to refrain myself, simply because I needed to know what happened next). Morning Star has more action, more danger, more incredible characters and incredible relationships. It was un-put-down-able and I never wanted it to end.
Darrow has lost everything, and his year spent at the mercy of Jackal has broken him. He no longer has his faith and he can’t fight for Eo’s dream now he knows what he stands to lose. Before Darrow would throw himself into the heart of every battle, believing that if he died he would see his loved ones in the Vale, but he no longer believes in the Vale and it changes him. Darrow is left unsure, lost, and his friends can all see that change in him.
He’s still an incredibly developed character, and I think his fracturing in this book made him an even better character. There was no way he could come out of what happened at the end of Golden Son unchanged, and his time with Jackal gave him a new perspective on the war he’s fighting. Darrow is still a natural leader, still incredibly intelligent and adapt at manipulating his foes in order to have them play into his hands, and I loved seeing that part of his personality come back further into the book.
My favourite character in this book, and possibly the whole series, was Sevro. He’s been at Darrow’s side since the very beginning and is wholly loyal to him. When Darrow was captured Sevro took leadership over the Sons of Ares, keeping the rebellion and Eo’s dream alive, and even when everyone else believed Darrow was dead Sevro never gave up on him, he kept searching for where Jackal was keeping Darrow.
I feel like in the first two books the friendship between Darrow and Sevro was more of a leader/follower relationship. They were friends but Darrow always had that extra authority over Sevro, that changes in Morning Star and the two become equals which only makes their friendship stronger. Like Darrow Sevro isn’t sure what he’s doing, but also like Darrow he learns from his mistakes and from his past. Both are strong leaders, but in different ways.
The relationships Darrow has with the people around him are what makes him so strong, makes him able to fight for what he knows is right. His relationship with Mustang remains unchanged, still just as solid as when they were working together in the Institute. No matter what the two know the other’s mind and word incredibly well together. We see more of Darrow’s family in this book, which I loved, and there’s also so many incredible friends, both old and new, who make appearances throughout this book.
I thought it would be hard to top the setting of the second book, which opened up the world created in Red Rising and took us from Earth to Luna to Mars and all over space as Darrow fought for the ArchGovernor of Mars, but in Morning Star we go even further. With Darrow we travel all the way to the Rim made up of the outer planets and the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. There’s a whole other war being fought between the Rim and the Sovereign, a war Darrow plans to use for his own fight. We also discover more about Ragnar’s people, the Obsidians, Darrow’s people, and all the colours in between. Morning Star takes the world that was started in Red Rising, built upon in Golden Son, and ran with it in this final book of the trilogy.
After the ending of Golden Son and after what I’d heard people saying about Morning Star my expectations were sky high, but Pierce Brown more than lived up to them in this final book of the trilogy. Everything about Morning Star; the plot, the characters, the world building, was incredibly written and developed. I was hooked, I couldn’t read this fast enough but at the same time I never wanted it to end.
One reason I am glad I waited so long to start Morning Star, and to re-read this whole trilogy, is that now I don’t have too long to wait until the release of Iron Gold.
What did you think of Morning Star? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.