Okay. I have a book lined up right now, but I didn't want to start that book until I reviewed the magical Morning Star! It took me a week to finish and now that I have finished, I'm invigorated, touched, happy at the long treat it was, and just need to review it before I read anything else, so here we go!
Morning Star is the last book in the Red Rising trilogy, proceeded by Red Rising and Golden Son. Darrow of Lykos has been captured and betrayed by the Jackal during his Triumph on Luna, the man he was trying to dethrone all along, Augustus, has been slain by his own son, the Jackal, and Cassius, once his friend at the Institute but not anymore, stood above him in utter hate because Darrow killed his brother Julian (because it was a test, not because he wanted to) and he ordered the execution of his family. After being trapped in a box for, you won't believe this, nine months, where his nutrients and waste are sent through needles, a lady who is a devout Son of Ares and her husband Trigg break him out. And apparently, hilarious Sevro, warrior Ragnar (who now gets his dialogue bolded), the tomb raider Victra, and Mustang, are all still alive, but Mustang has gone missing, and Darrow can't help but be concerned because the last time he saw her, she found out he was a Red disguised as a Gold. And the world thinks Darrow is dead because of the execution of a boy who looked like him and died only because he did. And all the Reds in general are in danger and are hard to keep under control and out of danger as well. And now the army believes the Jackal may have large amounts of helium, rocket fuel, and other space travel necessities in his care. After a full year of imprisonment, can Darrow get back on his feet? Can he stay the hero his late wife always wanted him to be when he has to make choices of who lives and who dies? Can he handle another betrayal?
The first Red Rising was a big surprise, very brutal and very insane and somehow had a lot to promise in the next two books. I was actually close to not recommending it but the way I cared about Darrow and Cassius and the heat I felt at the end, as well as the twist-up in the genre of fighting to the death, I picked up the next book and the ending was enough to make me tremble in fear and excitement. Both of those books had better second-halfs than first-halfs. Morning Star takes everything in the Red Rising to the final universe so gallantly and fiercely that the long 500 pages are more delight than annoyance. I was never annoyed at the time it took to complete this book, and whenever there's a chapter used to catch our breath and remind ourselves how delicate these characters are, almost never are we bored and annoyed.
Red Rising and Golden Son didn't only have buildups to the big heart-pounding conclusion. No. They kept the sword clashes, mud fights, star wars, no pun intended, and breakout missions coming. In Morning Star, they are at their peak, as if we are on the star of action itself. There are bombardments of ships, fights with even within the Reds, crashes onto different planets, cannibals, prison breaks, even a moment where our heroes are flying through space - without masks. Why is it that there hasn't yet been a Star Wars movie that lets us know what it feels like to be in a space vacuum? Pierce Brown did it so well I remembered my cheeks inflating when I got my wisdom teeth out and could almost remember the strange sizzles I sometimes brought upon them when I pressed down. Gross, right?
One thing I had with this series was there was sometimes an overabundance of guests at the war table. There were times in the series where I asked, "Who's Lorn? Who's Octavia? Who's Lysander again? Is Antonia good or bad?" This time, after two books where the characters have both done some nasty things, pretty much everyone has a basic description of what they are like. The funny thing about this series is with all the action, we sometimes don't have time to visualize some of these people. And the action is not passable, either. I just recently tried to read another book that was only 300 pages long and much shorter in page size and larger in font size and I put it down. I couldn't shake the feels and leisure I got at being a part of the Red Rising adventures and needed to write this review first.
In Golden Son, Tactus had personal trouble with who he was in the war. Now, Sevro has turned from a relaxed bro-bro to a war monger who feels the necessity for elimination, which leads to a conflict between him and Darrow that was breaking me, especially for a nobel act Sevro pulls off just for him, adding to the fact that this change made him expect more of Darrow. I was worried this element would turn Sevro into a Teresa in the second Maze Runner but it actually goes the best and most action packed way possible. Sevro's not the only one who's changed. So has Roque, only because of his constant love for the Golds. The main characters end up shining so much this time around, or maybe after the tremendous Golden Son I really started paying attention, but because these characters develop and Pierce Brown uses suspenseful action in order to do so, the pages are big but you flip through them and you don't care about this being a big book. Even the character tragedies are beautiful because of some of the final words.
So how many adventures are there in this book? I've actually lost count, which has never happened in a book before. Well, except maybe The Fury. Good luck writing a book like that. What I love about Golden Son and Morning Star the most is they are roller coaster rides with immediate launches, not long chain lifts.
The only things that I think don't quite fit is this one scene where the Reds execute several of the Golds. It seemed sort of out of character. There's also a character death that seems too early. And there's this moment in the mountains when Darrow and Ragnar are intercepting two characters. On the same page, they say two characters can't tell themselves apart through their hoods and same body shape but he then says he estimates which one is Cassius because he's apparently bigger. And Pierce Brown played with my emotions with one grammar mistake in particular. He made me think Sevro killed this major character and it nearly made me put my grade down all the way to 2 or 2 and a half. It's a character I really care about. But then this character is not dead. Still, I swear, Pierce Brown wrote "______ dies under the mob". Thank goodness it doesn't end up like that or else I would've gone to liking to hating Sevro instantly. Then the book brings a twist I don't think anyone will see coming. I was actually hoping for this twist when part one of it came but I wasn't entirely sure and was holding on for dear life under the very very end, because Morning Star's last few chapters are impossible to put down.
The more I talk about the Red Rising trilogy, the more I want to start all over again. It would probably take me about a month...I remember Red Rising said "You will bloodydamn love this novel." Though I didn't love the first instalment, I do bloodydamn love the series as a whole. If you want a book or book series that's long, makes your mouthbones chatter and definitely isn't for starters, I recommend the Red Rising trilogy ginormously, and you have Morning Star to thank the most for that. I have series that I like more than this one, but after Morning Star, that's not the right way to look at this series at all.