, April 27, 2014
(view all comments by Disquietus)
I am still debating my rating of this book. I’m not even entirely sure what I just read. It’s predecessor, Blood Red Road, is one of my all-time favorite books, so naturally I was excited to read a sequel, despite feeling that it worked well as a stand-alone. Now, after reading Rebel Heart, I wish that Moira Young had left well enough alone.
The writing itself isn’t bad. I enjoy the unique dialect that Saba and the rest of the inhabitants of her world speak in. It fits the story and world so much better than a traditional writing style ever could. It’s simple without being simplistic. The vivid descriptions made it easy for me to visualize the brutal environment and the action-packed, fast-pace of the novel kept me reading even when I was screaming in rage at everything else. If I can say nothing else positive about the story, I can say that there is never a dull moment.
My problem with the book is the characters and the complete and utter lack of growth for any of them. Saba is definitely flawed. Selfish, stubborn, and very often unlikable, she is also loyal and brave. She loves deeply and blindly and all of these traits were what made me fall in love with her originally. However the likable traits are almost non-existent in this follow up. Saba seems to have changed completely between the two books. The change in character also happens about mid-way through this book, a complete and utter 180 that had my head spinning. She makes so many bad choices in the later half of this book, choices that seemed utterly inconsistent with the Saba that I knew from the first book, that the love I had for her was killed entirely. Generally I have no problems with flawed characters making bad choices. They are usually my favorites. Unfortunately many of Saba’s actions make no sense to me and its impossible for me to accept what I don’t understand.
The plot itself is also chaotic and much of what happens seems to be pointless and unnecessary. There is no real explanation of why DeMalo is so obsessed with Saba and why he believes that the two of them are the key to changing everything. I also feel like the whole plot line centered around Jack’s “betrayal” is ridiculously cliched and I found it impossible to believe that Saba would fall for it, making her later actions all the more frustrating and uncharacteristic. I can’t even began to describe how enraging and out-of-character I find her involvement with DeMalo to be, especially considering how everyone she does care about is fighting against what he is trying to do to their world.
Honestly I’m not sure that I’ll read the final book. I’ll always have a deep love for Blood Red Road, but so much of where Young took this story has completely ruined my enjoyment of it overall.