Review: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

51nnve8he2l-_sy445_ql70_Morning Star 
by Pierce Brown

Genre: Sci-Fi / Young Adult / Dystopian

Publisher: Hodder

My Rating: 5_star_rating_system_5_stars

Synopsis: Darrow is the Reaper of Mars. Born to toil, carved to fight, destined to lead. But he is a broken man. Exposed as a Red in world ruled by Golds, he has been captured and tormented until he is something less than human. And yet, he is humanity’s last chance.

In facing a godlike, ruthless enemy, he must call on every last ounce of strength to prove that loyalty, friendship and love are more powerful than any cold-hearted machine of war.

He has been first Red, then Gold. Now, he must transcend them all. He must become the hero his people believe he is.


My Review

Find my reviews of the first two books, Red Rising and Golden Son, here and here.

After a few very hectic weeks, I have finally managed to finish Morning Star, the final book in the Red Rising trilogy, and I’m pretty much lost for words. Be prepared for a long and rambly review of starstruck nonsense, because this is one of the best YA series out there.

This series has been pretty much faultless throughout. I like to think of this as Game of Thrones in space. It’s packed full of plot twists you will not see coming, like that one at the end of Golden Son, as well as an intricate cast of characters and a heart-stopping plot.

So, after that Golden Son ending, you’d be forgiven in thinking that it’s pretty much all over for Darrow and the Rising. But think again. Darrow has continued to grow throughout this series and he reaches his peak here in Morning Star. He’s still very much the Darrow we know and love, but he’s matured and gained even more knowledge and understanding of the world around him. If you want a good example of a character arc, look no further than Darrow. He is entirely fleshed-out and totally believable as a real person. He’s complex, nuanced, troubled and makes a ton of mistakes, not to mention he can be arrogant and hot-headed, but he grows and learns, humbled by the ending of Golden Son. In Morning Star, he has grown into a man worthy of the position that has been forced upon him.

Morning Star throws you right back into the story. I had so many questions I desperately needed answering, but this is a series that will leave you guessing and waiting in agony. It’s also a series that isn’t afraid to shock you and kill off your favourite characters (much like Game of Thrones), so I was constantly on edge reading this novel, but in a good way. If you know the characters are somehow going to get themselves out of every horrible situation, then the story loses its momentum and you cease to care. Brown, on the other hand, knows exactly how to keep the reader on their toes, and the plot-twists, whilst shocking, are always logical.

(Also, as a bit of an aside, I don’t usually like it when the second and/or third book in a series changes setting from the first. I grow attached to the setting in the first book, and a change of scenery in the sequels normally throws me and lessens my enjoyment. However, leaving the Institute in Red Rising and venturing out into the society proper was the next clear step. It wasn’t just a change for the sake of it, it worked, and it allowed the plot and characters to really grow. By Morning Star, the Institute seems like a nostalgic memory, rather than a time I really wished we would return to).

The reader has watched the setting and characters flourish, and finishing Morning Star made me feel like I’d been on a journey with these characters. The plot never falls stagnant but instead reaches new heights. Everything Darrow and the Sons of Ares have been working towards are now in sight, but we worry that things might not turn out right. This is probably one of the first series where I’ve genuinely feared for the protagonist’s life and wasn’t sure he’d survive the finale. The same goes for the other main characters. Mustang, Sevro, Ragnar, and the others are truly in danger of losing their lives for a vast majority of the book, and maybe some of them even do…

But there are no spoilers here. I don’t want to ruin the excitement and worry.

In terms of structure, I thought Morning Star had the best pacing of the three books. Whilst they’ve all been pretty full speed ahead, Morning Star was definitely the one that just kept pushing and pushing. There wasn’t much respite, and it was a little exhausting, but it never made the plot feel dull because there was just so much going on.

Honestly, I don’t really know what to say. I haven’t even written anything in my reading diary for Morning Star because all I could think of to write was ‘FLAWLESS’. This series is just too good. If you want to know how to write an epic Sci-Fi, then pick this up. Even if you’re not a Sci-Fi fan, I highly recommend it. I love Sci-Fi, but usually the sub-genres like post-apocalyptic etc. I like space sagas as long as they’re not too OTT, and whilst there can be jargon in this series, it never makes you feel out of your depth.

And neither does the world-building. It’s very intricate and complex, and whilst there are a few moments of info-dumping, it’s not widespread and boring like can often be the case in fantasy and sci-fi series. You really get a sense of what the setting and society is like without feeling like the author is boring you with unnecessary details.

