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Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy) by Chuck…
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Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy)

by Chuck Wendig

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3.5/5 stars. "That's life in the Heartland," they say. And they say it when life is hard and terrible and there's nothing they can do about it but go on. Welcome to a dystopian world where Heartlanders live on the ground and tend the genetically modified corn, while the Empyreans who live in floating cities high above them make all the rules and reap all the benefits. Welcome to a world where even growing tomatoes can get you arrested or killed and where the corn can't be eaten and is out for your blood.

Something I particularly liked about these books was the language. It's very... in-your-face. Nobody vomits, instead people puke. They endure piss-storms. It's a plain language, that makes a great deal of sense for a group of people who have been denied any education and who spend their lives surrounded by hardship. They don't make anything fancy; they deal with life as it is.

In "Blightborn" we find Gwennie living on a floating city, mucking out stables and being dragged off to a party as if she's an exhibit. Her mother's working as a maid, her father in engineering, and her brother will be given to a family looking to adopt. The Lottery is not at all what the Heartlanders believe it is. Meanwhile Cael and his crew Lane and Rigo are trying to get onto a floating city in order to find his sister, Merelda, and bring her home. But they get caught by raiders, Gwennie gets involved with rebels on the floating city, and their paths bring them all crashing together. (Provided by publisher.)
( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
5/5 stars
You can find all my reviews here
*Disclaimer: I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Are you looking for a book that will crush your soul into a million pieces, not just once, but multiple times throughout the pages? If you answered yes then this is definitely the book for you. I’m not even kind of joking. At one point I actually set my kindle down with tears in my eyes and quietly asked “Why Chuck, why are you doing this to me?!” to my empty room.

That being said this IS the second book in the series so I’ve decided not to talk about what happens throughout the book. My review for the first book in the series, Under the Empyrean Sky, is located here Just know if you do read Under the Empyrean Sky and like it that this one is better than its predecessor. Seriously I liked the first book a ton, I told everyone who came within a five mile radius of me that it was great and that I needed to get my hands on the second book immediately. And now I’m DYING inside not having any one to talk about this series with. Please, for the love of Jeezum Crow (you’d understand if you read it :() read the book so I can talk about it with somebody.

Again there were minor flaws throughout that I noticed but very, very few and as it is an uncorrected proof it’s safe to assume those miniscule issues would be corrected if you purchased the kindle copy. I can see why someone may have issues with this book but for me everything worked. The relationships, amazing, the jumpiness that comes with multiple POV, super well done, and the dialogue, I loved it to bits. This trilogy was one I started on a whim because of an interesting cover featuring a floating city above a cornfield and has become dear to my heart. Now to find a copy of the final book in the series, The Harvest. ( )
  MarandaNicole | Jul 23, 2015 |
Chuck Wendig is still going strong. I have yet to read a Wendig novel that hasn't been worth the time spent, and BLIGHTBORN is absolutely no exception.

Wendig throws you into the action in a world filled with blood-hungry corn, flying cities, and rebellion.

This is book 2 in a trilogy, so if you haven't read book 1 (UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY) you should. Little time is spent on catching the reader up on happened before, so if you're unfamiliar with Chuck Wendig's work, this is not the book to start with. ( )
  JoshuaAtkins | Apr 13, 2015 |
I make it no secret that I’ve been in a bit of a YA slump lately. This year saw a few of my favorite YA series finishing their runs and I’ve been flitting around checking out more books to fill the void, and it’s been difficult finding anything that clicked with me. This has led to discouragement and no small amount of burnout, so I’m really glad for books like Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King and now Chuck Wendig’s Blighborn to come along and snap me out of my funk.

If you’ve read the first book of The Heartland Trilogy, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Under the Empyrean Sky was a real shaker-upper for me, making itself stand out from a lot of Young Adult dystopians novels by being surprisingly candid and authentic. The Heartland is a rough place that breeds rough folk, a place where killer corn, deadly Blights and piss-blizzards are an everyday reality. After several YA sequels have disappointed me earlier in the year for having plots that are unimaginative and contrived, Wendig’s refusal to sugarcoat or hold anything back is exactly what I needed. Blightborn was interesting and unpredictable, much like life in the Heartland.

The book picks up where the first one left off, with Cael, Rigo and Lane on the run, looking to find a way skyward to the Empyrean flotilla. Right on their heels are Boyland Barnes Jr., Rigo’s father, and Wanda, who all have their reasons to pursue the three friends. Boyland wants revenge, after believing Cael killed his father. Rigo’s father just wants his son back. And Wanda hopes to be reunited with Cael, her “Obligated”. However, Cael’s heart already belongs to Gwennie, who is living the life of a Lottery winner on the floating city of Ormond Stirling Saranyu and is realizing it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

As you can see, interwoven between the various plot threads are these intricate relationships between the characters which add a lot to the story, so I highly recommend grabbing the Under the Empyrean Sky before reading Blightborn to fully experience all the underlying nuances. Wendig continues to explore and develop these relationships, especially when it comes to the dynamics between Cael, Lane and Rigo. As their fight for survival intensifies, the three friends learn to trust each other. Over a number of intense and sometimes touching scenes, they discover new things and gain a deeper understanding of each other and themselves in the process.

Romance also isn’t a central focus of this series, but love and devotion certainly plays a part. It’s the motivation behind so much of what the characters do, after all, with Cael and Boyland both going after Gwennie, Wanda after Cael, etc. Usually, I have very little patience with stuff like love triangles – or God forbid, love squares – but I’ve come to appreciate the complicated emotions flying between all these characters and the fact that they never remain static. Cael and his friends do a lot of growing up, and with growth also comes a more mature way of looking at the world and others. Cael, for example, is much less self-absorbed in this book, learning to put himself in his friends’ shoes, and sometimes even in his enemy’s. While he and Boyland have always been at odds, Cael can still admit to himself that what the other boy feels for Gwennie could be genuine and respect that, which is a huge step for him as a character in my eyes.

Another thing I loved about this book is the expansion of the readers’ world into the skies. We’d heard over and over about the corruption and decadence of the Empyrean in the first book, and now we finally get to catch a glimpse of how the elite live. It was important to see the huge disparity between life on the flotilla and life down in the Heartland as it builds the story up quite a bit, setting up the stage for new players like the Sleeping Dogs rebels, who do their share of stirring things up both in the skies and on the ground. No dystopian novel is complete without an uprising, and the pressure that has been around since the first book finally boils over in Blightborn, culminating in a stunning climax, but not before Wendig takes us on a crazy wild ride to get to that point.

I highly recommend this series, especially if you’re a fan of Chuck Wendig. I’ve always loved his writing style and characters, and that hasn’t changed even with his venture into YA dystopian. Books like this one keep me excited about the genre! ( )
  stefferoo | Jul 28, 2014 |
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Along with his pals Lane and Rigo, Cael journeys to the Empyrean to rescue his sister and Gwennie, risking everything while outmaneuvering Boyland, while Gwennie makes a bold move that changes the course of an Empyrean man's life.

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