Rebel Heart (Dustlands) by Moira Young

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Rebel Heart (Dustlands) by Moira Young

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Follow up to the Costa-winning Blood Red Road is as pacy and action-packed as its predecessor. Fans of dystopian fiction won't be disappointed - although perhaps the progression of the central romantic relationship between Saba and Jack is a little unsatisfying.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Marion Lloyd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1407124366

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Saba has retrieved her brother Lugh, kidnapped by the Tonton, but at great cost. She's haunted by dreams of Epona, the friend she killed during the battle so that she wouldn't fall into enemy hands. Lugh is clearly damaged - affected by captivity in ways he just won't discuss. And she misses Jack, who has gone to tell Molly that Ike is dead, with a deep, inconsolable desperation. Travelling through the Waste is difficult, made even more difficult by the ghosts that haunt Saba's dreams. Halting at the camp of a seer, the party is reunited with Maev, who brings terrible news. Not only is there a price on Saba's head, and a terrible new leader for the Tontons, but Jack has changed sides and joined the enemy...

I loved Blood Red Road, the first in this Dustlands series, and the Costa judges agreed. It certainly ticked all my boxes: future catastrophe, a revenge Western setting, a female central character, spare, sparse prose. And Rebel Heart continues in the same satisfying vein, right from where we left off. Young keeps up a tremendous pace and the quest premise is just as breathless - in the first book, Saba sought her brother Lugh, and in this one, she risks everything to be reunited with Jack. The book is broken up into sections, each covering a stage of this journey and each a wild rollercoaster ride of danger and betryal.

Behind this, the relationships between the characters are as difficult as ever. In a world of hard choices, it's inevitable. Lugh, far from being grateful for being rescued, resents Saba's new and powerful personality. He's jealous of her feelings for Jack. Siblings grow up and grow apart and it's always hard. But in this dangerous world, everything is amplified and comes with risks attached and this group must stay united at all costs. And for how long can Saba maintain her faith in Jack, when all the evidence is to the contrary?

So yes, for fans of the first book, and this genre in general, Rebel Heart will be a truly satisfying read. There's plenty of action and Saba's potential to have a crucial effect on her world is revealed a little more. On the other hand, there weren't any surprises - I could have predicted the entire plot right from page one - and I found the resolution of the plot strand involving Jack's treachery and his love affair with Saba slightly anti-climactic.

Nitpicks aside though, if you loved Blood Red Road, you'll also love Rebel Heart. I did.

If you like a future catastrophe narrative coupled with a feisty heroine, you'll also enjoy Divergent by Veronica Roth. I think Inside Out by Maria V Snyder would also appeal.

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Buy Rebel Heart (Dustlands) by Moira Young at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rebel Heart (Dustlands) by Moira Young at


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