It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.
What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion. Quoted from Goodreads
So, so, so, so good. If you look on the cover, there's a quote that says it's better than The Hunger Games. I won't go that far, but I will say I like this series just as much.
First off there's the writing. It's so different from anything I've ever read before. The punctuation is horrible, quotation marks are nonexistent, the grammar is atrocious, and I love it all. It took me a few pages to really get into the flow of Blood Red Road, but this time around, it was like visiting an old friend. The writing style really brings the world to life and gives it a distinctive flavor I find really refreshing.
Things basically pick up a month after they left off in the last book, and we're starting to see the repercussions of what everyone went through. All of them are changed, especially Saba. She and Lugh aren't as close as they used to be, but beyond that, she is haunted by what she went through and she misses Jack. Honestly, she's probably the least Mary Sue character I've ever read. She's prickly, bad tempered, loyal, impulsive, selfish, kick-butt, and an absolute delight to read. The best part about her is watching her grow. She makes tons of mistakes (one in particular I really wasn't fond of) but she learns and becomes better, kinder, and smarter every time. You can't help but root for her, while at the same time, wanting to smack her upside the head when she does something stupid.
Then there's Jack. The book actually starts out with his POV, which I loved, before going back to Saba. I enjoyed getting to know him that little bit better and glimpsing his thoughts. The best part of the beginning is it leaves you on a horrible cliff hanger, and you, like Saba, are left wondering what exactly happened to Jack for the next third of the book. Then you start wondering other things about him, until you finally see him again toward the end.
The books follow their titles. The last book, Blood Red Road, was action, action, action, with fighting cages, killer worms, kidnapping, and rescues. This book, Rebel Heart, is a lot more emotion based. Don't worry, there is still plenty of action, but a lot more of the tension is in the relationships and Saba's emotional angst. Still, it was one of those books I could never put down because something was always happening.
I labeled the last book dystopia, and it kind of was, but this book is more so. The Tonton before were superstitious bullies. In this one they are much more organized and sinister because they believe they are making a better world. This also ups the tension because the villains are changing and evolving. You had to know DeMalo was coming back after the last book's ending, but I never really expected what happened with him in this book. I went back to the last book later and re-read a few key scenes, so I know it wasn't totally out of the blue, but still, I only got half my expectations right.
This book was a lovely 3.5 stars for me. It probably would have been 4 if it weren't for that one thing Saba did that irritated me. A lot. Don't get me wrong, I can see her character doing that, but I really didn't like it. Other than that, this book is excellent. It is the perfect, kick-but ending, semi-wraps up, yet left me drooling for the third and final book. If you're looking for an amazing adventure, this is it.