Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)

Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)Author: Moira Young
Publication date: August 2nd 2012
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
Paperback, 393 pages
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I have a small confession to make, though it’s hardly a secret since my review is here for all to see: I wasn’t really a fan of Blood Red Road. In fact, I was so disappointed by it that I never intended to read Rebel Heart. That said, I’m happy it showed up on my doorstep completely unexpectedly. Painful as it may be, I like the direction the story is taking.

Rather than focusing on giant killer worms, Moira Young decided to explore the extent of human cruelty and willingness to survive. The pacing is noticeably slower, but Rebel Heart undoubtedly offers more than its predecessor – at least to a reader with my preferences. It is emotionally intense, grim and layered – I could actually feel the dust on my skin for the first time, and it was a most welcome feeling, one that told me Young has finally done it right.

If there’s one thing I admire about Young (other than the language, of course), it’s that she’s more than capable of surprising me. This is what sets her apart from most Young Adult writers: she goes where the story takes her, regardless of what it might mean for her, and even when it’s not easy for her characters and, ultimately, her readers.

Whatever objections I had to Saba’s character in Blood Red Road (and I had quite a few) no longer apply. It’s almost like she was still a work in progress then, and now she’s finally completed, damaged but consistent, well-rounded and perfectly clear. I didn’t necessarily approve of her actions or even like her most of the time, but I understood her and everything she did made sense to me.

After what she’s been through in Blood Red Road, Saba simply had to change one way or the other. I’m glad Young chose not to ignore the emotional trauma she would have suffered. Instead, all her decisions have repercussions that could have been foreseen, but in no way avoided. Spirits of the people she’s lost follow Saba’s every step. She is terrified and broken, afraid to touch her bow, and desperate to hide it from Lugh, who is in no better shape himself. Whatever the Tonton did to him left him bitter and furious – at Saba, at their father and especially Jack. It is so hard for Saba to admit that their relationship has changed, that they’re no longer the inseparable twins they used to be and that Lugh can no longer offer the same sense of security and warmth.
Here. Now. Alone. With none but my own heart fer witness, I’ll say it. Without Lugh, I’m able to breathe.
He smothers me. Chokes me. Pens me in. Tethers me to him with his worry and anger and sorrow and fear.

For most of this book, Saba and Jack are nowhere near each other, and yet he is always with her, every second of every day. I’m very uncomfortable with some of the events in Rebel Heart, but I accept them as proof of good writing and I can’t help but appreciate the risks Young decided to take. At this point, I can’t even imagine a happy ending for these characters.

But I’ll end this review on a more positive note. Here’s some candy for fellow Jack fans:
I think about Jack. Of how it’ll be when I see him agin. When he’s holdin me tight an I’m holdin him tighter an the heartstone’s burnin my skin.
I think of what we might say. Him to me. Me to him. I ain’t no soft girl. I don’t know no soft words.
Be with me, Jack. That’s what I’ll say. Burn with me. Shine with me.


  1. I am echoing your thoughts in that this series doesn't appeal to me, it sounds so gritty and raw and I don't know I have not been in the mood for heart wrenching books! Overall though i am glad you stuck with it. Lovely review as always. I hope you are wrong and they do get that happy ending! Alright starting The Prophet today. I had to finish Glitch and Poison Princess now I am good!

  2. Wow, I haven't read this series at all, but it does sounds original. I'm glad you liked this book more than the first book. I love the sound of a twin relationship, I always wanted a twin. it makes scenes that as twins get older they will have to face the world with out their twin on their side, and i guess Lugh face a tragic experience in the 1st book that caused him to change too. :) I'm glad this author decides to travel in surprising directions.
    Amazing review Maja!

  3. YAY! *does happy dance* You liked it! :D I'm so glad you enjoyed this one better than Blood Red Road! While I adored Blood Red Road to pieces, I like the thought of this novel being more slow, contemplative, and simply more thought-provoking in general. I did hear there was a love triangle in it though and the fact that some of the events in this novel made you uncomfortable does make me worried for the future of this series (and especially the characters) but like you, I'm eager to see some truly spectacular writing and creative plot lines. You've definitely made me much more excited to get my hands on this one than I was before Maja, so I simply cannot wait! Yet another absolutely brilliant review! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  4. So jealous that you got a copy of it! I'm very excited to read this when it comes out and your review just made waiting a bit harder.

