Morning Star: A Book Review

“If this is the end, I will rage toward it.”

Book: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)

Author: Pierce Brown

 

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)

Blurb: 

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.

My thoughts: 

After the ending of Golden Son, what were we supposed to think? I was fairly sure Darrow was screwed. But of course, that didn’t happen because you knew there was one book left over in the series.

Holy fuck! This book takes place a year after the last book ended. Even if you can’t do the math, the book reminds you that Darrow has been tortured for 12 months. Understandably,  at the end, he’s more cynical and defeated.
To be honest, I missed the Darrow who was playing a practical joke on the rest of the world, naively brave and good. But this is what you sacrifice when you read a well-written book: Your characters change. Darrow’s always been a nuanced, complex and troubled. But he’s also emotionally immature and unstable. In this book he does a lot of growing up. He’s still not perfect. There were several times in the book that I wanted to slap him and tell him to get over himself.  Somewhere in between the two books, halfway between the starvation and the use of the sharp implements, Darrow’s grown less idealistic. He’s grown up and finishes up the last stage of grieving by admitting that Eo wasn’t perfect. That admirable thing he did in the last two books where he went out of his way to preserve every single life? Gone. In this book, Darrow’s playing a game on a grander scheme and he’s willing to sacrifice a couple of thousand lives (and does accidentally kill off several million people).

The secondary characters in this book are no less fleshed out. Minerva’s still the cool, calculating general. Her brother, Jackal is the main villain of this piece (no surprise, right?) to my utter disappointment; I seem to have a thing for book-psychos.

“This is always how the story would end,” he says to me. “Not with your screams. Not with your rage. But with your silence.”

Sevro’s one of the characters to change the most. Still potty-mouthed and funny, he’s become more serious as the leader of the Sons of Ares. He’s still rash, but he has a certain gravity which is inspiring to see (even through the pages of a book). 

“A man thinks he can fly, but he is afraid to jump. A poor friend pushes him from behind.” He looks up at me. “A good friend jumps with.”

But the part I love most about this book has to be the world-building. No detail has been missed and I’m willing to bet that Pierce Brown has a document 1000’s of pages long about the Red Rising World. From the social structure to the description of inventions, everything is on point. The Red Rising World is my idol for World Building. 

I am so glad that the long wait for the last book of the series is over. Morning Star was everything I hoped for and more. I can’t say much more without seriously spoiling things, but I would recommend this series (and by extension) this book. The pressing question on my mind now is: What’s next? 

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Quotables:

“In war, men lose what makes them great. Their creativity. Their wisdom. Their joy. All that’s left is their utility.”

“Forget a man’s name and he’ll forgive you. Remember it, and he’ll defend you forever.”

“What is pride without honor? What is honor without truth? Honor is not what you say. It is not what you read. Honor is what you do.”

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Red Rising: A Book Review

Book: Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)

Blurb:

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

My thoughts:

Any sci-fi fans out there? Any dystopian fans?
If you’re anyone of these, you’re going to love this book.
With absolutely no emphasis placed on worldbuilding (despite the amazing and complicated world that Pierce has created) you’re going to be thrown in head-first, just like Darrow is.
What happens when you find out that your whole world- no, your whole universe is a lie?
If you’re Darrow, then you infiltrate the upper echelons of the liars to bring out their hypocrisy and to snag their power. And you lie your ass off.

After his wife is executed, the only thing Darrow wants is revenge. The Sons of Ares transform him physically from a lowly Red to an upper-caste Gold. As he enters an institution to turn Gold born children into war-machines, space ship commanders and all-around masters of the universe, he’s thrown into a very dangerous game (modelled after life) where he’s forced to kill, to lead and to betray.

And as he forms strong friendships with his enemies-the Gold, he struggles with his own identity.
His own sense of communism is offended by how many liberties he and his friends take- but at the same time, he knows these liberties are the only things which allow him to survive.

This book deals with people. How to lead people, how to betray people and how to trick people. Darrow is a strong main character prone to flashes of anger and somewhat naïve at the beginning. The supporting characters- his wife, Mustang, Trey, Julian, Caleb, Roque, etc. are fleshed out character with real ambitions, real friendship and real betrayals.

The writing in this book is stupendous. Sometimes crude, sometimes flowery- always powerful.

Pick this book up and you’ll have 382 pages of action, violence and drama.
This dystopia is better than the Hunger Games and more exhilarating than Divergent. Read it.

Overall Rating: 4/5


Quotables:

“Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.”

“ ‘I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.’
‘I live for you,’ I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. ‘Then you must live for more.’ ”

“Personally, I do not want to make you a man. Men are so very frail. Men break. Men die. No, I’ve always wished to make a god.”

“Promises are just chains,” she rasps. “Both are meant for breaking.”