The One Flaw In Morning Star And How I Would Have Fixed It

rrseriesMorning Star was an amazing conclusion to the epic Red Rising series.  And while there are parts I liked more and didn’t like as much as previous books, I still gave it a perfect score in the end.  Because books can have flaws and still deliver an amazing story.  But there is one part of Morning Star that really stuck with me as being a mistake and I can only discuss it while spoiling some things.  So this is your warning.  [WARNING: AFTER THE BREAK WE’VE GOT SOME MAJOR MORNING STAR SPOILERS SO GO READ THE BOOK ALREADY AND THEN COME BACK.]

Morning Star begins with the painfully long section of Darrow’s imprisonment and torture.  It’s uncomfortable to read and I should know because I read it twice (the first few chapters were released early but I reread them when the book came out).  I believe they were intentional, both to drive home why Darrow is not the raging war beast of Golden Son in ability and desire and also to help set up the slower, more deliberate pacing of the final book.

One aspect of Darrow’s torture that is revealed to us is that the rest of the Society believes Darrow to be dead.  The Jackal created a false video showing Darrow killed and even his friends believed it to be true.  Sevro didn’t, but that’s because Sevro is the exact lovable goblin bastard who wouldn’t believe that video.  Everyone else saw the video and trusted it to be true.  But now they know better because Darrow is waging war.

In the middle of the war we’re told that even though Darrow’s army is comprised of members from all colors, things are a bit tense between the old factions.  This comes to a head when the Jackal broadcasts a video showing the execution of Darrow’s beloved Uncle Narol.  His army sees the video and it so upsets the Reds and other lowColors that they want justice on Golds and other leaders, even if those are allies belonging to the color.

Wait, did you say a video?

It seems the entire galaxy has forgotten that the Jackal knows how to fake videos.  Or that in a technological age of interplanetary ships and terraforming the population no longer has access to Photoshop.  The moment was important for the story in how it fractures the army and leads to a reforging of their bond (and gave Sevro one of his best moments in the series), but the instigating moment felt strange to me.  As I was reading the passage I thought it was fake just like the Darrow video was fake–and yet not a single character asks if it was fake.  It is accepted and everyone freaks the Hel out over the video.  To me, that’s a flaw.

Here’s how I would have fixed it.  The book establishes that even though giant armadas are mobilizing for war you can still fire a single torpedo across a long distance.  Roque’s body is put into a torpedo and launched for the sun–that makes sense because it’s a big enough target and the torpedo might be avoided if another ship sees where it’s heading.  So on that note, what if instead of executing Darrow’s uncle and putting it on future YouTube, the Jackal had instead loaded Uncle Narol into a torpedo and launched him toward Darrow’s fleet?  Maybe he makes it move slowly, fitted with a transponder to make it obvious.  Maybe he even decorates it with war paint saying Narol has a message for the Reaper.

Cautious, Darrow and the fleet bring the torpedo on board.  They are wary of a trap, but they see it is Narol inside.  So they decide to take the risk and open it.  At the last minute, Sefi steps forward and insists on opening the torpedo.  She says she knows Ragnar would have done it for Darrow, so she takes the duty.  They open the casket and Narol wakes up.  But he’s panicked–he knows it was a trap.  And all he can manage is a pitiful “Sorry, Darrow.  I’ll see you in–” before the bomb embedded in his gut explodes.  Sefi is injured, which helps push her over the edge to declaring war on all Golds, and everyone knows for sure that Narol died because it happened on their shuttle deck.

Same result, better process.  At least to me.  But what do I know–I sure as heck didn’t write three awesome books comprising the Red Rising series.

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Ryan Garcia

Father of two boys, husband, attorney for Dell (Social Media, Retail, Gaming), Broadway geek, comic book geek, science fiction geek, gadget geek.

5 thoughts on “The One Flaw In Morning Star And How I Would Have Fixed It”

  1. I like that! Good idea.

    My biggest problem with the book was actually the death of Ragnar. It doesn’t make any sense that Darrow would allow Ragnar to fight Aja, knowing full well that Aja is versed in fighting styles to which Ragnar would have no recourse. ESPECIALLY after Mustang just risked her life to save Ragnar under water, you’d think they’d be doing everything they could to keep him alive and make sure he gets the chance to talk to (read: kill) his mother and recruit the Obsidians. Putting him in such danger seemed both stupid and out of character.

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    1. That was a bit rushed–but at least they tried to explain it as a rare opportunity to take out two important figures for the Sovereign. And the plan, remember, was for Mustang’s shot to take out Aja. That was thwarted at the last second which caused everything to go sideways. But once it was Ragnar vs Aja, we knew how that would end.

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      1. Ha! Might have been that way too. They had a lot of advantages going for them–picking the place, the ambush, the weather. But yeah, she was set up to be the boogeywoman and she delivered. I like to imagine that final fight with Aja and the Sons similar to that scene from the Captain America Civil War trailer where Cap and Bucky take on Stark.

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  2. Octavia insisted to remove Darrow’s muzzle when she was about to execute him so people know that it was actually him. Narol spoke in his execution which I think convinced everyone that it was indeed him that got killed.

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