Review: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown


Title:  Morning Star
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 2/9/16
Length:   550 pages
Series:  Red Rising #3


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.

My Thoughts

I’m actually quite a bit sad right now that this series is over and it’s been a while since i’ve truly been able to say that.  We had been on this complex journey of a group of 20 somethings who were living in a world and time that we can’t even begin to imagine since life was forced onto every other planet and moon in our solar system.

Where we were left off after Golden Son, we saw Darrow’s rise back into a position of power, however after their Iron Rain, and their attempt at taking over control of Mars along with trying to capture the Sovereign and The Jackal and any number of other folks, Darrow finds himself captured and watches some of his best allies die.

So we pick up in Morning Star at a point where we’re uncertain who’s still alive, who’s going to be able to help Darrow if anyone, and what that means for the Rising.  We see the true colors of the Golds come out – by Jackal’s capture and torture of Darrow for the better part of a year, of Victra being paralyzed and really no hope in saving not just themselves but the future for everyone in the system.  It’s only through the smarts of some friends who wouldn’t ever give up, that we see the saving of Darrow and Victra, and a chance to really take back what’s theirs.

Throughout this story, similar to the other installments, we see a series of lies, fake alliances and people turning on one another in unexpected places.  We also see that there’s a fair share of ‘acting’ going on which works to the betterment of Darrow’s plight.

Darrow and Mustang take to the polar caps with Ragnar to overthrow his mother’s reign and we see much more death there than ever expected.  Along with the capture of Cassius, the escape of Aja, we see death come to the Obsidians, and i for one had to take pause because a great friend was lost, but a partnership was formed from that.  We meet Sefi, who becomes the new Queen of the Obsidian, and we see that while she’s not sure she’s going to trust Darrow and crew, she’s going to unite her color in the hopes that something better can come.

They prepare again for a great battle, one that they can’t truly anticipate the outcome since they are continuously being out numbered, out planned, out schemed, and there is always a friend who turns sides that makes things all that more complicated.  Sevro is caught in the middle of what’s supposed to be a friendship being reuinited, and well,  we see that it has horrible outcome, which is even more painful as he’s just married someone unexpected.

Yes, there’s even been a fair share of romance, and to be honest, something that’s happened and revealed in the epilogue that i knew was bound to happen.  To me, there had been the question throughout the first 2 books on whether Darrow would ever let go enough of Eo to love Mustang again, and when he chose to reveal himself as a Red to her, i had truly hoped, but we spend much of this final book wondering if love can bring them back from all that they’ve gone through.  We also see Sevro take a chance and see it pay off.  We also see that the love of family takes an even bigger role, both in real birth family and the family that they built together among friends – and it’s a truly sweet thing to see flourish.

The world that is left at the end of this trilogy is one that no one knows what it will become.  While there were lofty goals that the system of society would be completely changed, only those that remain at the end of all the warring and fighting know that it’s not something that they can change overnight, and that those that passed during the fighting were perhaps some o the people that had the best chance to make an impact.  I’d love to see what this environment would look like decades in the future and i think that our lovely author should write us a novella that takes the jump.  but…i doubt that will happen so i’ll just have to be content with how everything resolved.

have a great weekend everyone!

Review: Golden Son (Red Rising Series #2) by Pierce Brown


Title:  Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 7/7/15
Length:   451 pages
Series:  Red Rising #2


As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

My Thoughts

I LOVE how this series has continued, and i think that there’s a constant question about who’s loyal to whom, what secrets are being kept, and ultimately, who’s going to survive.  I think that at the end of Red Rising, we all had this vision of Darrow moving up the ranks as the Sons of Ares wanted, and of course knowing that it was just the first book, there was going to have to be something drastic happening, and that’s exactly what we get here.

Darrow underestimates some of the folks in the ‘game’ and as a result, his rise to fame then becomes a quick fall to shame.  Partially because of his own issues, but partially because he’s been set up by someone that he knew he couldn’t trust, and someone that’s got the ear of the ArchGovernor.  All that being said, we spend the majority of this book watching as Darrow plots how to get back into power, and gain the trust and respect of others.  At least what he wants them to think that’s what he’s doing while he tries to figure out why Ares hasn’t been in touch, and how he can finish what he’s been tasked to do.

