Note: No Spoilers
Morning Star is Book Three of an excellent fantasy series that began with Red Rising and continued with Golden Son. Although the third book begins with a recap of the previous two books, it still is by no means a standalone. In fact, in spite of the much-appreciated recap, I wished I had done actual re-reads before Volume 3.
The main premise is the existence of a solar-system-wide hegemony of one race based on a scaffolding of lies, the use of violence, and the cultivation of prejudice and internecine conflict among the lower orders. But one man, hand-picked to lead a revolution from below, determines to tear that scaffolding down. That man is Darrow, who has come to be known throughout the solar system as The Reaper.
Darrow’s goal isn’t just to tear down the corrupt ruling autocrats. He has a vision of a better world, and a belief that people just want to be valued and not feel alone in the world. Darrow thinks you can plant seeds of love and trust, and they will grow into trees. Some people are too jaded, greedy for wealth or power, or evil to respond to his message of hope and equality, but many more do, especially of course, those who have been enslaved.
This volume is replete with violent episodes of savage and brutal behavior during edge-of-your-seat scenes of battles both large and small, saturated with almost unbearable tension. But they are always balanced by interludes showcasing Darrow’s attempts to keep to the high ground, and to inspire bravery against almost insuperable odds not only in his followers but in himself.
I have to admit, I never guessed how it would end. The last sentence in the book is the best part of all, but of course it would spoil the series for you to know what it is. But make it to that point, and you will be touched beyond measure.
Evaluation: This fantasy employs all the great and timeless epic themes of war, power, fear, hope, family, loyalty, and love in an unforgettable story about the fate of mankind.
Published by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, 2016
Note: Movie rights have been purchased by Universal Studios. There is also a fan site (one of many) on Facebook.