Raging Star

Raging Star

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier novels in the series. You can read my reviews of these books [here] and [here].

Raging Star was written by Moira Young and published in 2014. The novel forms the final part of the dystopian Dust Lands Trilogy, continuing Saba’s mission to protect her family and liberate New Eden from the clutches of DeMalo and his Tontons. Raging Star is preceded by Blood Red Road (2011) and Rebel Heart (2012) and I would really advise reading them in sequence as they do not stand very well on their own.

It’s been a month since the attack on Resurrection and Saba’s life has never been more dangerous. She’s a rebel now – one of the Free Hawks reborn – and she’s made it her mission to defeat the Tontons through a series of systematic attacks around New Eden. However, when a bombing mission goes horribly wrong, she finds herself at DeMalo’s mercy once again.

This time, DeMalo’s demand is simple. If she consents to be his wife, he’ll ensure that all of her friends are safely exiled from New Eden. If she doesn’t, he’ll hunt them down and kill them all on the night of the Blood Moon. As this only leaves Saba with seven nights, she joins forces with Jack once again in a last-ditch attempt to spark rebellion within New Eden.

Yet there are added complications. Saba is exhausted and torn between her love for Jack and desire for DeMalo. When Nero goes missing, it also starts to become clear that there’s a traitor within the Free Hawks – one who would sooner make a deal with the Tonton than risk his life in a foolish rebellion. Saba can’t afford to fail but is it really possible to overthrow an entire regime in less than a week?

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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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