Rebel Heart

Rebel Heart

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Blood Red Road. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Rebel Heart was written by Moira Young and first published in 2012. It forms the middle part of the Dustlands Trilogy, following the critically acclaimed Blood Red Road (2011) and preceding Raging Star (2014). The novel follows on from precisely where Blood Red Road left off and, although it explains what happened in its prequel pretty well, I think it would be difficult to fully appreciate unless you have read this story.

Ever since the destruction of Freedom Falls, Saba has been unable to sleep. Shades of all those that she has killed – particularly Epona – have begun to haunt her, preventing her from hunting and causing her to gradually lose the ability to distinguish between dreams and reality. The only thing that spurs her on is the belief that her family will soon be able to settle down to a peaceful life at the Big Water and that her lover, Jack, will meet with them there.

But everything is not how she imagined. Over the time that he has been held prisoner, Lugh has changed. He is bitter towards Saba for not rescuing him faster and treats her as though she belongs to him, voicing his extreme jealousy towards Jack. To make matters worse still, Saba soon learns that Jack has abandoned them, joining the cruel Tonton and leading them in a vicious attack that virtually wiped out the surviving Free Hawks.

Unable to accept that Jack has joined with their enemies, Saba sets off to discover the truth for herself. However, her quest takes her deep into New Eden – the Tonton’s new utopia. She soon discovers that these lands hold terrible new dangers for her. The leader of the Tonton, DeMalo, is offering a huge reward to the person who can bring Saba to him. With no one to trust, Saba is forced to head into the lion’s den once more to be reunited with the man she loves.

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Blood Red Road

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Blood Red Road is the first part of the Dustlands Trilogy. It was written by Moira Young and first published in 2011. It also won the Children’s Book Award in the Costa Book Awards that same year. Its sequel, Rebel Heart, is also currently available in paperback while the third part of the trilogy, titled Raging Star, is due for release later this year.

The story is told as a first person narrative from the perspective of a teenage girl named Saba. Saba has grown up in isolation, living her entire life on a small ranch with only her father, twin brother (Lugh) and younger sister (Emmi) for company. Their father is reluctant to allow them to leave the area, claiming that the outside world is a dangerous place.

Saba’s life is quickly thrown into chaos as a band of outlaws attack their homestead during a sandstorm. In the fray, Lugh is kidnapped and her father is murdered. Unable to comprehend the idea of life without her brother, Saba leaves the homestead for the first time as she sets out to rescue him.

Her quest is immediately complicated by the addition of Emmi. Unable to leave her sister to fend for herself, Saba is forced to bring the girl with her – pushing their already strained relationship to its limits. It quickly becomes apparent that this problem is only one of many that she must face as the world beyond the ranch is filled with endless rolling deserts, slavers, drug addicts and deadly beasts. Driven by her desperation to be reunited with Lugh, Saba is forced to brave all of these as she seeks to find out why he was stolen from her.

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