Book Review: Morning Star

Thursday 18 February 2016 by

Morning Star, Pierce Brown, Hodder & Stoughton, Book, ReadingMorning Star by Pierce Brown

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their society.


One thing to be aware of when reading Morning Star: be prepared to cry. This is the final book in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, so you’re going to be pretty invested in the characters by now (seeing as they were such incredible books).

In Red Rising, we met Darrow as he goes from lowly Red to vicious Gold in an attempt to bring down the ruling Society with the Sons of Ares. In Golden Son, Darrow rises to the highest echelons of Gold Society until he is betrayed by one of his closest friends, and his Red past is revealed.

So what happens next? Everything seems broken, and Darrow is the prisoner of his archenemy, the Jackal. Morning Star opens with Darrow trapped in a tiny black cave, abandoned there after being tortured. There’s not a lot of hope, right?

Of course you’re wrong. Brown is never going to let you off easy, and this is not simple by any means. Your emotions are going to be wrenched and wrecked with every chapter. Darrow is fighting for his life and then the galaxy. His friends – Sevro, Mustang, Ragnar and Victra, as well as the rest – are back and are on fine form, ready to fight alongside the Reaper of Mars.

The thing that is so brilliant about these books really comes down to the characters – they are the heart and soul and beauty of it. The dialogue is effective, fantastically realistic and often hilarious if it’s Sevro speaking. Darrow is the perfect protagonist – treading the fine line between hero and villain, and has so many double-double crosses up his sleeve that you get whiplash.

That’s what I absolutely adore – even when it seems that all is lost, you know that Darrow has a trick up his sleeve. Or you hope so. You really, really hope so. Because even though you know the Sons of Ares are going to win in the end (they are the good guys, after all), Brown uses all his creativity to make you really wonder if any of them are actually going to make it in the end.

If you loved the first two books, your heart might explode with this one. It’s got the huge battle scenes from Golden Son and the great moral wrangling from Red Rising, it has love and betrayal and death and even Sefi, Ragnar’s sister who is both terrifying and potentially the most awesome character of all. Orion even comes back. These characters may have been Darrow’s family, but they’re yours too. It’s heartbreaking to leave them behind at the end. Time for a petition for another book?

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