  5. I'm always really happy to hear about sequels that improve on the first book so now you have me interested in this series, I originally thought it might not be for me.

    I'm really glad Saba improved, it can make all the difference to a book if the MC grows over the course of the story! Great review, Maja!

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Maja! Although I gave this the same rating as you, for me, Blood Red Road was just ever so slightly better. It's really interesting to hear your thoughts. I agree with a lot of your points - especially about Saba. Some of her actions weren't the easiest to agree with, but she was an interesting character. I'm worried about what will happen in the next book but very eager to find out too. :)

  7. Oh man...I had absolutely no intention of ever reading this and then you had to go and make me interested again. Darn you! ;) Seriously though, the slower pace, darker feel, and the fact that Jack is gone for most of the book - all of these things make me want to read it. I may have to try and get a copy. Great review, Maja!

  8. I'm a little worried to read this now, especially when you say you can't imagine a happy ending. I'm glad Saba seems to back off of her idolization of Lugh because that sort of creeped me out in BRR. Wonderful review but I'm wondering if I should wait until the last one is out to read this. :)

  9. I'm glad you liked this even though you had some initial reservations about picking it up in the first place. I honestly was uncertain about picking these two books up too, but now that I have both I'm quite eager to read them! Lovely review hun :)

  10. I haven't read Blood Red Road yet, but having seen a few good reviews around for this, I might pick it up some day, but I need the happy ending so I might wait and see how the series ends before I start it. Glad this one appealed to you more than the first one, great review Maja :)

  11. I've been very reluctant to start this series because of the language. I don't know if like you I'll like it or I'll find it confusing. But one of these days, I'm going to give it a shot. It's great to hear that the second book is better than the first one. I love when sequels manage to surprise me.
    I'm glad you enjoyed the book, Maja. :)
    Lovely review as usual!

  12. EEEEEE! I AM SO SO glad you enjoyed Rebel Heart, Maja! I absolutely loved Blood Red Road and even though I was a bit wary of the language, I did get used to it by the end of the book and I am so desperate to know what is going to happen with Saba and Jack! Thank you so much for putting that quote on your review too ;)

    Fantastic review, Maja! ♥

  13. Oh, thanks for the candy, Maja! <3 No, really. I almost thought that maybe this is not the book for me, but the quote in the end convinced me otherwise. So I'm torn here. Well, same story. Happened a lot, so just ignore me right now. :P

    Anyway, fantastic review, sweetie! <3 So glad that you enjoyed this more than Blood Red Road! <3

  14. Love those qoutes!!! Thanks for sharing and glad you picked this one up even if you weren't sure about the first one!


  15. I'm glad you liked this book better than the first book! Always a good sign xD Don't think it's my kind of book but fantastic review, Maja :)

  16. Yes! I'm so excited to read this. I really did like BRR so I'm expecting to like this one just as much, or even more. Especially after reading this review. I want it to be more emotional and gritty. I'm happy Saba and Jack are separated for much of the book--less cheese lovey-dovey stuff than in lots of books. (hopefully)Also, I'm happy to hear the pacing is a bit slower. I liked the first one but it could've done with less action and more development. Either way, I'm pumped. So thanks, love.

  17. I'm very, very glad to know that the giant worms take a backseat. Otherwise, it might remind me too much of good ole Dune. :)

    That said... I'm not sure I'm going to pick this one up. Sure, it does sound like the kind of thing I could really enjoy, but right now I need some powerful characters AND some happy endings. I'm not sure I'd survive the emotional strain that seems to be part of this book. Still, I'm going to keep it in mind, listed under "must come back to and reconsider!".

    Thanks for sharing!

    PS. By the way, you'll be glad to know I just started listening to the Chicagoland Vampires! Will let you know how I like it (^^)


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