Morning Star (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown

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Actual rating : 9/10

Morning Star is a praiseworthy finale to the first Red Rising trilogy! It had it all: heart-crashing scenes, fast, unpredictable plot, a world ever expanding and incredibly well developed and touching characters.

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

There was a rare intensity to this series. Something in the writing and in the atmosphere that keeps sucking you up, entirely. And then, when you close the books for the time being, it throws you back into a blander reality, fearing for some character, laughing at some absurd banter or crying your heart out for a failed mission or a lost fight. The plot went in unexpected directions and the actions scenes were incredible, interspersed with space battles (fewer than in GS!), military tactics, politics, diplomatic parleys and inflamed speeches.

The tension was ceaseless and almost unbearable. The ever-present sense of danger will keep you turning the pages (even though you’re supposed to go back to work or just call it a night), expecting a dagger (or in this case, a razor!) in the back at any moment. The temptation to look at the end of some chapters was real, believe me!!


Break the chains!
Amazing fanart by phantomrin

 

The characters were extremely well shaped (despite the story being told solely from Darrow’s POV) and Brown managed to give them all a certain closure, despite the series not being over yet. I finally warmed up to Darrow in Morning star. I absolutely loved the development he underwent throughout the series, and especially in this book. Darrow was no hero, but no anti-hero either. He was too complex to fit in either category. I loved his introspection and the fact that he took the time to really put things in perspective and understand why he did the things he did and the way he did them. His is a hard, tortuous path, one demanding sacrifices and questionable decisions and I loved the way he embraced that destiny. Here was a character more real, more dedicated and more driven than a lot of people I know in real life!

“I thought being a man was having control. Being the master and commander of your own destiny. How could any boy know that freedom is lost the moment you become a man. Things start to count. To press in. Constricting slowly, inevitably, creating a cage of inconveniences and duties and deadlines and failed plans and lost friends.”

 

In essence, this book was about friendship and family, about the strength and determination and motivation they breathe into us. Brown emphasized the good through the bad and the corrupted: He celebrated hope when all was dark and hopeless and he celebrated friendship and love, though betrayal was an ever present theme. What makes this series so beautiful and impactful for me, is that Pierce Brown embedded powerful themes and messages into it, besides the epic scope and glorious battles.

“Everything is cracked, everything is stained except the fragile moments that hang crystalline in time and make life worth living.”

 

Lastly, I need to insist on a point I didn’t discuss up to now. THIS IS NOT YA! If this is labeled YA, I think we shouldn’t bother with content rating anymore (Please check my friend Mischenko’s interesting discussion about YA and content rating on her fantastic blog)!! What with the gruesome deaths and dark themes (rape, torture, mutilation, cannibalism…) it featured, this series is definitely not suited to a young audience. 

 

Conclusion
The Red Rising series was one of my most anticipated reads this year. And the ride was oh so worth the wait!! I’m no Sci-Fi reader, and I don’t think I’ll dive into this genre much in the future. But this series is definitely a must read (I already started hassling my friends and family over giving it a shot)! Because of its vivid, real characters. Because of its dark and thought-provoking themes and messages. And because of the intense emotions it will arouse in you!

Review by Haïfa.

Red in September, 2017.

12 thoughts on “Morning Star (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown

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  1. Fantastic review and totally agree that it’s not Y-A so high praise for pointing that out.😀 It’s very tiresome that people label books like this Y-A, they did it with Nevernight and Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff too. It’s like, hell no! Just because the character is young it doesn’t make a book Y-A. Especially not with the other content like gore, visceral blood letting, swearing, sex, etc that seems to be ignored just so they can label it Y-A.

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    1. Thank you Drew!! I totally agree!! And it’s pretty annoying. Darrow may have started his tale at 16 (but with a life experience and endurance of a 30-year old) but the world he was born into is pretty brutal and harsh and all the gory fights and deaths gruesome details are absolutely not suited to very young readers. Did you read Red Sister, by Mark Lawrence? Now that was a book featuring a 8-year old main protagonist and I’d fight anyone claiming that’s an YA book!!

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      1. I have read Red Sister, I’m a massive Mark Lawrence fan and loved it and yeah, you’re right about it! No way is it Y-A. I remember seeing a few people stating that it was Y-A when it was released. Though, it’s tame compared to Nevernight! Both are very similar, young female MC, assassin, trained in a school only difference is Red Sister is tame, it’s not Y-A but compared to Nevernight it is!😂 The worst bit is that if you try and tell some people that a young MC doesn’t make a book Y-A they hate on you!😂

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      2. The YA community is pretty ferocious, that way! 😅 but yes, young MC doesn’t justify the YA label! Lol I still need to read Nevernight. Heard mixed things about it. Luna mildly liked it and Eon loved it. I need to give it a go and see for myself! Thanks for rekindling my interest for it (Eon’s review of Godsgrave gave me a good incentive as well! 😊)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been labeled YA on GR by a fair number of readers! Seriously though, the gore and deaths and mutilations have been going on since book 1 ! It made me think about your post about the content ratings ☺ and you’re welcome dear!!

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  2. I found myself nodding in agreement all throughout your review: there is indeed an *intensity* to this story, such an immersive quality, that it’s quite difficult to go back to the real world once you close the book. And if all YA were like these novels, I’d read a lot more of it! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for you kind comment! 😊 “Immersive”! That’s the word I’ve looking for! I’m happy we felt the same about this series! It was a powerful one to me! ❤

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    1. Hi sweets!! Thank you!
      I saw you couldn’t get past the first chapters in RR! I know the writing is pretty hard to get into at first and isn’t for everyone. I was lucky to get used to it and even like it, super fast! Good luck if you get back to it 😊

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