Review: Rebel Heart (Young)

AUTHOR: Moira Young
SERIES: Dustlands, book 2
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
ISBN: 9781442430006
PAGES: 432
SOURCE: Edelweiss (my first time to use!)
GENRE: science fiction/ Western?
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS; fans of Blood Red Road

SUMMARY: When Jack and Saba separated at the end of Blood Red Road, Jack traveled west to locate Molly and inform her of Ike’s death. Saba, Lugh, Emmi, and Tommo are expecting to meet Jack in Big Water, but it’s easy to get sidetracked when Saba has a price on her head and Jack is rumored to have joined the Tonton.

REVIEW: What can I say about Rebel Heart? The story is all over the place. It starts off with Jack’s perspective as he travels to tell Molly of Ike’s death. It switches to Saba’s viewpoint about 25 pages in, and the story remains Saba’s until the end. Much of the book is slow-paced, with a long spirit quest taking up way too much time. There is almost no re-hash of events in Blood Red Road, and readers may want to skim back through Book #1 before starting Rebel Heart. I had difficulty remembering some of the characters and events.

For about the first 300 pages, I felt disappointed. Blood Red Road had so much action, and Rebel Heart just…didn’t. Jack was not in the story nearly enough (is that him on the cover? even though he is barely in the story?). But the last 100 pages sizzled! Young introduces some very…interesting…plot twists, and I truly have no idea where the story will go in the next book. I loved the ending and closed the book with little tears in my eyes.

Emmi, Lugh, Tommo, and Saba take center-stage in RH. The writing and character development are just as incredible as they were in BRR. Even the animals’ characters get developed! I LOVE the addition of Slim as a character; he reminds me a little of Wilf in Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. And that pink dress? ROCKS.

THE BOTTOM LINE: While it did not sweep me off my feet like its predecessor did, Rebel Heart is still really good and worthwhile for those who read Blood Red Road. A little slow and sometimes strange but definitely recommended. Bring on #3!

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Blood Red Road is popular, so we’ll be getting it. It does require some patience, so I don’t know if it will appeal to everyone who loved Blood Red Road.

READALIKES: Blood Red Road (Young); Divergent (Roth); The Hunger Games (Collins)


  • Overall: 4/5–pacing and not enough Jack make it a 4 for me
  • Creativity: 5/5–NOTHING like this series
  • Characters: 5/5–some of the best character development I’ve seen
  • Engrossing: 3/5–pretty slow for at least first half
  • Writing: 5/5–no doubt that Young can really write!
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5–tons of fans of first book, but some will abandon due to pacing
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5–again, pacing


  • Language: mild-medium; nothing worse than “gawdamn”, which is in there plenty
  • Sexuality: medium; offscreen rape, offscreen intercourse (nothing is described at all), kissing, use of the term “breeders” to describe pregnant women; several references to “whoring”
  • Violence: high; plenty of death, gore, “skellentons” cooking, head-hunters, weapons including guns, bombs, bow and arrow
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; characters drink wine, references to a drug called “chaal” and alcohol (called “hooch”)
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