Title: Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)
Author: Pierce Brown
Published: September 2016
I would recommend reading further only if you have already read Golden Son (Red Rising, #2).
Summary: Darrow is broken. He is weak, helpless, vulnerable, and losing himself. He doubts his abilities and his place in the uprising against the Society. He must find himself again. They need him. The battle of good vs. evil, the Sons of Ares vs. the Society continues on in spectacular fashion. It becomes more and more difficult for Darrow to wage a war with a code of morals and ethics when his opponents are ruthless and without mercy.
Thoughts: This final installation in the Red Rising trilogy (although it has been extended with the new trilogy addition beginning with Iron Gold’s recent release) is also the longest, clocking in at more than 500 pages. Admittedly, this one took a bit for me to get through. Long books do not scare me, but I had a hard time getting through this one, not for it being an uninteresting or poorly written book, but rather because I was hella busy and there were a lot of battle scenes in this one that felt monotonous at times. So much happened in this book, mainly via battles of some magnitude. This book would probably have gotten a five star rating like the other two if Pierce Brown had just chosen his battles more wisely (pun intended and nailed). It was sensory overload and the impact of fighting and winning/losing battles in the war was diminished when every chapter brought a new one. Other than that, this book continued with Pierce’s compelling tale of good vs. evil, humanity vs. ruthlessness.
Darrow is such a great character, one that had been solidified in my book as one of my favorite heroes before even beginning this third book, but this book made him rise in my esteem even further if possible. He strikes such a delicate balance of being a strong leader without losing touch with valuing those that follow him and those he wages war against. Although he doubts it sometimes, his ability to continue to love and trust those around him even after being betrayed time and again was inspiring. I was feeling paranoid on his behalf any time he gave his trust to someone, no matter how close they are to him. The end of this book had made fuming. I was so angry at the turn the story takes in the last bit of the book that I couldn’t fall asleep, but didn’t want to pick the book back up for fear of what the pages had in store for Darrow. The mere fact that I was so enraged by the contents of those pages speaks volumes to how connected Pierce Brown draws you to be with the characters in his books. I felt as though the incident had been committed against me and felt my stomach dropping with helplessness. It was a very intense response from me, one I can’t say many books have achieved.
As I have said in previous reviews, this series is exceptional and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. It is unpredictable and filled with feeling. There are characters you will love with your whole heart and characters you hate, but even the characters you hate are given dimension enough that you can’t help but have some sympathy for their misdirection in life. I am going to take a bit of a Red Rising break for now before I dive into Iron Gold because my heart can’t take anymore, but I will definitely be back for more. I recommend this series wholeheartedly.