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Masters Of War

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy ends with a bang, not a whimper, in Morning Star.

Masters Of War

BOOK REPORT for Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Cover Story: Rising Golden Star
BFF Charm: O Captain! My Captain!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Battle Tactics
Trigger Warning: War Brutality
Bonus Factors: Fitting Ending, Valkyries
Relationship Status: Veteran Friends

Danger, Will Robinson! Morning Star is the third book in the Red Rising trilogy. If you have not read the series’ other books—Red Rising and Golden Son—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first two books, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the story.

Cover Story: Rising Golden Star

For a seemingly simple cover, there’s a lot going on here. The scythe/sickle has multiple connections to the story: Darrow’s nickname of The Reaper, the curved slingBlades many characters use, etc. The gleam on the tool’s edge could also be a number of things: a rising sun/star, a nod at a “new day,” a hint of how sharp the weapon is, etc. I applaud the cover designer at once again creating a cover that’s minimal yet meaningful.

The Deal:

Darrow rose from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs, and, in doing so, made waves that rippled across the entirety of the solar system. But when you’re at the top, there’s often nowhere to go but down—and Darrow found this out the hard way, at the hands of people he once called friend.

But Darrow’s not willing or able to give up the fight—and neither are the people who got caught up in his waves. Instead of petering out, their ripples are only getting larger and more powerful. And they’re headed straight for the Sovereign of Luna and The Jackal.

BFF Charm: O Captain! My Captain!

Even at his lowest, Darrow’s a powerful presence, and a person that inspires loyalty and allegiance. He doesn’t always make the right decisions, and he’s not infallible, but that’s part of what makes him such an excellent leader—he not only is willing to admit his mistakes, but also he learns from them. From the very start of Red Rising, through in Golden Son, and until the end of Morning Star, I remained solidly convinced that, were I a member of his society, I’d follow him into battle without pause.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

When you’re in the middle of a war that spans across the solar system, it can be hard to find/make time for romance. However, love finds a way. It’s not a focus of the novel, but there are a few surprisingly sweet moments amidst the chaos.

Talky Talk: Battle Tactics

Morning Star continues to ramp up the action that started in Red Rising and continued in Golden Son, and eventually reaches a climax that feels wholly authentic to all that came before. The story pulls no punches, and nothing is ever easy for Darrow and friends, but war shouldn’t ever be easy, even when it’s a fictional one fought in space by genetically modified individuals.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Pierce Brown knows how to craft a tale. From the very start of Red Rising, this series has been intense and engaging. Brown didn’t make it easy, and I’m glad for that—even though I cringed at some scenes, they never felt inauthentic; in fact, had they not been so visceral, I don’t think I would have connected as much with the series as I did. He also created characters who couldn’t be more removed from my life, yet felt like old friends by the time all was said and done.

Trigger Warning: War Brutality

I wouldn’t say that Morning Star is more brutal than Red Rising or Golden Son, but there are a lot of horrible things that happen in the novel, to people both bad and good. It is a war story, after all, and one that involves a lot of people who were bred for fighting, enjoy fighting, or are just really, really good at it when there are no other options.

Bonus Factor: Fitting Ending

I don’t want to give anything about how Morning Star ends away, because reading the twists and turns of the book more than half of the fun. I will say, however, that I’m super satisfied with the way the series wraps up.

Bonus Factor: Valkyries

No spoilers, but we get to meet Ragnar’s family in Morning Star. And they are awesome in all senses of the word (i.e., extremely impressive, fear-inspiring, and super cool).

Casting Call:

I cast Darrow in my review of the first book in this series, and Mustang and Sevro in my review of the second. To them I’ll add:

Adam Copeland (a.k.a. WWE’s Edge) as Ragnar

Don’t let the sweet face fool you, he’s definitely able to pull off the terror-inducing Obsidian.

Relationship Status: Veteran Friends

We’ve been through a lot, Book, in our time together. We’ve made startling discoveries about the truth of our existence, we’ve made many friends and even more enemies, we’ve been revolutionaries and visionaries and losers and victors and everything in between. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful for the time we had together, and won’t easily forget it.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Morning Star is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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