Friday Firsts: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown #RRSciFiMonth

Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.  As this month is Sci fi Month 2016 my book today is a science fiction novel that I’ve been wanting to read for some time.  I’m very excited to pick this one up as it’s the conclusion to a brilliant series and I need to know how it all ends!!

morningstarI rise into darkness, away from the garden they watered with the blood of my friends.  The Golden man who killed my wife lies dead beside me on the cold metal deck, life snuffed out by his own son’s hand.”

Autumn wind whips my hair.  The ship rumbles beneath.  In the distance, friction flames shred the night with brilliant orange.  The Telemanuses descending from orbit to rescue me.  Better that they do not.  Better to let the darkness have me and allow the vultures to squabble over my paralysed body.

My enemy’s voices echo behind me.  Towering demons with the faces of angels.  The smallest of them bends.  Stroking my head as he looks down at his dead father.

“This is always how the story would end,” he says to me.  “Not with your screams.  Not with your rage.  But with your silence.”

My First Impressions

Well, that’s intriguing.  Watch this space!

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to join in.


Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Posted On 21 February 2015

Filed under Book Reviews
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Just finished reading Golden Son by Pierce Brown – which is just so good!!  And, what an ending – a little bit jaw dropping, but enough of that.

Firstly, this isn’t the kind of series that you can jump in and out of – you need to read Red Rising first and you need to be aware of potential spoilers below.  Basically, you need to know the characters, the allegiances and the friendships – not that they won’t continually shift like sand in front of your very eyes but you do need to have a firm grounding at least before the world starts to move beneath your feet.

Now, Golden Son moves us forward a little.  Darrow, now completely in favour thanks to his exploits in Red Rising, is being given the chance to prove himself in war.  Battling it out amongst the stars.

To be frank, I’m simply not going to go into the plot at all and that may seem like a bit of a cop out but this is such an intriguing book with so many chops and changes that to elaborate would be to spoil.  Basically there is a LOT of action, a LOT of clever ‘big picture’ tactics and a lot of betrayals! Not to mention some heartache.

So, to the characters.  Darrow is as much a maniac as he was in the first book.  He certainly isn’t a stranger to fear but his fear doesn’t rule him and he rushes into the fray completely regardless of his own safety.  Frequently he becomes involved in situations where there seems to be no chance of success or even survival and yet he not only escapes or survives but frequently excels.  What I would also point out about Darrow is he’s very conflicted.  He loved Eo and yet he now loves Mustang for which he feels guilt.  He was born a Red and yet he excels as a Gold, in fact you could be forgiven for thinking that he’s more Gold than most!  He is basically a man who is desperate to stop living a lie and yet revealing the truth could be fatal for him and the cause he works for.  He’s still surrounded by his close pack of friends and he also makes a strange alliance where least expected.  The strange thing with Darrow is that he isn’t a stupid character at all and yet he seems sometimes to be unable to see the plain truth in front of him – in fact I would say that’s probably my only criticism – he doesn’t appear to be able to see when he’s making enemies even though it appears to be perfectly obvious to others.  Maybe his inability to see when he’s making mistakes is what makes him such a great character.  On top of which he constantly questions things and certainly suffers from self doubt and the whole revenge itinerary that he started out with has become greatly muddied by the fact that he’s made friends with his enemies – it seems after all that maybe not all the Golds are bad after all!

There is obviously the inclusion of characters from the first book although the author is quite ruthless at ‘erasing’ characters. Mustang, Roque and the Howlers and on top of that we have some new additions – I particularly liked Ragnar.

As I said I’m not going to go into the plot as it would totally spoil so much of the surprise that awaits.

The setting was a surprise here – where the first book felt almost mediaeval with it’s battles to the death played out in a warfare type world with castles and forests and ponies this book is practically majestic in scope and planted more firmly in the sci-fi world with spaceships, sophisticated armour and weapons, grav boots and defence shields.  Not everything takes place in the stars of course but this was a surprise for me and I confess very well done.

This is an incredibly fast paced and emotional ride that will take you up high before crashing down low at great speed.  It’s very clever, in fact the way the plot twists and turns is really quite fascinating and even when there are snippets that you might predict they’re usually only a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.

And the other thing that I really like about this book is the whole concept behind the perfect civilisation.  All the colours being born into their particular livelihood with no movement between ever being allowed.  Such a strange regimented world with Darrow being the perfect example of how it doesn’t work – he really does excel more as a Gold than most born into such positions.  It takes the whole notion of survival of the fittest to a new level and is a great theme to explore.  Brown writes with a lot of classical ideas often quoting latin and the like and the concept of the colours seems almost to be based on Plato’s idea for a just city – although that never really quite worked out either.  Basically human nature will interfere with the best laid plans.

