It took me a few days to read Blood Red Road, and I thought that the same reading time would apply to it's sequel, Rebel Heart. Not the case. I read this thing in a day. It was a couldn't put it down, didn't look at page numbers, totally in the Dustlands with everyone, situation. Here's my warning that there may be spoilers ahead...but I'll try my best to be as vague as I possibly can.
There's a price on Saba's head.
They call her the Angel of Death. She defeated a tyrant, but victory has come at a cost. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, she needs Jack. His moonlit eyes, his reckless courage, his wild heart. But Jack has left, and a ruthless new enemy searches for Saba across the Dustlands...
While not as action laden as Blood Red Road, Moira Young's second Dustland book features plenty of character development. Rebel Heart has a lot in common with Lauren DeStefano's Fever in the sense that just because you defeated/escaped the big bad of the first book doesn't mean that all of your problems will fade away and your happily ever after will appear out of nowhere.
For a start Lugh and Saba's once close relationship has completely fractured by the events of Blood Red Road. It's frustrating because throughout the book there's no communication between any of the characters. If only Lugh would tell Saba of his experiences of being held hostage by the Tonton. If only Jack could tell Saba his plan. But then if these secrets were divulged, Rebel Heart would be rather boring...
Lugh's not the only one with problems. Saba's own guilt has been manifesting over all the girls that died during her stint as a cage fighter and also over her part in Epona's death. It's a tough choice to take your strong narrator and show her weaknesses, but it pays off by making Saba appear human. The only grating part is when Saba tries to go off on her own again, only to be chased down by the rest of the gang. You'd think that by now she'd realise that her friends and family aren't going to let her go that easily.
Then there's the developments between Saba and DeMalo. I sort of knew that Young was going in this direction ever since DeMalo's first appearance in Blood Red Road, so it wasn't a big shock. I'm not one for love triangles, but people do silly things when they feel that they've been betrayed. At least Saba realises that she may have made a mistake, and the portrayal of that is at least an adult, and real, representation of what life sometimes throws at you. Though I am interested as to who the heart stone was directed at in the last scene, and to have DeMalo's ambiguity of character cleared up. Just what does he want?
Rebel Heart isn't as thrilling as Blood Red Road, but that's not to it's detriment. If anything I have a clearer idea about who these characters really are. I do wonder what direction Young will take the plot and her characters in for the third book. It's a shame I've got to wait until January 2014 at least until I find out. Bah.