The final book of the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown gets us deeper into the technicalities and horrors of war on a grander scale, and gives us reason to break the chains
When we had our FandomFeels hangout last month to discuss Red Rising and Golden Son in preparation for the third book of the Red Rising trilogy, I had stated that for Morning Star, we probably won’t be able to expect what’s coming. I was right.
This third and final part of the series, as much as I had an idea of the possibilities of certain things happening, just hit me like a ton of books. Or hit me like Sevro with a pulseFist to the heart. There are events that happen in the book that I couldn’t possibly have prepared for, and my brain was trying to catch up with all that I was reading. Considering the speed at which I read it and the refusal to stop to catch my breath or let the information sink in, I’m surprised I’m able to contain half of what I’ve read. It’s certainly a book that you should take your time in reading, but if you’re like me and can’t help but try to read it as fast as possible as soon as possible, you at least should read it a second time. The only problem with that is having to deal with all the emotional turmoil that you know you’ll remember from the first time reading through it.
But before I get to the emotion part, let’s just say that Pierce Brown doesn’t zip through the technicalities of war. And this is a war, if you need reminding. He certainly did seem to have taken a lot of time in strategizing how to go about describing war in detail as well as in a grander scale, including with big battle scenes. And although I’m not one to read up on the history of our past wars, nor do I care to, I found describing as much as Brown did to be a very important part of this story. It makes sense to not gloss over the horrors and effects that war has not only on the ones directly involved, but those indirectly involved as well. It’s a very realistic sense of the destruction humankind can make on itself. It’s immense, and many times tragic. Brown gives us both a close-up look at war as well as the far-off look of it, neither giving it the romanticism nor glorified look that are often given when it comes to wars.
Not only that, but Brown also tries to give us more of a sense of the sacrifices and politics of war that teeter in between the black and white of things. This is more understandable to me than that of a “We win, they lose” mentality. It is more than that, and it’s embraced in Morning Son.
That’s part of the reason why it’s so hard to deal with the decisions that are made and the actions that are taken by the characters that we’ve grown to love, or even hate, throughout the series. And that’s what makes this book pretty stellar. The characters, as we’ve known since Red Rising, make many mistakes, and of course that includes the non-Gary-Stu-like protagonist Darrow of Lykos. Some are silly mistakes due to lack of understanding or knowledge, others are bad mistakes due to pride, and yet others are devastating mistakes due to an overabundance of both. But it’s these flaws in the characters that draw us to this story, as it helps us to relate to them in a way, even of Darrow’s villains as much as his allies. They are all more than two-dimensional and they’re more than the colors they represent. It’s the reason this trilogy will stick with me for a long time, and one that I will probably end up reading more than once or twice.
Brown, though admittedly knowing himself to be not as smart as Mustang, has created a poetic tale of tragedy and triumph, of defeat and victory, of pride and humility, and ultimately of love and hope, at least in his own way. I can’t say it’s beautiful, because there are many parts where it wasn’t beautiful at all, but heart-breakingly gruesome. Given this is his debut series, I’m pretty sure we’ll continue seeing some awesomeness from future books of his.
Even with all the technical and descriptive aspects of the story, I found myself emotional time and time again. I found laugh-out-loud moments, I found pulse-racing exciting moments, I found extreme and utter sadness and tear-flowing moments, and I found love, lovely, lovable moments. Pierce Brown has so deceivingly snuck into my heart and gave me a story I won’t forget for a long, long time. With characters that I’ll love for despite their fictitious-ness – Darrow, Sevro, Mustang, Ragnar, Eo, Pax, Roque, Julian, Cassius, Dancer, Mickey, Sefi, Fitchner, more and more and more, and even Jackal, I hope I never do.
The story is a timeless one, giving many hope for a better world, even in real life. Even now. We should take it to heart, think of the choices that we make. Think of the people we affect in our lives. And the people that are affected by our decisions. That’s what this story is telling us. It’s telling us to live for more. To aim higher than we think we can. To break the chains. And howl.