A very gripping read.  Emotional.  A bit of a roller coaster and with an ending that, whilst predictable to some extents, was jaw dropping in the extreme in others.

I await the final instalment eagerly – particularly as this book didn’t come to a nice satisfactory conclusion!

I received a copy of this book through the publishers via Bookbridgr for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Just finished reading Red rising by Pierce Brown – I confess that I went into this with maybe slightly negative feelings.  I was feeling a little bit meh about another futuristic dystopian novel.  Lets face it Collins was to dystopia what Meyers was to Vampires and frankly it became a little bit tedious to say the least.  So, let’s just assume I was going to be a little bit of a tougher nut to crack on this novel than I sometimes feel when I start reading.  This is the first thing that makes it so much more surprising that I totally enjoyed this book.  Not only did Brown win me over but he gripped me and had the pages turning so fast that you could be forgiven for thinking I was Johnny 5 – need input!

Okay, the novel gets off to a fairly quick start.  We’re introduced in short measure to the mining community and I’m talking about the mining community on Mars!  These people work bloody hard – they have to make a quota in order to eat.  The idea of luxuries is ridiculous beyond measure.  These people have nothing – however, what they do have is love and passion in abundance.  In that respect they are rich and their families bathe in the wealth of love that they all hold for each other.   Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of harsh competition between the different families, which is understandable given the benefits, but they all still have a fairly tight knit community.  Now, all that, came across in fairly short measure.  Brown has a wonderful eloquence with words that imparts knowledge without impeding the story.  What happens next is eye opening for you the reader and for Darrow who is the main protagonist.  Yes, we’ve both been taken for a ride here – by someone.  There is some pretty deep shit going on here!  And, I don’t want to give it away – however, this is a review so I have to write something and I’m going to move the story on without telling you exactly why.  Suffice to say that Darrow finds himself in a situation where he is part of a team, warring against other teams for the prize of becoming the best.  This is not a fight to the death – this is a game of survival and tactics, a game of politics and making friends where you least suspected.  A game where you can rise to the very top.

So, onto a more critical analysis.  The setting.  Easy to visualise.  Nothing too over the top in the way of future sophisticated scenery just a glimpse, not enough to date the story too quickly.  Basically the people on earth have discovered ways of colonising other planets.  They need a certain gas (found beneath the exterior of Mars – hence the miners) in order to do so.

The characters – we have a brief glimpse at the beginning of the miners and they really do have the pretty fuzzy end of the lollypop, which makes the reveal so much worse.  Obviously the main character is Darrow – and he’s a dilemma.  He starts off the story with a fire in his belly.  He is on a mission which is not necessarily the one he wants but it’s the only chance he has.  Having read the book I’m not sure about Darrow  I don’t dislike him, in fact the opposite, however I think that Brown is clearly trying to get across how a person is influenced by their environment.  Darrow is in a competition and he wants to win. Of course he wants to win for a purpose and yet reading the story does he also start to become a tiny little bit like the people he most hates – anyway, I move into other realms.  There are plenty of characters, slimy two timers, hench-can’t-be-stopped-don’t-mess-with-me-mothers and straight-up-crazy-arsed-in-a good-way-runs-with-wolves-and-scares-the-shit-out-of-everyone types.  Basically there are good guys and bad guys on every team, in fact there are right and wrong people in every strata – and that’s the way it is and it starts to come out as the story goes along.

Anyway, the whole dystopia boils down to the fact that society has become segregated.  People are born and live into a colour that defines them for the rest of their lives.  Reds are miners, Golds are the top echelon of society and then there are a whole variety of colours in-between.  Looked at in that way and in the way that the book is written it seems almost an exaggerated take on the class system.  There are more stratas than upper, middle and lower class but at the end of the day it boils down to the uppers and lowers which are basically the ones where the disparity are most likely to show issues in any society.  As an example, you have people of the upper stratas killing time and flying around on their hover boots chasing young girls to frolic away the afternoon whilst others of the lower factions are struggling to make a living and stay alive.

What makes this book so readable and so intense is the competition that Darrow becomes a part of.  It’s really tough.  I don’t know whether this is YA, but I personally thought it was due to the age of the main protagonist and yet this gets down right dirty and ugly. This isn’t a simple game of survival – it gets much more tough than that.  It’s a gritty read and also reads almost like a straight up fantasy given the setting which during the games is almost mediaeval.

Anyway, this is a very cryptic review because I don’t really want to give too much away.  I enjoyed this. I thought the writer’s style was addictive.  I found the whole competition intriguing and I’m perfectly sure that I’ve missed a lot of nuances that I’m sure everybody else will pick up on.  So read it and tell me what I missed.

A book which I have no hesitation in recommending.

I received a copy of this from the publishers through Net Galley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.