I perhaps do have a couple of small criticisms for the series and this final installment, but they’re pretty minor. After all, no book is perfect. One thing was that the humour could be a bit hit and miss for me. Sometimes it would make me laugh out loud, other times I wouldn’t crack a smile. But humour is very subjective, so what would make me laugh might not make someone else laugh. The other thing was that whilst the climax was brilliant and everything I wanted, I felt the events after the climax, when the loose ends are tied up, was a bit rushed. I didn’t find out what had happened to a few characters and would have liked to see what they were up to following the climactic events, but then I suppose this will probably be addressed in the new sequel series.

Overall, this series and its final installment were pretty much faultless. It has an amazing cast of characters I’ve really grown to love and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their changes and growth. Even when they’ve really pissed me off, I’ve still loved them because they’re flawed, including the characters that can’t quite decide if they’re friend or enemy (I’m looking at you, Cassius. So well-written!). The world-building is complex and interesting and wholly unique. And the plot, whilst it’s a rebellion plot that’s quite familiar in YA, it’s totally its own beast and doesn’t follow the same structures as other rebellion novels.

I am super excited for Iron Gold and the film adaptations, and I swear to god if they screw this series up on the big screen I am going to go wild. But yes, I am so sad this original trilogy is over, but so excited for the sequel trilogy to begin. This was a brilliant ending to a whirlwind series. If you love complex and flawed characters, rebellion and huge plot-twists you’ll never see coming, then this is the series for you. 

page-break Have you read this series? Did you enjoy it? Are you excited for the films and sequel trilogy? Let me know in the comments below!



The Sunday Post #21


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.


I’m currently on a mini hiatus, as I mentioned before, so this is a scheduled post! I start my new job tomorrow, on Monday, and it’s my first full time job after graduating uni last summer. So, I’m going to be quite busy. But fear not, I should be back in a week or two, hopefully with my review of Morning Star.

Now, here are the posts from this week and the week before, as I haven’t done a Sunday Post in a while:


On Monday I finished An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and you can find my review above. I really did enjoy it and I loved Elias and also Helene’s complexity. However, there were a few standout flaws, and whilst my enjoyment won out overall, I couldn’t ignore the problems. Still, I really look forward to getting my hands on the sequel.

Now, I’m onto Morning Star, the final book in the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. I loved the first two books and they were pretty much faultless. Thankfully, Morning Star is turning out to be the same. Whilst I struggled to remember all the characters and everything that had happened at first, I’m now back into the flow of the story and I’m loving it. Seriously, this is one of the best mature YA series out there. Even if you’re not into Sci-Fi, I highly recommend you give this series a go as it’s so complex and really character driven, with an amazing plot to boot.

After that, I’m thinking of reading YA Contemporary How Not To Disappear. After the brutality of both An Ember in the Ashes and Morning Star, I think I’ll be needing something a little more lighthearted.


The last few months I’ve been listening to a lot of Novo Amor. It’s the moniker of a Welsh singer-songwriter and his music sounds quite similar to Bon Iver. So if you like slightly melancholic but melodic indie folk rock, then you’ll like this song: 


The Willoughby Book Club Unboxing


As a birthday present, my sister signed me up for 3 months of The Willoughby Book Club subscription service!

My Mum is already a subscriber and she’s always had good picks from them, so I was excited to try it myself.


The books are always lovingly wrapped and often come with freebies, or the book will be a signed copy. This month, I got a bookmark, a ‘Bookworm’ sticker and a ‘Bookworm’ badge.

They have a range of subscriptions, from Children’s to Young Adult to Contemporary. I got the ‘Bespoke’ subscription where you choose your top 3 genres and describe your preferences. They also have a ‘Couples’ subscription where they send you two copies of the same book so you and your partner (or best friend) can read together, which I think is really cute.

Untitled.pngUnfortunately, this month I already have the book they sent me, Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s an excellent pick, however, as I adore this series, and you can check out my reviews of Red Rising and Golden Son here and here.

But, if you already have the book they sent you (they say on their website that only 1% of subscribers receive a book they already have) they’ll send a replacement! You can also keep the copy they sent you so you can pass it onto someone else. I’m gonna force my boyfriend to read it.

