Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy, which MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog called “better than The Hunger Games.”
It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.
What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
In place of action packed and at the edge of your seat moments, we get something that’s more emotionally intense. We also get a different side to Saba who’s not the Saba Blood Red Road introduced. But first to the positives, the language remains the same, basic and a reflection of who they are. It was never that hard to get into for me and was in fact one of the things that drew me in to begin with…and all that is still present. In fact, her voice in this one is so clear that her conflict comes clear across.
As to that, her conflict and the story, I mean, those have taken direction wholly unexpected, mainly because she’s not the same girl I’d come to admire. This one is filled with rash decisions on her part that made no sense considering the Saba of old, but was making more and more sense with the current Saba, the suffering and haunted version in mind. And though I was uncomfortable and a bit disappointed by these changes… I was still swept along
Imagine her, from being kick ass and doing what had to be done, being mean at certain points but always with purpose, to her acting or more apt, reacting… rashly. A lot of what happens here stem from little thinking on her part, instead a lot of reacting, but reactions to what exactly? Lugh for one but Jack for the most part, and if the truth were told, a lot of Lugh’s moments had me wondering why he was rescued to begin with. Plenty has changed and it’s most evident between them. A friend of mine raised a point that I am only now seeing: that Saba’s motivations for her twin was a little like that between George and Shaun in Feed. I didn’t see then it through her eyes, but now with the growing distance between the two, I found myself thinking this possible. But it boils down to this: he was what all her fuss was about in book one?! Throughout, I failed to see what was in him to propel all of them to act the way they did in BRB. Now Jack… oh Jack, Jack, Jack *shakes head* I’d have loved to see more of you in this but what your absence does to Saba was… ergh…well, I have no words.
Again, it’s not as action filled but more harrowing in the emotional sense. It’s Saba who takes things that route. Saba who’s haunted by a number of things, and it’s in this state that a number of infuriating things are decided on then done. All that and the anguish and silent suffering going on with her leads to hastily made decisions that infuriated me, but made sense considering where her head was at the moment.
Though we’ve characters who are so far from perfect that their decisions had me wondering why I was rooting for them at all, I got swept along nonetheless because despite being far from perfect, and being as flawed as they were, this is a story that’s got some of what I like: conflicted characters, changing directions, new developments and secondary characters that push them along.
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