What i like a lot about this book is that typically in 2nd books, bridge books in a series, there’s a lot of middle of the road type stuff happening.  I feel like we often are just biding our time until we get to the finale, and in this 2nd installment, that’s completely not the case.  There are dynamic relationships that are expanded upon with Darrow and just about everyone else, we’re introduced to new complex relationships and we see that friendships are obliterated because of misplaced trust.

Throughout this story too, we’re continuously reminded of the love story of Eo and Darrow, and it’s nice to see that while Darrow remains true to that, he’s questioning what he felt and what he feels.  I feel like it’s really nice to see what role Mustang plays, and even Victra to an extent because it’s given us a sense of growth and realistic situations that we don’t always get in these types of stories.

There are intense battles, civil wars so to speak, and complex schemes that require a lot of lies and deceit to get folks on to one side or another.  So many of our favorite characters don’t make it past the half way point in this book, and then what happens in the very end was even more shocking.  Not unexpected at all knowing that we’ll have another 400 page + book to read in the series finale, but i think that how it went down was really a shocker to me, and i can’t wait to see how it plays out.  I think that secrets have been revealed in a way that have completely shifted alliances, and that is going to be the main theme i’m guessing on how Morning Star ends the trilogy.

I’m off to start reading this finale, and i’ll be back soon with the wrap up.  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Series #1) by Pierce Brown


Title:  Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 7/15/14
Length:   401 pages
Series:  Red Rising #1


“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

My Thoughts

I love this first installment to the series.  There’s a lot of complexity of what we can really call it since it’s clearly a mix of dystopia, sci-fi and YA, but all in all, it’s one of my favorite blends of a series.   The description tells us that it’s a bit Hunger Games and a bit Enders Game and i’d have to say that it’s not a bad description.

We are introduced to our main character Darrow who’s a Red – the lowest of the low in caste on Mars, and he’s trying to show that his ‘neighborhood’ in the underground which is the least fortunate can actually accomplish things.  It’s when his drilling team actually collects more valuables than the Gammas which are the highest of the Reds, that he thinks the tides are turning, yet his clan still doesn’t get the rewards of that.  His wife Eo tries to get him to see that there is something worth fighting for here, and of course that leads to her death and his (in a sense).

That’s kind of where the meat of our story begins.  It’s after Darrow is killed that we see that maybe what he knew isn’t quite accurate.  He’s brought back to life since he wasn’t fully dead, and he’s transformed into a Gold – the highest of the highs in caste on Mars, to help further the objectives of a rebellion of sorts.  It’s also at this point in time when he realizes that Mars is much more established and colonized than anyone knew – the life above is actually something quite extravagant, yet there are all these awful motives to doing things – and it’s his job as a pawn to try to insert himself into society and beat the system.

This is kind of where the Hunger Games bit comes through, and there’s another series that i liken this to – The Testing, where you’re seeing ‘survival of the fittest’ and whatever else you want to call it.

The bulk of the story from this point on is where Darrow has gone through his transformation to look the part of a Gold, gets into the Institute with the goal of getting an apprenticeship and then a position in the high government of sorts so that the rebellion party (Ares) can overthrow things.

What’s nice about this story is that we see that while Darrow is a Red at heart, he adapts to be a Gold, yet never loses the best parts of who he was – his bond to Eo his deceased wife, and the goal that he’s been put here to deliver on.  He does however fight his own internal battles time and time again because he sees that he’s becoming a monster of sorts – when he’s put into positions to be a leader, yet may have to kill to maintain that role.  It’s only when he looks back at his lineage, as a Red, to really find the best justice and lead by example.

Where this first installment goes is not surprising at all, but the journey is one that really sets us up to understand how the different relationships that he makes are going to help continue the story.  There’s lore of The Jackal that he’s trying to understand, there’s Mustang who can’t be all that she seems, there’s Sevro who’s parentage is an interesting twist in the story and there’s Cassius who we want to see come to terms with things and switch sides, but don’t know if it’s possible.

The ending  – that’s something that i can’t wait to see how it plays out.  There’s a lot of choices put in front of Darrow to further his goals in this game, and i think that he surprises a lot of folks in what he does and the speed in which he makes his decisions, but i think that there are going to be so many ramifications that will really take this story in an interesting and complex direction.  So on that note, i’m super pleased that the 2nd and 3rd books are out already so i can just dive right in and continue the story.  Have a great day all!