I’m excited to see what replacement I get and, fingers crossed, it’s not something I already have! If you want to avoid duplicates, you can subscribe to their ‘spoiler service’ where they’ll tell you what book they’re sending each month.

Shipping is FREE for the UK. They do ship abroad, but of course there are shipping costs.

If you’d like to sign up to The Willoughby Book Club, you can find them here. They also have 10% off at the moment so hurry if you want to subscribe!

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Are you a Willoughby Book Club subscriber? Do you subscribe to any other book subscription services, UK or abroad? Let me know in the comments below!


The Sunday Post #3


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.

My Weekly Recap

Posts this week:

I’ve had a pretty good week for books! But I’m also kinda sad about that because I packed up all my books, including some I haven’t read yet, and sent them back home so moving out from my student house later this month will be a little easier, leaving myself with only five books in my TBR. I’d expected I’d be super busy and five books would last me until the end of June. God was I wrong. I’m on book 4/5 of that pile currently. I suppose I’m gonna have to buy new books with all the money I don’t have…

In terms of my personal life, I went to my university’s Summer Ball!

Summer Ball

Can you tell I was cold?

Best part of the night was eating a really amazing hot dog, hands down. It’s sad to think that my uni days are over. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Royal Holloway, but I’m glad that my years of education are over! No more essays ever again.

Coming Up

A review of Half Way Home by Hugh Howey. I’m already over a 100 pages in and enjoying it, although I think it’s going a little too quickly for my liking. More explanations and characterisation please! I loved Howey’s Silo Saga so hopefully this book will improve as I keep going.

Also, a review of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, who is one of my favourite authors.

And last but not least, a review of X-Men: Apocalypse, which I saw a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was as good as some of the previous X-Men films.


And Finally

As seems to be tradition now, here’s a link to some music I’m enjoying on Spotify. Raleigh Ritchie (real name Jacob Anderson, who plays Greyworm on Game of Thrones) has a Spotify playlist he regularly updates which is great for finding new music, and Raleigh Ritchie’s music is really good too! My favourite song of his is ‘Stronger Than Ever’. Check it out.

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Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

piercebrownsredrisingRed Rising by Pierce Brown

Genre: New Adult / Sci-Fi / Dystopian

Publisher: Hodder

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s 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 on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Break the chains. Live for more.

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My Review

I don’t know why I waited so long to start this series; I’m actually pretty annoyed with myself. This novel is so slick, with excellent writing and a plot brimming with twists and turns, not to mention that the world-building is complex and unique (yet easy to understand) and the characters 3D.

Darrow himself is an excellent protagonist. Hot-headed, passionate, but deeply caring, his voice leads you through a story filled with violence and oppression, but also hope. Darrow is originally not a rule-breaker, unlike Katniss of The Hunger Games. However, both infiltrate their respective society’s from the bottom up. Yet, after tragedy strikes, Darrow is still not 100% sure he wishes to rebel. Initially, he just wants to give up, and to see Darrow change from a resentful boy to a headstrong young man was something I enjoyed most about this book. His hot-head nature and confidence never spills over into cockiness; he’s self-assured and talented, but if he ever attempts to overstep the mark, he is suitably knocked back. Usually, I find teenage male protagonists the hardest to connect with (Darrow begins the story being 16 and we see him turn 18), but I had no qualms here. Brown has created such a likeable and believable – yet suitably flawed – character and I commend him for this.

His cast of characters are truly unique and Brown doesn’t hold back in showing us their worst sides. Sevro may not be the most ‘humane’ character, but I really liked him, and even ended up liking Tactus a little (although his previous actions aren’t excusable). I did like Mustang as well, and I enjoyed the dynamic between her and Darrow. These ‘Gold’ teenagers – Gold’s being the highest caste in society. Reds, such as Darrow, are the lowest. Other colours include Pink, Green, Obsidian… – are thrust into a ‘game’ not unlike the Hunger Games. However, whereas The Hunger Games novels are Young Adult, the violence and language of the ‘games’ in Red Rising firmly cements it in the New Adult genre for me, as the book deals with slightly darker issues than a Young Adult novel, and so will also appeal to adults. The ‘games’ are brutal and Brown doesn’t shy away from violence and death; nor does he shy away from more sensitive topics such as rape.

Being now 21, Young Adult novels still appeal to me as I enjoy the sense of discovery and change that comes with adolescence, but often now they’re just not gritty enough. Red Rising was certainly gritty and exactly what I’ve been looking for. I think it can be a little naive of some Young Adult authors to ignore the fact that teenagers swear (a lot) and that issues are discussed beyond who kissed who.

