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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Science fiction, dystopia
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: February 9th, 2016

Series:  Red Rising, #3

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

"Rise so high, in mud you lie" is taken to new levels in this final volume of the trilogy.

Betrayed by his friend Roque and the twisted machinations of the Jackal, our hero Darrow au Andromedus is taken captive while many of his allies are left for dead. [Darrow was actually kept in an eight foot stone table for nine months with tech to keep him alive and subjected to private torture sessions by the Jackal. Doesn't this sound like the lowest of the low?] A broken Victra au Julii is captive with him. In a secret mission Darrow is rescued. And Darrow insists Victra be rescued too, as she was only broken because of her strong loyalty to him. Even at the end of the massacre where she's crawling with spinal gunshot wounds, she only cared about Darrow knowing she had no part in the betrayal. Upon his return, Darrow finds a much different Sons of Ares, fitting because he himself is much changed. Sevro leads the Sons, and since his father's death, he's hell-bent on retribution and machiavellian elimination of his enemies.

Since Darrow's absence, the highColor rebellion -- led by Mustang, the Telemanuses and the Arcos clan -- and the lowColor rebellion -- led by Sevro and the Sons of Ares -- has permanently splintered into two different factions. Darrow is largely believed to be dead, though, and in his new state, is unfit to lead. It's definitely a new dynamic, him coming to depend on Sevro as Sevro once depended on him. Darrow must once again prove his readiness to lead, and this comes with some honest confessions and reckonings. It's another way Darrow comes full circle with his Red self. In Red Rising, he was the lowest of the low, broken, and brought high. In Golden Son, he's not as high as he thinks he is, is taken down a peg or two, and must figure out how to grow up in his new environment of politicos or make them dance to his tune. Here, Darrow is once again dependent and helpless, thanks to the Jackal, and Sevro and his friends have to build him up again. But Darrow doesn't have the same will, the same confidence, the same recklessness. Instead, his betrayal and new perspective have made him a bit wiser. [Don't expect his overconfidence and subpar communication to stop being his Achilles heel, however!]

Once Darrow and Victra are following Sevro's lead, Darrow tries to toe the line, but when they encounter Mustang and the Telemanuses again and he sees the unforgiving choices Sevro makes, he realizes the only thing that ever held them together was him. Therefore, only he can bridge the gap. It nearly gets them all killed, but it breaks Darrow out of leadership paralysis and, with a little encouragement, Sevro out of his raging grief [think fiery raging grief--one that destroys everything even as it tries to protect rather than hotheaded and heartbreaking tears]. With Darrow and Sevro equals again, their quest against the Jackal brings them new allies and a deal with Mustang.

At the very end of the last novel, Darrow had shared the truth of his Red background to his lady love, and she fled. Now, she promises to show him her loyalty even while he must show her that he can choose not to burn everything down as he remakes Society. It's a fascinating deal, and we don't learn the real reasons why, the outcome of the deal, or the significance Mustang's absence for a year and a half, until the very end of this book. [Did you guess why?! I did upon first reading!] If you recall, she did something similar in her relationship with Cassius...

We also see more of the world in this novel as Darrow travels to Phobos [one of Mars' moons], the unknown Rim [Jupiter and its moons plus the rest of that side of the galaxy], and Luna again.

The most heartbreaking part here is the loss of Ragnar. I still can't get over it. [Rest in Valhalla, Ragnar.]  After this upsetting end, the destruction of the Obsidians' "gods" are much welcome humor, even if it doesn't ever make up for his death.

The ending is epic, but did you expect anything less? I miss those twists every time I read even though I know what's going to happen. Like the last novel, this one is hard to explain in a summary, and you're just carried away by the rapid plot events. Sometimes trilogies are bleh. This one? 5 stars all the way around. Every bloodydamn time.

Can't WAIT to see what the new Iron Gold has in store! (I'm a third of the way through at this posting!)

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.


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