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Rebel Heart (Dust Lands) by Moira Young
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Rebel Heart (Dust Lands) (edition 2012)

by Moira Young

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2412947,848 (3.78)54
Member:Kwidhalm
Title:Rebel Heart (Dust Lands)
Authors:Moira Young
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2012), Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:75 Book Challenge of 2013, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Kindle

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Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Recently added byRevekka, private library, booksngirls, ArkhamReviews, ChickensAreBrave, nbmars, Pabkins
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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Although not a dreadful novel by any means, Rebel Heart is not a patch on its prequel. While I still enjoyed the setting and the distinctive written style, it still failed for me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the novel never really feels as though it gets moving and because of this feels more like a bridge between two halves than a story in its own right. While it never becomes boring, it takes almost half of the novel for Saba to start searching for Jack and the time before this is largely spent in dialogue.

The tone of the novel also seems needlessly dark. There is little brevity this time round and the whole cast remain perpetually angry at Saba, often exploding at her for no reason. There is little development to be had for anyone this time round and so they remain unchanged throughout their journey. The only character I felt was particularly interesting with DeMalo who, although endorsing some incredibly questionable activities, at least had a coherent plan that made perfect sense from his own perspective. I felt he made a very interesting villain and I'm curious to see how he develops in the next novel.

However, the story's biggest stumbling point was the characterisation of Saba. Although she was strong and determined in Blood Red Road, this time her personality was utterly neutered. The angel of death dies early in the story and instead is replaced by a girl who is the object of everyone's affections (fixating her love on Jack but also being obsessed over by Tommo, DeMalo and (in a non-sexual way) Lugh). It is really depressing to see one of my favourite Young Adult heroines becoming just another girl whose worth is measured on the men around her.

All in all this was still an ok novel but I really hope that Raging Star marks a return to the quality of Blood Red Road. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Jul 8, 2014 |
Note: There are necessarily spoilers for the first book in this series, but not for this book, Book Two of a trilogy.

This is the second volume of a post-apocalyptic trilogy called "Dustlands," that takes elements of Hunger Games, Knife of Never Letting Go, The Scorch Trials, a little bit of Dune, and others, and combines them into a riveting story that gets off to an excellent start.

In Book One, Blood Red Road, Saba and her twin brother Lugh have just turned eighteen. They live with nine-year-old sister Emmi and their sad, possibly demented father on a hardscrabble farm in a sand-dune covered landscape ravaged by the “Wreckers,” Earth’s former civilization (i.e., us).

Right after a violent dust storm, a group of men on horseback show up, kill the father, and kidnap Lugh to serve as a human sacrifice to the “King.” Saba vows to get Lugh back, and she and Emmi take off after them, along with Nero, her intelligent and loyal pet crow. She picks up other followers on her way, including handsome and sensitive Jack, and a group of loyal women warriors. They have all met each other in depraved Hopetown, where drugged up citizens are purged of their aggression by watching caged people fight each other; after three losses, the loser is let lose in the crowd, which happily and eagerly tears them apart.

Saba was captured and became one of these fighters, and was so successful she was known as The Angel of Death. But one of her opponents turned out to be a member of the resistance, and together they outwitted their captors and destroyed Hopetown.

At the end of the first book, Saba, Lugh, Emmi and other survivors of the escape set out for the fabled “Big Water” at the West Coast. But Jack can’t go yet; he has an obligation to fulfill. He promises to meet Saba there eventually.

In Rebel Heart, Saba, Lugh, Emmi and the others are making the long hard trek across the arid west to get to the ocean. As they wander through the desert to the promised land, Saba suffers a lapse in faith, and no longer knows what she believes or whom to trust. She is haunted by the deaths she has caused, and struggles to make sense of the changes in her brother Lugh.

On route, she finds out that the power behind the throne of the now-dead mad king, a man known as DeMalo, has reorganized the king’s army - the "Tonton” - and is “cleansing” the country for a New Eden led by him, “The Pathfinder.” Saba had two previous encounters with the charismatic and mysterious DeMalo; his gaze seemed to penetrate her very core, and he inexplicably saved her life both times. Now, he has put a price on her head, but demands she be brought to him alive. Meanwhile, Jack has become one of the Tonton, and Saba isn’t sure what to think. When she unexpectedly runs into DeMalo, her emotions, already raw from an encounter with a “Sky Speaker,” get turned inside out. She feels a Jane-Eyre-Rochester-like invisible line between her and DeMalo, and Saba doesn’t know what it means. She has a choice to make, and a lot of lives depend on her decision either way.

Discussion: This is a “middle child,” and as such there is more character development than world building. But the characters mostly take a turn for the worse. Saba is afraid she is losing her grip on reality like her Pa did, and for a while, it seems as if she might be right. And like Tris in the “Divergent” Trilogy following her own trauma, Saba can’t even shoot a weapon anymore. She has suddenly lost whatever had made her a warrior. Instead, she has become simpy, moony-eyed, and even cowardly. Saba is growing up, however, in some ways, gradually understanding that “Nobody’s like I thought they was. Nuthin’s like I figgered it. Nuthin’s like I thought it would be.”

