Friday, 4 March 2016

'Morning Star', by Pierce Brown

Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
Author(s): Pierce Brown
Release Date: 11th February 2016
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher

Synopsis:
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.

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{Review of 'Red Rising'}       {Review of 'Golden Son'}

{Note: This review contains spoilers from 'Golden Son'}

After the incredibly surprising ending of 'Golden Son', you can say I was really, really looking forward to picking up this book. And it definitely did not disappoint!

The last few pages of the second installment in this trilogy were pretty much the dropping of an atomic bomb on any and all theories regarding where this story was going. Everything is going well and dandy when bam, Ares' head is literally served to Darrow in what must be the biggest betrayal in fictional history since a certain Red Wedding.

How does an uprising survive without its leader? How will Darrow get back on his feet after being so close to victory only to have it snatched away by someone he considered a friend?

How will I get to the end of this book without bawling like a little girl?

'Morning Star' answers all of these questions (well, maybe not the last one) in the brilliant fashion that Pierce Brown is the master of: he pulls his characters away from the edge of the knife time and time again when you think there is no way they can save themselves from the mess they're in.

For someone that works without outlines, he sure seems to enjoy writing himself into corners. And giving his readers heart attacks.

'Morning Star' begins just like 'Golden Son': with a time jump. This time, a year has passed since the (awfully traumatizing) death of Fitchner, the leader of the Sons of Ares. I was curious to see how much the group would be able to stay together and keep working towards their goal without such a symbolic figure, and I got just what I wanted. It did surprise me when Darrow was not the one taking his place (he was too busy getting tortured by a certain one handed asshole), but in the end I ended up preferring what actually happened. It brought along conflict, character development, and seeing sides of characters that so far hadn't had a chance to shine.

Throughout the book there are, again, several instances when Darrow in blindsided by betrayal following his attempts to allow people close to his heart. It did become frustrating to see such an intelligent character falling foe to the same mistake over and over again but, fortunately, redemption came along. Tears of joy came out of me when that scene happened. Mostly because I was in denial regarding a certain character possibly being dead (you'll know when you get there), but also due to the fact I am an absolute sucker for characters taking advantage of what others think of them to pull a win on those fools. Bravo, Darrow. You can learn after all!

Speaking of character deaths, this is probably the most brutal book out of the trilogy in that aspect. Fitchner was one of my favorite characters and it did hit me hard, but 'Morning Star' is overall way worse. Pierce Brown doesn't seem to have a problem in dropping people left and right like he is a George R.R. Martin in training. It doesn't, however, feel like they are deaths just for the sake of death and shock factor, but you can find a reasoning behind them all, sooner or later. As much as it hurts to see some people go, this is war and victory does not come without casualties.

The last stretch of this book was like riding a roller coaster without a seat belt on while high on caffeine. Blindfolded. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and for once I just let myself dive in and enjoy the ride, as crazy as it was. As I was reading the book it was announced that Pierce will be writing a new trilogy set ten years after 'Morning Star', so I knew that while offering a satisfying conclusion, it also had to leave somewhat of an opening to explore in the future.

It's like that picture of Chris Evans sweeping the set of 'The Avengers' dressed as Captain America. After the war, someone has to clean that mess up.

Finishing with a bang that I really did not see coming, this series has won a place in my podium of favorite books of all time and I will recommend it to anyone and everyone until my dying breath. I cannot wait for the 'Iron Gold' trilogy to develop on the repercussions of everything that has come to pass in these books and for my heart to repeatedly be broken again. Because knowing Pierce Brown, I'm sure that will be a thing.

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