“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war. My name is Darrow of Lykos. You know my story. It is but an echo of your own.” – Darrow (Pierce Brown, in Morningstar, page 180)
After reading the first two books in this series in a matter of days, I could hardly wait to finally read Morningstar. Thus far, Brown had done an exemplary job when it came to word building, character development and story telling – Morningstar is no exception to this. From beginning to end, I was enthralled by Darrow’s journey to at last overthrow the Golds in an all-out rebellion, following the shocking conclusion to 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.
Let me begin by saying that, overall, I loved this book. However, it did have its ups and downs for me, in regards to the story and my feelings towards the characters. I don’t think this really detracted from my overall feelings towards the book – if anything the emotional roller coaster I was on while reading Morningstar only made me love it more once it was all said and done. But be warned, if you commit to reading this book, you’re in it for the long haul ( and it is long!), and you definitely want to stick it out! Because the last 100 pages will tear your poor heart apart, put it back together, only to rip it out again.
I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers here, however if I do include a couple things, I am sorry.
I’ll start off with the characters- as I’ve previously mentioned, Pierce Brown has done an exceptional job in regards to character development up until this point. Darrow’s growth alone has been spectacularly fleshed out and well-written, with his motivations and drive feeling both real and utterly human. Brown does it again in Morningstar, making you truly care for the characters, because they just feel so damn human.
“We are not Red, not Blue of Gold or Grey or Obsidian. We are humanity. We are the tide. And today we reclaim the lives that have been stolen from us. We build the future we were promised.” – Darrow (Pierce Brown, in Morningstar page 348).
- The book opens to the broken, tormented dialogue of Darrow, who has been imprisoned by the Jackal since the momentous conclusion of Golden Son. He’s sickly, slightly mad, and has given up all hope of rescue after nearly a year of imprisonment. Following his inevitable escape (coordinated by none other than Sevro, because, you know, the Howlers are also conveniently showing up in the nick of time), Darrow is subdued, quiet and timid, deferring to Sevro and Ragnar in most things, until something rekindles his passion and drive, bringing back the Darrow the reader knows and loves (but only after you mourned his fighting spirit for a good long while). From there, Darrow has his ups and downs, but with his regained motivation to overthrow the Sovereign and the Jackal, he becomes unstoppable. His passion, love and desire for justice propel him forward, however he still makes utterly human mistakes and experiences heart-wrenching emotions (again, the last chapter of the book). Honestly, Darrow is the perfect protagonist- human to his core, flawed but driven by understandable, relatable reasons.
“We are the new age. The new world. And if we’re to show the way, then we better damn well make it a better one. I am Sevro Au Barca. And I am no longer afraid.” – Sevro (Pierce Brown, in Morningstar page 429).
- Sevro was another character who got more of a spotlight in this book (I still personally feel that he didn’t get nearly as much attention as he deserved in the previous two books!). He’s clearly fighting through a lot of emotions when he’s first reintroduced in this book – his father has been murdered, he’s recently discovered his true heritage, his best friend is an emotional wreck, etc. etc. – and yet, like many people do, he’s covering up his emotions beneath a veneer of snark and haughtiness, playing everything off as though nothing can touch him. It’s only through his friendship with Darrow (and some flying fists) that he finally opens up, and starts to heal. Again, Sevro’s entire journey feels undeniably human.
- Finally, Mustang. I’ve been undecided about Mustang/Virginia for so long. She’s Darrow’s friend, lover and partner at some moments, and yet just as often, her loyalties seem to be elsewhere – with Cassius, with the Sovereign, with her father, and with the Telemanuses (although with how they follow Darrow around, that’s basically loyalty to Darrow). In this book, however, she showed where her true loyalties lie, and I found myself loving her more and more, not because of who she chose to stand by, but because of her strength and perseverance as a person in the face of insurmountable odds and impossible decisions. Truly, Mustang won my heart in this book, even moreso than Darrow and Sevro (although they already had my heart).
Without giving away too much, I can say that the story arc of this plot was, once again, full of twists and turns, and a surprising climax that didn’t go at all how I expected it would. Basically, every time I thought I knew where this story was going, I was proven thoroughly and utterly wrong. This resulted in an emotional and mental roller coaster throughout the entirety of the book, which was both frustrating and rewarding – especially rewarding when I finally got to the end of the story. Again, I felt that, asides from the rebellion itself, this was a story about humanity, as was exemplified through the journey of the main characters.
Overall, I loved this book (as I’ve mentioned a few times now). It was well worth the read, and left me feeling satisfied at the end. For fans of Red Rising and Golden Son, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed by the conclusion to this series! And for new readers – if you’ve a sci fi and/or fantasy fan, make sure this series is on your to be read list! The one thing I’m most upset about – the story is over!