I’m sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor, trying to think of coherent things to say to start out this review. I want to be serious, to be informative… I’m trying not to fangirl. But I think I will fail this mission. There’s a reason why I very seldom review my favorite books. I will be biased, excited, and super pumped that I run the risk of word vomiting. But I shall try.
Guys, I finished this last night and I’m still a mess. So many feelings, conflicted opinions, questions, but mostly… praise. How far have we gone since my indifference to Red Rising? I’m so glad I gave it a chance and not let polarizing reviews sway my impression of it. And I finally finished a trilogy! This was the most solid, fulfilling ending of all the recent YA trilogies that I’ve read. This was what Mockingjay was supposed to be. Action, emotion, redemption, loyalty, friendship, rebellion, a smidge of romance, hope, victory… NEW BEGINNINGS.
(I’m still a mess, you guys. We will power through. But tl;dr in case I ramble on forever… I LOVED THIS BOOK. 5/5.)
In previous reviews, I said that Darrow was my least favorite part of the book. Not this time. It’s like the author had been reading reviews on Darrow being bland with no emotion. We were seeing the story through his eyes but he was ~telling~ us what’s happening instead of showing us. I go on about it in my Golden Son review. Here, it’s still the same Darrow but I gathered emotion from him, finally. We rejoin our hero, captured and tortured for months. When it was time for his execution, his loyal friends bust him out of captivity. Then he regains his strength and assumes leadership of his not so little band of rebels. They go to war, putting it lightly. And in war, casualties are inevitable on both sides. No one really wins but one side has to come out victorious.
This book is action, action, action. The author made use of the 1st person POV very well. The reader will encounter snippets of tender moments between several characters but nothing will be revealed until pages and chapters later. We will find that out together with Darrow and be equally surprised by it. And the book does not shy away from death and gore. Dare I say, the deaths in this book affected me so much more than those in A Song of Ice and Fire because I got to know these characters more. Yes, the character list is still pretty long yet I can tell them apart. There’s at least one thing about that character that sticks with me. When was the last time that a YA novel didn’t sugarcoat a beloved character’s death? Was there ever a chapter in YA where the author outwardly says a character is not only gutted but also beheaded, blood and guts spraying all over the place?
The biggest change from the previous books is the improved character development. It’s as if Mr. Brown was just saving all this for last. Everyone had a distinct personality. I loved reading Darrow’s internal monologue. Yes, there’s still that “pining for Eo” thing but not so much or as confusing as last time. Darrow clearly still loves his departed wife but I think he finally accepted that he has to move on from her in order to be an effective leader of the rebellion. There were a couple of minor characters that I absolutely adored. They effectively gave variety to the already gloomy tone. Some of them made me smile at the mere mention of their names. Sevro, he became more than just an insane troublemaker. He has a heart and this book definitely showed that. The author didn’t force the romance between Darrow and Mustang. It was there but it wasn’t distracting. Then again, I was rooting for them. If only in Mustang can Darrow find happiness, I’m all for it.
Another thing with this book is that after three volumes, I still don’t have a clear vision of what they all look like. And I think it’s me; the author gave good descriptions of everything. But I can’t clearly picture Darrow or Mustang, Sevro. The image I have of Sefi and Ragnar is somewhat like the Ronso race from Final Fantasy X. Sevro reminds me of James Ransone‘s portrayal of Ray Person from Generation Kill. (Thus Darrow being Brad Colbert. HA!) I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but to me, it’s good. It gave me freedom to create my own version of Mars.
All in all, Morning Star is a tale of revenge, rebellion, and redemption. Everybody in this story is flawed; their humanity shines through the gold, the obsidian, the red. There is always a chance to redeem yourself… you just have to take that opportunity. There is always something good in people.
Pierce Brown, welcome to my “Favorite Authors” list. I can’t wait to see what you have for us next.
Rating: 5/5. Favorite. A fitting end to a fantastic trilogy.
(I’m tempted to write a true word vomit with spoilers and all but I’ll save that for real life… when, if by any miracle, I find someone in real life that has also read and loved this trilogy/book. Let us fangirl – or boy – together.)