Morning Star: Red Rising – Volume III

Morning Star: Red Rising - Volume III

Written by: Pierce Brown

Reviewed by: Brad Williamson

Genre: Soft Science-Fiction / Space Opera

Score: 4.5/5

Few modern books manage to maintain the prolonged tragedy which is the backbone of Brown’s Red Rising series. But it’s not just the shocking, gut-wrenching twists that make these books great. The growth from one book to the next, the impressive prose, the immaculate pacing, the clarity of Brown’s imagery, the foreshadowing that never goes too long ignored, the brilliant and vast cast of characters, his ability to say not a single unnecessary word–all of these aspects come together fluidly in this conclusion to the first Red Rising trilogy.

When I think about these books, I always return to the characters. Brown writes such amazing personalities along with vivid physical descriptions, but he intertwines both these aspects of character development instantly. A paragraph after meeting a new character, one feels like they’ve been around since the first book. And he does this dozens of times throughout each of his volumes. I like many aspects of his writing, but this is, in my opinion, by far his best and most unique talent.

His brief, vivid prose is also a bright spot. He doesn’t need to be flowery to paint a beautiful picture; in fact, he prefers to juxtapose what should be beautiful with comedy or appropriate crudeness more often than simply letting you enjoy the moment. And there’s a certain charm in this, one which takes bravery to write with.

Reminiscent of some of Iain Banks’s earlier, more straight-forwardly-plotted novels, Morning Star builds on Red Rising and Golden Son while also evolving and becoming something entirely its own.

Though the novels have increased in length with each release, he retains his trademark slow build-up into brutally rapid conclusion. It’s amazing that he does this while ensuring the story and individual scenes remain clearly focused and never forgetting a single character or detail. This makes for a very rare combination, an entertaining book that is both easy and fun to read while also being unfathomably deep, sincere, tragic, and meaningful.

Despite not quite earning a perfect score, this book is a true gem, an underrated epic that probably should have won Hugos, Nebulas, and Locus Awards.

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