Where do I even begin with Moira Young’s REBEL HEART? I loved the first book in this series (BLOOD RED ROAD), and while I didn’t think it possible, I might love REBEL HEART even more. Jack is bringing bad news to an old friend while Saba is heading west for Big Water along with her sister, Emmi, and recently rescued brother, Lugh. Jack plans to join them as soon as possible, but the Tonton are still roaming the land and are as ruthless as ever under their new commander. Things get complicated for both parties; and Saba, after hearing ugly rumors about Jack, must decide how willing she is to blindly follow her heart.
So what made me love this more than BRR? It was the same, and yet different. The stakes felt higher, even when the first half of the novel was much slower. Lugh is an ass; he’s clearing suffering from whatever happened to him during the course of his kidnapping, but he refuses to share that burden with anyone. Saba is plagued by odd visions amidst the desert landscape. Emmi has grown and matured, but is still the endearing sister I remember. But the writing! It was stunning and atmospheric. The dust and dirt and grime and heat of this near water-less world has never felt more real. And no one ever felt safe. Even with the clipped, barren dialect, I felt fear as clearly as I imagine the characters did. Above all, I respect Young for letting her characters make mistakes. Saba makes some pretty rotten choices in this novel, and yet I still rooted for, still sympathized for her. I believe it is the faults in her character, her decisions to react first and think later that make her feel so real and so terribly human. In fact, most characters in this novel are a muddled shade of gray and I love that about them. They are a blend of friends, family, couples, strangers. It doesn’t matter. They’re just trying to find their piece of happiness in an extremely dreary world. And Young brings them all to life–even the secondary characters that don’t say more than a half-dozen things throughout the novel. They all feel real and so I can’t help but root for them and cry with them and stress over their safety. I am SO EXCITED for the final book in this series.
Originally posted here