“This is always how the story would end,” he says to me. “Not with your screams. Not with your rage. But with your silence.” (Morning Star by Pierce Brown)
Brown delivers the third book of the Red Rising trilogy most fans were hoping for. It’s epic, shocking, and full of emotion and humor. It wraps up all plot lines without being too tidy and reveals a hopeful future for the characters we’ve grown to love. Though an excellent read, something kept nagging me throughout. A phrase repeated itself in my head, even though I couldn’t quite pinpoint the source of it at first: I’m being treated like the enemy instead of the hero.
Brown repeatedly uses the technique of jumping over large swaths of time so that the reader is just as surprised as the enemy when the Darrow’s ingenious scheme to win this or that war is revealed. While this method might serve to increase our suspense and delight, it comes at a major price. Ultimately, we get to be on less intimate terms with our beloved hero than we’re used to in a first person fantasy. We don’t get to hear Darrow’s thoughts when he’s planning; we don’t get to see the back and forth arguments, the worries and the fears. We, in short, are forced to pass over much of that lovely character development we readers yearn for so much. And, in the end, it feels less like we won a war and more like we just experienced a wonderful trick.
Buy – Borrow Now – Borrow Sometime – Avoid
Ending: Hopeful and tricky
Further Reading: Between the second and third book of this trilogy, I read the very intimate Tawny Man trilogy by Hobb. If you leave this trilogy and you’re looking for something a little more character-oriented, Hobb wouldn’t be a bad place to go.