I'll be honest. I wasn't sucked into this book right away- it felt like Brown needed some time to really warm the story up. I also realize this is t..Show More »he foundational work for a saga, or trilogy at least. Once it got moving though... amazingly good. The four stars is just because of my perception of slow starting- other's mileage may vary.
There will be comparisons drawn to the Hunger Games. Having read those as well, I can say this is a far *far* more complex meditation on those themes in a much more adult way. It is worth the listen. I am left, as with other series I love that are just getting started, wanting more immediately. But, it looks as if we will have to wait some time for book two (Golden Son, Early 2015 release).
I loved the narration, but it imparted an interesting and almost assuredly unintended subtlety- I thought the Author was Scottish or Irish and making a commentary on English rule and oppression. Turns out the fellow is American and lives in LA. That's what I get for taking things to literally and then drawing subtle conclusions which others may not see, at all. A different narrator would have changed the book dramatically for me. I don't know whether in a good or bad way.
In the end, Brown drew me into an all encompassing vision of a dystopian future. I was fully invested in the outcomes of the major characters. I cannot wait for Golden Son.
I've listened to many books on audible and given five star ratings before. I'm going to have to adjust my grading scale after listening to this book...Show More » If this is the level of story a modern book can achieve... my god.
The best thing I can equate it to, without giving plot spoilers as others are, is Empire Strikes Back. Not in plot or delivery, but in that atmospheric brilliant success that is the example of the second episode not always falling short of the opener. This is such a sweeping and dark installment in a trilogy. While already set in a dystopian or I guess utopian (depending on your personal twisted perspective) world, Brown manages to hit an even more discordant note than Red Rising. Much more. In fact I'm still recovering from this listen.
The characters from Red Rising return, with some notable additions. The themes and concepts delineated in the first book are explored much, MUCH more deeply. Anyone who compares this to the Hunger Games or any of the scores of YA dystopia would likely compare their child's finger paintings to da Vinci. I weep for your soul.
Brown plumbs the depths of some of the most fundamental aspects of our humanity. What makes us... us? Is it our choices, our outward form? Is it our origins? Can we truly overcome our pasts or, more importantly, can we decide our futures? More troubling are the ruminations on the nature of evil; is it a static, constant thing, or does a slight switch in perspective change its visage? Each of the characters and the plot as a whole, reflects these questions. Unfortunately an answer is not readily available and we are left, intentionally I am sure, a quivering mass of raw emotion in Brown's wake.
While it may sound dramatic or grandiose, and is certainly personal opinion, I view this as the best book I have read in a decade. This book is worth a credit and 20 hours of your life. It will change you, carve you, in some measure. Whether for good or bad is to be seen.
The story of Darrow and his compatriots has been one of the purest pleasures of my recent memory. It is at once literary on the grandest of scales, c..Show More »omparable to Tolkien or Herbert, yet manages to encapsulate pulsating and driving action. There is an inaudible, but extremely present, heart thumping beat throughout this series and this finale.
I have long been a fan of the third act in a trilogy- for example I am more of a Jedi fan than Empire, even though I know Empire is objectively the better movie. I feel similarly about this book. Golden Son was, I feel, a better book. But, I love Morning Star the most because we have, in its words, the conclusion and driving point of the sword. It has hit its mark, deep in our souls. I, for one, am a better person for having heard this story. The message contained within is not one of violence for violence's sake, but rather one obsessed with the perils of humanity. What drives us. What makes our souls weep in joy and sadness. This is not to say that vengeance isn't part of the story- some of the most important moments in history and humanity have been fueled by vengeance. As it is with violence. But also love, forgiveness, and the capacity to change. Honor. Loyalty.
Brown takes us on a journey that tries, and succeeds, to balance these ideas masterfully. We are plunged into sadness and taken to the heights of victory, only to have the two become one in the end. Death begets death, begets death.
I was afraid, ever so slightly, that Brown would lose the momentum in this third book, that he would fall into some trap of writing or storyline inconsistency. This was, thankfully, a deeply unfounded fear. The storylines merged seamlessly in the end, to a truly satisfying conclusion. Please notice that this does not spoil anything- only that I thought the ending fit. There were many options and I am content with the one Brown chose.
At the beginning of this review I spoke of Tolkien and Herbert. I am going to say something which many may find offensive or wrong- I believe Brown has beaten them both, as well as many others. This series is, in my most humble opinion, the pinnacle of science fiction or fantasy. It does not matter in this listener's opinion if others agree since I have had the absolute joy of experiencing this story; for this I am quite thankful.
My highest marks possible, the book (and series) against which all others are judged. Magnificent.