Title: Morning Star
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
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. Review:
Wow. Wow. Wow. This book. This series. This author. The Red Rising Saga has officially made it into my top five favorite book series of all time. The writing is superb, the complex characters are unforgettable, and the plot twists are jaw dropping.
Plot: Original. Let me say that again. Brown has created an original story. I tire of reading the same plot with the same characters disguised as a new title. Thankfully, author Brown didn’t follow that trend. In the third installment of the Red Rising Saga, author Pierce Brown weaves an eloquent and brutal tapestry of heartbreaking themes. Betrayal litters the pages, questioning every character’s loyalty to Darrow. The pacing is fantastic. It ebbs and flows with the perfect amount of breathing room after heart-thumping action sequences. Though Brown guides you effortlessly through the galaxy, Morning Star is not for those who struggle with extravagant world-building. The cast of characters is long, and the complexity of the different planets is dense. As a writer, I have learned valuable tips and tricks from the talented Pierce Brown. Now, I will say this. The biggest plot twist was a gut-wrenching scene. I never saw it coming and neither did Darrow, or so I thought. Pages later, you discover that this horrible incident was planned by the Reaper and his pals all along, something I struggled to comprehend. Why? Because the book is written in first person present tense. If the protagonist has a secret, the reader has a right to know. Darrow expressed every emotion throughout the book, but suddenly withheld information so the author could trick the reader into thinking his beloved characters were all in grave danger. Hmm. Is this cheating? Perhaps. This is why I docked a star from my rating. Brown wanted the reader to feel a deep anguish, which I did, but once you discover the ruse, the shock value diminishes, transforming into irritation.
Characters: Darrow, Servo, Mustang, Cassius, Ragnar, the Jackal…the list goes on and on. The characters Brown created don’t linger in your mind after reading, they stay imprinted forever. The emotional connection I felt toward these brave, morally grey, loyal, and twisted souls rattled me in the way literature should. Brown’s cast is deeply flawed. Their internal struggles are relatable, even though they live in a fictional world.
Writing: Pierce Brown is my new gold standard author. His ability to create vivid details without boring fluff had me taking notes. His dialogue is never forced. It flows naturally. He varies his sentence structure, uses vocabulary that elevates his literature without sounding pretentious, and leaves you wanting more and more of the characters and worlds he created.
Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough about Morning Star, the third book in the Red Rising Trilogy. It hit every mark for epic science fiction. Writers, I encourage you to read Pierce Brown’s work if you want to improve your own writing.
Triggers/Warnings: graphic violence, adult language
Escapism Factor: 5/5
Emotional Connection: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Completed Read: November 2021