Book Review

Morning Star

Morning Star

  • Author: Pierce Brown
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2016
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Series: Red Rising Saga #3

TRIGGER WARNING: torture, substance use, mass killing, gore, suicide

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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 scruples 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.

This series is ruining my life. When I’m reading one of these books, I don’t want to do literally anything but read. I don’t want to cook, sleep, shower, work on anything, I just want to find out what happens next! Pierce Brown has written an incredibly absorbing series that I find impossible to put down until my eyes close (against my will). 

After the shocking cliffhanger ending of Golden Son, I obviously had to jump into this book immediately. It’s dark. It’s gory. It’s absolutely packed with action and a ton of plot twists that I could never have predicted in a million years. I never knew what to expect and who was really on which side, or who could truly be trusted, outside of a select few I was sure of. And there were some deaths that absolutely broke my heart. I’m not ashamed to say that this book made me cry … more than once. 

Darrow goes through things that would have broken most people, but he’s a man with a strong sense of purpose, and he’s motivated by internal factors but also by the people who rely on him. 

“I am and always have been a man who is made complete by those around him.”

Now that Darrow’s secret is out, he doesn’t have to hide who he is from the people around him. However, not everyone accepts him — it’s hard to overcome  the conditioning associated with hundreds of years of a Color-based caste society. But if anyone can help to break down these barriers, it’s Darrow:

“‘We are not Red, not Blue or Gold or Gray or Obsidian. We are humanity. We are the tide. And today we reclaim the lives that have been stolen from us. We build the future we were promised.’”

Darrow’s experiences in life, as a Red and a Gold, all of the challenges he has faced, and the obstacles that he has overcome make him not only incredibly self-aware, but also amazingly insightful when it comes to seeing things around him clearly. He wages war against the Society, fully aware of the cost:

“In war, men lose what makes them great. Their creativity. Their wisdom. Their joy. All that’s left is their utility. War is not monstrous for making corpses of men so much as it is for making machines of them.”

Fortunately, he’s got a select few people that he surrounds himself with who help him hold onto his humanity, even when he’s facing the darkest days of his entire life. They don’t hold back, they ask him the hard questions, they tell it like it is, and they hold him accountable for his actions. 

“Without her I could face my enemies, but I would not hold on to so much of my self. I would be darker. More wrathful. I count my blessings that I have people like her to which I can tether my spirit.”

“‘Aren’t you afraid you’re going to break everything and not be able to put it back together?’”

I love how the series is broken up into two trilogies, and this one wrapped up the first trilogy beautifully. I know the story isn’t over, and I’m really excited to see where the story goes from here. But I’m going to make sure that I don’t have anything going on and I can devote all the time I’ll need to finish the entire book without feeling as though I’m neglecting anything.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 27

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