Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands, Book #2
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Those are the last three words of this book, but they sum up the whole of this novel beautifully. Those same words appear over and over in the novel, and the characters feel them time and again. I think every reader will come to know them as truth by the end, as well. (I know I felt gutted by the time I finished, anyway.)
If Blood Red Road was a strong debut, then Rebel Heart is an epic sequel. Remember all the crazy from BRR? The cage-fighting? The giant sand worms a la Beetlejuice? The epic battle for freedom? Young does not disappoint with her follow-up novel. In fact, I may have enjoyed Rebel Heart even more than Blood Red Road, if that's even possible. It was an emotional crazy, in addition to all of the other epic craziness.
I truly love books centered around a quest...especially quests to find loved ones. That's why I loved BRR in the first place. But Saba's on a new quest now. And she's truly finding herself along the way, even if the path is a little bumpy. Okay, A LOT bumpy. Saba is a truly flawed character: she's gutsy but impetuous and she often causes trouble for herself and her companions because of that combination. She's grown even more as a character in Rebel Heart, but that girl has a lot of growing yet to do. And boy does Lugh like to remind her of that. As if he'd have had the fortitude to rescue her had she been the one taken instead.
By the end of the book, everything that's happened becomes Saba's fault. Maybe she did set everything that's happening in motion, but she's plagued by ghosts of her own. Lugh's got a serious chip on his shoulder throughout this book, and there were times when I wanted to grab him by the collar of his shirt and give him a few good shakes. Does he not remember that he'd
possibly maybe probably be dead if it weren't for his sister?
Another thing I loved about this sequel is that the secondary cast of characters gets a lot of attention, even that stubborn, pig-headed Lugh. Oh, oh, oh...also, DeMalo. Yep. You didn't think we'd seen the last of him, did you? His character, although a bit player in the first book, intrigued me to no end. That intense look he shared with Saba...what was that all about? Maybe you'll find out in Rebel Heart and maybe you won't...you'll just have to read it to find out. :P There are some new characters that I took a real shine, too, as well, including a large man wearing a frilly pink dress. (The story on that one was quite entertaining.)
Rebel Heart might have been a bit slow-going in the very beginning with only sporadic action sequences, but once that pony sets her pace, she is off on a gallop and you won't know what hit you! This novel was engaging and humorous and ruthless and tragic, and I cannot believe I have to wait another year for the next installment. Also, I still can't tell you for sure if that's Jack on the cover. That would be my best guess since Lugh has long hair when we meet him, but we all know that the cover models don't always mirror the description in the text of the book. At any rate, the new covers have grown on me, much as the dialect and rugged nature of the books did. These are some of my favorite books to see sitting on my shelves.
"If restless spirits ride the Wraithway, they ain't Wreckers. They're nature spirits. The spirits of earth an water. Of air an plants an creatures. With every right to ride vengeance on men."
"An all the time, Lugh's goin, Yer the boss, Maev. Yer the daddy. Maev knows what she's doin, Lugh. Hijackin an horse stealin's her business. Newsflash, girls. This ain't no horse. It's a gawdamn camel!"
"Fleas plague you, she says. Swamp skitters can kill you, an a little thorn--so small you hardly notice--it can work its way unner the skin an after a bit, yer hand's infected. Maybe you lose a couple of fingers, maybe the whole hand. Maybe yer blood goes bad an you die. Tiny things can cause plenty of trouble. Cheer up, people!"