The Red Rising trilogy, of which Morning Star is the third book, is a gritty space opera in a futuristic universe. Mankind has genetically engineered themselves into classes based on colors. Each color has a specific function, which individuals can’t refuse to fulfill, in society. The Golds are at the top and the Reds are at the bottom. Everyone inbetween these two polarities suffers as well…
One word to describe this whole trilogy: INTENSE. It draws you in. It makes you keep reading when you should be going to sleep. It transports you to another world. My husband was laughing at me: sitting in my favorite chair, gasping in surprise or groaning in despair at the incredible turns in this story. I had to keep putting my hand over the page so that my eyes wouldn’t skip ahead and spoil it. Seriously. This book is that good. Its predecessors are also enjoyable, but this one absolutely brought the thunder. I loved it. Sci fi/fantasy fans, read them. Right now!
Brown waxes on a bit in Morning Star but I loved it. His style is reminiscent of Dan Simmons- meandering, bordering on repetitive, but I forgive him. It’s worth it. I’m going to share a couple of my favorite passages now, to give you a taste of the poetry of Brown’s story. No spoilers, I promise.
Darrow, throughout the course of the story, has become a severely damaged hero: “He wants pity. My pity was lost in the darkness. The heroes of Red songs have mercy, honor. They let men live, as I let the Jackal live, so they can remain untarnished by sin. Let the villain be the evil one. Let him wear black and try to stab me as I turn my back, so I can wheel about and kill him, giving satisfaction without guilt. But this is no song. This is war.” pg 35 That’s part of the larger question that Morning Star seeks to answer. Has Darrow’s spirit been crushed by the cruelty of the Golds? Read it and see.
Darrow describing desperation at living in a world that is not free, where your birth determines not only your place in society, but your ultimate destiny: “I feel like a prisoner who spent his whole life digging through the wall, only to break through and find he’s dug into another cell. Except there will always be another cell. And another. And another. These people are not living. They’re all just trying to postpone the end.” pg 71
Man’s insignificant place in nature: “Mars is over our heads, consuming and omnipotent. …I wonder… if the planet does not mind that we wound her surface or pillage her bounty, because she knows we silly warm things are not even a breath in her cosmic life. We have grown and spread, and will rage and die. And when all that remains of us is our steel monuments and plastic idols, her winds will whisper, her sands will shift, and she will spin on and on, forgetting about the bold, hairless apes who thought they deserved immortality.” pgs 145-146
One last passage, about love, because I am a romantic sap: “I was going to say something important. Something memorable. But I’ve forgotten it in her eyes. That gulf that divided us is still there, filled with questions and recrimination and guilt, but that’s only part of love, part of being human. Everything is cracked, everything is stained except the fragile moments that hang crystalline in time and make life worth living. pg 443
If you enjoyed Morning Star, you may want to try Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter or The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Thanks for reading!