As I predicted since Red Rising, this is another new entry to my favorite series of all time list and definitely the best Sci-Fi series I ever read. I read the whole trilogy within 9 days even though I have a full time job to attend to, I even sacrificed my sleeping hours to read during these periods and guess what? It’s bloodydamn worth it. Morning Star gave a hugely satisfying and beautiful ending to the trilogy while at the same time leaving some things for the future trilogy of this series.
I mentioned this in my Red Rising & Golden Son review and it won’t stop me from mentioning it again. THIS SERIES IS NOT FOR YA.
It’s completely geared toward adults and everything in it is written like one, it contained a lot of harsh languages, gory scenes and it only gets darker as the series progressed. The story is dark, there are hints of rape and cannibalism throughout the series. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend someone younger than 16 to read this trilogy but enough about that, let’s start with the review.
The plot remains true to the direction from Golden Son, which means it’s still done with the genre of Sci-Fi and Space Opera in mind compared to Red Rising which were Sci-Fi & Dystopia. The plot is unpredictable, still full of great action scenes, betrayal, politics and bloodbath. The pacing of Morning Star is a bit slower this time and I honestly prefer the pacing of Golden Son where it was perfect for the series imo. However, it’s truly understandable, after the roller-coaster and all the shits that happened in Golden Son plus with everything build up from the first book, it’s obvious that there are a lot of things to settle in the last book to close the story and that results in slower pacing compared to its predecessor.
The main theme of the series itself as Pierce Brown himself said had always been about gaining the strength to fight what you can’t control, to overcome oppression but to never lose sight of the most important aspect of our life which is loyalty, friendship, family and love. There isn’t a better way really to describe the theme of the book rather than hearing it from the author himself. Here is an excerpt from his interview:
"Whatever you’re told, being an adult doesn’t mean you have control. No matter the power you have, the money you make, the age you become, we all feel a little bit at the mercy of something else --- the government, banks, chance, illness, our bosses etc. That’s what Darrow is dealing with in RED RISING, the fact that any control he thinks he has over his own life is a mirage. But he does not despair. Instead he decides to break the chains and live for more. He sets out to create his own future.
Fact is, we don’t have complete control over our lives. Never have, never will. That’s ok. The point is, rather, to take control over the parts of our life that we can and live those parts in precisely the way we want. That is living for more and that is what Darrow is fighting for. What’s more, writing inspired me to find my own strength."
And personally, this is why I can connect with Darrow’s story and struggle in the trilogy easily. Another theme that had been there since the 1st book is friendship and that’s really evident here.
“A man thinks he can fly, but he is afraid to jump. A poor friend pushes him from behind.” He looks up at me. “A good friend jumps with.”
Darrow and Sevro remained my favorite characters for the whole series, I find their friendship an absolute pleasure to read and it’s really clear how strong Pierce Brown dives into the theme of friendship in this book from these character with their relationship towards each other and every other important characters, friends or foes.
The wide variety of characters, their development and their story are delightful to read. Darrow was 16 years old in Red Rising and he's 23 in Morning Star, the whole story took 7 years and you bet there's a lot of developments happening to all the characters. Personally, I prefer Darrow's personality in Golden Son but how he is in Morning Star really fits the story.
For the superbly written protagonists and antagonists, their journey finds closure here, some will live, some will die and that imo is a great thing. Look, no matter how much I love a character, I need them to have a sense of urgency in what they’re fighting for. I want and need to feel that they’re not protected by "author’s immortality barrier” like a lot of manga and movies did. I need to feel that what they’re fighting for could truly cost their lives and their actions will always have repercussions, especially in stories that deals with war and vengeance.
“Shit escalates” –Sevro au Barca
It’s war for god sake, no matter how kind or great a character is, that shouldn’t mean they’re safe from death. If a character died for a good cause and I feel sad or angry about it, that’s bloodydamn good. It means the author succeeded in making me emotionally invested in the characters, not to mention it makes the story more unpredictable. Like Brandon Sanderson, GRRM and other great authors imo, Pierce Brown is not afraid to kill off his characters if necessary and I personally find that a really great trait every story writer should have, not only in books but in all form of medium.
Other than the first 50 pages of book 1 where there’s a lot of info dump, World-building improve consistently until the end of Morning Star. There are a lot of beautiful planets, culture, dystopian hierarchy, unique devices and weapons to this universe. However, I strongly recommend to binge read this series or at least don’t wait too long between each installment. I’m not kidding it will improve your experience a lot more. There are a LOT of names and terminology to remember, even as I binge read the trilogy, I have to think hard sometimes on some of the terms used since there are so many to remember.
Writing remained impeccable since the beginning until the end. Poignant, poetic, dark, full of love, humor, beauty, rage, violence, hatred, etc. These made every scene vivid and connectable plus the epic climax sequences were really well done. From the epic Space Warfare, the plot twists and the beautiful conclusion, everything is written suitably and it’s what makes the trilogy really work for my taste. It’s safe to say Pierce Brown really satisfied my Sci-Fi urges with his writings and stories.
I’m beyond happy to have chosen this trilogy as the first series I read in 2017. This trilogy is formed with Red Rising as its foundation, Golden Son as its climax and Morning Star as its conclusion. Morning Star managed to conclude the trilogy beautifully and everything I wanted to happen in the end did happen in this book, some are done even beyond my expectation. There isn’t a lot of series I will re-read in the future, so far only Mistborn & Stormlight Archive are in my list but this is definitely another trilogy I’ll re-read again. I’m really emotionally invested in it, I love this trilogy with all my heart and I bloodydamn can’t wait for you to experience this trilogy for yourself.
Overall trilogy review
Red Rising: 4.5/5 Stars
Golden Son: 5/5 Stars
Morning Star: 5/5 Stars
Red Rising trilogy: 14.5/15 Stars
Per aspera, ad astra