Overall, I really loved Red Rising. I’m wracking my brain for flaws and can’t really think of any. Maybe the beginning was a tad slow? But I didn’t really mind because the world-building and characterisation that occurred in the initial chapters was excellent. I’m really excited to get started on the next book at some point, and the prospect of a Red Rising film. I hope they don’t dampen it down to make it more suitable for younger audiences because I think the brutality is what makes Red Rising stand out. It’s not gratuitous, but instead is an excellent study in human nature and our capacity for violence and power.

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Have you read Red Rising? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, sorry I haven’t updated recently, but it’s been a busy week, especially with celebrating the end of my boyfriend’s university exams and subsequently giving him the Norovirus I suffered from last week! I’m currently reading All The Birds in the Sky and enjoying it. Review to come soon!

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The Sunday Post #2


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.

My Weekly Recap

Well, in terms of posts, nothing happened because I came down with horrendous food poisoning. I haven’t even felt like reading all week and I’m still absolutely exhausted. So, I’m still halfway through Red Rising by Pierce Brown, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far. The novel doesn’t pull punches and I think I’d class it as New Adult because, whilst it deals with young adults, it certainly doesn’t hold back in terms of violence or swearing. New Adult is definitely my favourite genre; you get the excitement of YA with more mature themes. I suppose, being 21, ‘New Adult’ is the stage I’m at in my life. Sometimes YA annoys me because there’s zero swearing and the themes studied seem quite immature. In reality, your teenage years involve a lot of rude words and some pretty big milestones.


I know that a Red Rising film is in the works so I’m excited to see how they do that. Brown doesn’t fall into corny sci-fi jargon and I hope the film manages to steer clear of that (if it ever gets made).

In other news, the last post on my blog was Bookish Scents: Literary Candles where I reviewed candles from two Etsy shops, with one shop specialising in candles inspired by books. I bought ‘Winterfell’ and ‘Ghost Stories’, so click on the link to see what I thought and where you can get them!

Coming Up

A review of Red Rising; and whilst lying in bed feeling as though death was about to take me at any moment, I planned a post on book-to-screen adaptations that are done well, so keep an eye out for that!

I’m also hoping to get back to pushing through my TBR pile and get started on some books such as these:

And when I have the money, I’m planning on buying these beauties (and many more):

I’m really excited to read The Star-Touched Queen. I’ve heard so many good things about it and the excerpts I’ve read have been beautifully written.

And Finally

I made an ever-growing playlist on Spotify of my favourite Indie songs, the kind of songs that scream summer and road-trips. Some of my favourites on the list are ‘A tout a l’heure’ by Bibio, ‘Bitter Town’ by INHEAVEN, ‘Flowerball’ by The Wombats, and ‘Seventeen’ by Sjowgren. Feel free to give it a listen!

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Stacking the Shelves | TBR April

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme from Tynga’s Reviews where you showcase the books you’ve received or purchased.

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This month, I’ve taken advantage of a birthday Amazon voucher and the £10 deals to purchase these bad boys (although Bone Clocks I got for Christmas).

The list is:

The Lie Tree, Rebel of the Sands and All the Birds in the Sky are the most recent releases and I’ve seen a lot of hype about the first two especially from other bloggers, so I’m excited to get into them. I was also a big fan of Hugh Howey’s Wool series so I can’t wait to read something else by him. And, obviously, the Red Rising series has garnered a lot of attention too. There are also two more books on the way to me:

I know, I know, I’m pretty late to both series, but I’m finally giving them a chance. I’d originally heard hit and miss things about both books upon their original release so I gave them both a miss. But I’ve had a severe lack of zombies in my life recently and the Rot and Ruin series has seemingly picked up so I’m looking forward to being entirely freaked out. As for Throne of Glass, if you’ve read my review of Starborn by Lucy Hounsom, you’ll know I can be a bit critical of the fantasy genre. I find it often slips into cliches and is just too cheesy sometimes, so I really need something fresh and well thought out to capture me in this genre. Saying that, though, I’ve put my initial hesitation aside about the Throne of Glass series after seeing how much the book blogosphere adores it. So, fingers crossed I like it.

And in terms of zombies, look out for my upcoming ‘A Novel Round-Up’ of my favourite zombie novels.

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Read any of these books? Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Happy reading this April!

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