Little Emmi is mature in many ways, except for her childish (and infuriating) loss of control whenever a lot of people’s lives are at stake and dependent on her cooperation. Again and again people die not because of Saba (as Saba believes) but because of problems precipitated by Emmi. She’s lovable and loyal, but that doesn’t help when so many die because of her.

Lugh, the “good” twin of the first book, is now definitely the bad one. There are a few allusions to some trauma he sustained while in the King’s prison, but could any trauma explain his total 180 in character?

DeMalo, menacing and minatory in Book One, is now like a little lovesick puppy, albeit one slightly off his rocker.

And then there is Tommo. In Book One, he is “near to [Emmi’s] own age.” Suddenly in Book Two, he’s closer to a man, and is clearly on the way to being a pyscho one at that.

Only Jack has stayed consistent. And Jack is a great character, but he plays only a minor role in this book.

Evaluation: Part of what made the first book in this series so good was the character of Saba, a loyal and fierce heroine who inspired admiration. In this book, Saba is wavering; her sister Emmi is annoying; and her brother Lugh is hateful. Still, it manages to be a good story. It’s not a standalone, however, and I’m hopeful for the third installment. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 3, 2014 |
“What happens to you changes you. Fer good or ill, yer changed ferever. There ain’t no goin back. No matter how many tears you cry.”

A few weeks have passed since Saba rescued Lugh from the Tonton. Jack has split off to go see Molly to tell her himself about Ike’s fate and afterwards plans to meet back up with the group at Big Water. Along the way, Saba’s journey is a constant struggle with the change in Lugh, the absence of Jack and the ghosts that seem to haunt her from her days of cage fighting and known to all as the Angel of Death.

I read Blood Red Road in 2011 and it was one of my favorite books of the year. It was an intense thrill-ride and the world Moira Young created was pleasantly unique. I had been warned about the unfortunate case of Middle-Book-Syndrome that Rebel Heart suffered from (which is why I waited until Raging Star was released before even bothering) yet even with my lowered expectations I was still extremely disappointed with this installment. In Blood Red Road we had Saba and Emmi setting out on their journey to save their brother but there were so many fascinating aspects to the story as a whole that made it memorable. There were some seriously awesome fight scenes, cage fighting, an intense prison break, a battle against hellwurms and the list goes. If those are some of the things you enjoyed about Blood Red Road, unfortunately I think you’ll be disappointed in Rebel Heart as well.

Rebel Heart served as more of a character advancement and while I understand the importance of that, the story definitely suffered from a lack of action. Rebel Heart, as the title indicates, is much more focused on matters of the heart. Or hearts, considering there’s something akin to a love square. It caused the story to become drudging and ponderous, especially when considered to the action-packed pages of Blood Red Road. Saba was introduced as a fierce character, yet in Rebel Heart she suffers from the horrors she faced and is tormented by post-traumatic stress disorder. Something like that could have been built into the story and developed Saba further as a strong character constantly overcoming obstacles but instead her PTSD is miraculously cured by a young shaman. As soon as she becomes ‘cured’ the storyline begins focusing ten-fold on her love life drama. It just felt unnecessarily dramatic and didn’t do this series any justice since the first book never treaded into the ‘romance’ territory. I wish it would have stayed that way. In addition, not only is their drama in her love life, she also has new drama in her relationship with her brother, Lugh. The verbal sparring was constant and Lugh was constantly grating on my nerves with his incessant complaining. Essentially, he replaced Emmi as most annoying character.

The writing style is identical to the first book with the poor spelling, strange dialect and the Cormac McCarthy-like lack of quotation marks. I read Blood Red Road in print but went with the audiobook for Rebel Heart. I must say that even though I enjoyed the storyline less, my reading experience was easier as I wasn’t constantly getting caught up in interpreting the dialect and trying to figure out if someone was talking or thinking. The narrator, Heather Lind, did a fantastic job and I intend on listening to her narrate Raging Star as well.

While Rebel Heart is clearly not my favorite installment of the series, I still remain hopeful that it will have a triumphant finale. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Jun 1, 2014 |
I really enjoyed "Blood Red Road", and was quite excited about the sequel. Uh, yeah... well, I am now carefully holding out hope that this book was just a build up or set up for the third book because...it was very disappointing.

It reminded me in many ways of the ENDLESS camping of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There was a LOT of angst that could have been avoided with a paragraph of "months passed much the same" or something like that.

Also, the character does some really STUPID, inexplicable things that I won't mention specifically-- but if you've read the book you probably know what I mean. There is little explanation for why she acts as she does, other than "the author needs to stir up trouble and angst."

So, it was an ok book. I liked the first one enough that I will read the third, but I really didn't enjoy the second one hardly at all. I spent nearly the entire time reading it cussing at the book and wondering why the protagonist was acting out of character...
( )
  Clare_M | May 25, 2014 |
I'm entirely shocked to find myself rating this 4 stars. I believe I gave book one a 2-star rating (if I didn't, I should have) because it was so spotty and lacking in character development. This was completely the opposite. While the ending was a but of a downer, I'm definitely interested to see where this series goes.

More here! ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
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After rescuing her twin brother from the Tonton, Saba experiences disturbing telepathic visions while being hunted by a cunning enemy.

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