Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

In One Line:  the sequel to the superb Blood Red Road

Genre: dystopian epic

The Gist:

Obviously can’t give too much away as this is a sequel and don’t want to ruin Blood Red Road if you haven’t read it yet (why haven’t you read it yet? Read it. It’s awesome). But even though Saba and Lugh are reunited, Saba has some psychological demons to contend with following the heightened action at the end of book one. Plus there’s Jack, who she’s determined to be reunited with. Cue another quest narrative, a journey through the dust-lands confronting new friends, old friends, and potential new enemies. 

The Cover:

Hotness. Absolute hotness. I wasn’t keen on the original Blood Red Road cover, as I felt it was far too similar to Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, but the following paperback release was astoundingly good. This paperback cover matches that. I sincerely hope that that is Jack on the front. Because if you’ve read book one, you’ll already know that Jack is supremely delicious. And that cover model is making me all a-flutter proper Jack style. Serious hot stuff.

Blood Red Road Original Cover

Blood Red Road new cover

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • If you loved Blood Red Road as much as I did, you would have been waiting for this book for a while. I was desperate to get my hands on it. The tension between Jack and Saba, Saba’s electric personality, plus her relationship with her twin brother Lugh. Everything you were excited about and looking forward to is here. 
  • The lack of speech marks, the phonetic spelling - all help to create a tone and atmosphere that I loved to read. You get lost in the style, and whilst it takes a few pages to adapt to, once you’re there it’s like being lost in another world. 
  • Nero the crow is awesome. I want a Nero the crow. I have a Ruby the guinea pig, but she’s really not that intelligent and is only nice to me when I give her pieces of melon. Nero the crow is much more excellent.
  • Sexual tension comes from unexpected places in this book, and it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise. Some of the issues that arise are positively grown-up and a little beyond the YA zone. I think this is a good thing. As the readers mature, so do the books. You may not agree with some of the choices some characters make, but the way these choices are handled and conveyed to the reader are frankly brilliant. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Not enough Jack. There I said it. Don’t care if that makes this a spoiler for you. But just as Lugh was the source of the quest in book one, so Jack becomes the source of the quest in book two. I needed more Jack. I adore Jack. The lack of Jackness in this book just made me grumble under my breath.
  • I read Blood Read Road as an advance reader copy, therefore read it a few months before it came out. Then there has been quite a big gap before this book has arrived. So I forgot some stuff, some characters, some scenarios. I don’t think there was anything I missed, and Moira Young covers the background from book one as well as she can, but I just hated the fact that I had forgotten so much stuff about characters. 
  • Tommo. No. Stay a young boy. He was a child in book one. He’s not a child now. He didn’t work for me. Am not going to spoil anything for anyone, but I think you’ll all agree with me. 
  • Emmi failed me in this book. In Blood Red Road she was such an essential quality, but I feel that she didn’t have quite the same spark in this book. Perhaps it’s because she’s grown up a bit and isn’t a kid anymore, but the tension between her and Saba was so utterly brilliant in book one - not so brilliant here. 
  • DeMalo. Seth. Pathfinder. Whatever his name is. He’s left me feeling very confused, and I have a feeling that I’m going to remain confused until book three. Dammit. 

The Hypersomnia Test:

Passed! Because this book doesn’t have chapters - it just draws you from one scenario to another in quick snippets (neatly depicted by the appearance of Nero on your page) and I was just reading and reading and reading in the hope that Jack would turn up at some point. The Jack/Saba sexual tension was such a massive part of the enjoyment of Blood Read Road for me. The lack of it here really really really annoyed me. But I read it quickly because I was desperate for him. 

Final Verdict:

This book suffers from Middle Book Syndrome. You know it’s the second part of a trilogy, so somewhere in your mind you know you’re not really going to actually get anywhere. This makes reading Rebel Heart really frustrating. You always know you’re going to have to wait for the final part for the answers, and that you’re not going to get them here. This happens in every sequel within a trilogy. It’s never going to satisfy. In fact I’d be willing to argue that it’s impossible for a Middle Book to satisfy. It simply can’t, because it has to keep you hooked and ready for book three - which I hope isn’t going to be such a long wait away as the wait for this one. Another factor that disappointed me was that without Jack, this book lacked the spark of Blood Red Road. It’s a different book, with a different tone, and for me it didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of amazement that book one provoked. But I am excited about book three. SO LONG AS IT HAS MORE JACK. 

Further Reading:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Pure by Julianna Baggott

To buy Rebel Heart click HERE!!!

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