Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star

Stop whatever you are doing and go read Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Seriously, it’s that good.


My rating + review for each of the 3 books:

Red Rising – 5 Stars

The first 5-10% of the book is a little bit slow, and the “worldbuilding” elements (new words, terms, new races of humans) were a bit much for me, but not enough to bother me. Also, the first person present tense was very new for me, and took a bit of time to get used to. Then BAM, the story takes hold and never lets go. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such superb pacing. It has been quite some time since I’ve loved a book enough to lose A LOT of sleep to read it.

Pros: Incredible pacing; distinct, meaningful characters; simple yet sufficient worldbuilding; awesome premise; thematic parallels; complex yet understandable plot that both entertained in the moment and set up the next books nicely.

Cons: It didn’t bother me, but some people will HATE this book/series because of its obvious ties to Hunger Games. Like they are really, really obvious at times during book 1. And you know what? I liked the book even better for showing that its not necessarily a mind blowingly unique premise that makes a book awesome, it’s the execution.


Golden Son – 4.9 Stars

The sequel is really very good. One of the best sequels I’ve ever read, probably. And to be so consistently awesome with his pacing, Brown had to start somewhere he could launch right into the next portion of the conflict that mattered. But the character relationships that weren’t “on screen” for the first several scenes felt neglected. Particularly the primary romance sub plot. Overall though, it was incredible. Still lost a ton of sleep to this book.


Morning Star – 4.5 Stars

By the third book, the frequent plot twists pulled off by the character started to become obvious. Brown kills off just enough beloved characters off that you worry a bit about who is next, but by the third book you are pretty sure it’s not going to be any of the characters that the author has fallen in love with himself. I like happy endings as much as the next guy, but if I’m being honest, it started to feel like more of the same.

The friends turned villains theme didn’t work as well as I wanted it to, either: the outcome of the MC’s conflict with the “bads” could have been a lot more satisfying.  I get that the author is going for a realistic interpretation of how a group of friends torn apart by conflicting ideologies would/could act in war, but something about the Roque/Cassius storylines just felt… contrived. Roque’s storyline made some sense but could have hurt the feels a lot more instead of having your MC just turn into an emo bitch. And we all wanted to see Cassius come back to the fold. But the way it happened just felt sudden, and too easy.

Oh and the pacing took a hit in the third book. It was still good, better than almost any other book out there. But the break-neck speed of the other books took a back seat at times to long descriptions or exposition from the MC.

It was still an awesome book with a great ending, but at the same time I was glad that it ended after 3 books. Hence the 4.5.


These are the types of books that inspire me to write. The kind that drags you along for the ride, whether you like it or not. The kind that sticks with you, consumes you, perhaps even changes you in some small way.

Thank you, Pierce Brown. You talented bastard.

4 thoughts on “Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star

  1. I only read the first one, because Red Rising was not a very good book. I hated the main character–it felt like he was bragging half the time about his ‘helldiver hands’. There were a lot of holes in the plot, especially as it relates to changing him from a Red to a Gold. C’mon, if it was such a big deal to transform, how did they already have another Red in the competition? And then at the end, the pacing got fast, but WAYYY too fast… as if the author had to end the book so he could start querying agents all of a sudden because NaNoWriMo was coming up. I don’t even know why they needed the map, because they only went to 2 or 3 places it seemed.

    But to your point, this book did inspire me to write fiction when I read it last year. I realized that if this lousy Hunger Games knockoff could become a bestseller than it can’t be that hard to write novels. Now to be fair though, I had just finished three of the Song of Ice and Fire books, and the writing doesn’t even compare.

    • That’s fair. Even when reading (and loving) this book, I knew there were going to be people that hated it for its flaws… especially because it’s very derivative of Hunger Games. I’m also well aware that Red Rising isn’t a perfectly crafted masterpiece like aSoIaF, but I stand by my 5/5 rating (the same rating I gave GRRM’s series) because of all the things he does incredibly well.

      Best of luck writing your own book. How far along are you?

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