So it ends. The final book in the Red Rising trilogy is officially out. This review will contain spoilers for the first two books so if you haven’t read those yet then you may want to check out my reviews for Red Rising and Golden Son!
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.
In preparation for meeting Pierce Brown at the Hachette headquarters in London I decided to re-read the trilogy from the beginning and ended up having about twenty-four hours in the end to get through Morning Star. I read it on the train, I read it in a taxi, I read it in my hotel and ended up being 30 pages from the end when the event rolled around. Avoiding spoilers in a room full of Howlers? Not easy! But a lot of fun and thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for the invite.
Onto the review!
Despite the serious topic of the book, and the severity of the final challenges that Darrow faces, Pierce Brown keeps a little comedy with Sevro. As a character he grows up a lot in the time between books, especially after Golden Son’s cliffhanger but somehow remains that friend in the group that can make a joke even at the darkest times. He and Victra remain my favourites. Team Sevro!
I have to mention the “Bye Felicia” add on like everyone else whenever the book comes up. It was probably pretty funny at the time of writing, made me smirk when I read it, but will age like milk. Call me a snob but I like my Sci-fi without meme references. Give me more Sevro losing his candy bar any day.
At the end of the book I had a few main issues that had me frowning at the back cover for a good twenty minutes while I sorted my thoughts; When writing in first person, it’s hard to surprise the reader about something that the main character has planned without it feeling deceiving to the reader. I felt deceived. It’s an issue whenever this point of view is used but I’ve read other books that have toed the line between planning the whole thing out for the reader, and lying to them a bit better.
Pacing was difficult. These books have been published really quickly and after three novels Pierce Brown is not a world in a grain of sand kind of writer, it was a time-consuming read. This is a 500+ page book where a lot happens, some of it could have been trimmed down but also, this could have been split into two books and certain characters like the Jackal wouldn’t have fallen by the wayside. Sometimes it felt over-complicated trying to fit so much in but the story gets a satisfying conclusion and this isn’t one of those ‘last book in a series’ where story is forgone in favour of tying everything up. It’s a novel in its own right and leaves just enough open for the new trilogy announced; Iron Golds.
And to end the review, I’m a fan of happy endings, but the way Morning Star ended was- cheesy. There were other ways it could have gone down, I think. Too much ended well for a book that was about battles on all sides of the war. But I liked the ending to Lost so take my opinion with a pinch of salt.
Overall, despite my issues, this was a solid ending to the trilogy and has promise for the three more books in the new ‘Iron Gold’ series. But I ponder on if I will continue with that trilogy, which I’ll go into more in my series review. Want a copy? You can get one here!