Off the Shelf: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the final book in a young adult trilogy. The Divergent and The 5th Wave series went from being addictive guilty pleasures to frustratingly disappointing, and The Maze Runner series left my interest in the dust by the end of book two. Post The Hunger Games, I’d really started to lose hope in the genre, honestly. At least until Red Rising.

So I will go ahead and say thank you, Morning Son, for not sucking. It might not be perfect (looking at you, “bye, Felicia” joke. Come on, now, Pierce Brown. You’re better than that.), but the action sequences and storyline continue to be imaginative and captivating in their encapsulation of this dystopian universe Brown has created, supporting characters continue to shine and relationships continue to develop honestly, and Darrow has finally become the narrator I’ve been hoping for.

If you read my review of Golden Son then you know that I had some small complaints concerning our protagonist, Darrow, and how he presented himself as our narrator. For starters, a large percentage of Darrow’s thoughts would return to his martyr of a wife, Eo. I get it, I cried when she was killed in Red Rising after only 20 or so pages of knowing her, and it’s only natural to constantly be reminded of someone so greatly impactful on your life, but her idolized memory was hindering Darrow’s development as a character. If Darrow is going to lead a rebellion, he needs to believe in what he is fighting for himself. If not, his story becomes meaningless.

Good thing torture can turn anything around.

Ok, obviously I don’t mean that. Torture sucks (and definitely shouldn’t be so easy for Darrow to recover from psychologically), but I am thankful to the new lease on life Darrow emerges from the darkness with. It’s not that he has forgotten his wife, but he is no longer beholden to her, and is now capable of becoming his own person while trying to find his place in the resistance once more. Better yet, he finally decides to let us in as well. That’s right, other than one major part of the story that is kept from the reader until the big reveal (though it is easy to guess if you have any faith in Brown as a writer), I no longer felt like I was left outside of the action for the sake of having surprising plot points. And this also leads to believing that Darrow struggles within the plot, both in the weight of the decisions and sacrifices he must make, as well as with the events as they come. He no longer has perfect responses to everything; the struggle is real. That’s right, two can play the hip-to-the-cool-youth-phrases game, Brown.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say about Morning Star. Overall this has been quite the addictive, just try to make me put these books down and I will SlingBlade your arm off, series, and though there was one major “seriously!? Ugh…” moment at the very end of Morning Star, it doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth as so many final decisions have in other YA series. In other words, I’m still more than excited to see where Brown takes this story post this conclusion.

In other words, bring on the next Red Rising trilogy!

“Off the Shelf” is my new series of non-new release book reviews, because it was just too sad to call this “Lauren’s One Person Book Club.” If you have any book recommendations please leave a comment below, or share them with me on twitter @BewareOfTrees.

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