Sunday, 3 March 2013

'Rebel Heart' by Moira Young Book Review

The sequel to 'Blood Red Road' by Moira Young sees Saba, after rescuing her brother Lugh, seek a new life  out West with her family and a promise from her lover Jack that he will return to find her after fulfilling unfinished business.

When news of a Tonton revival and of Jack being part of it reaches Saba, she is determined to find the love of her life and rescue him so they could be together.

Simply put, the plot of this story is pretty much the same as the previous book except for the fact that Saba is trying to find Jack, not her brother. Saba is still the same stubborn girl and her continued refusal to accept her friends' help is deeply aggravating.

Whilst she is haunted from her past and the events of the last book causing her to have hallucinations add a level of emotion to her character, this is only dealt with in the first half and lost almost completely in the second. 

The tension between Saba and her brother is also disturbing. What happens to Lugh during his captivity is still withheld from us which is understandable, but some of the fights the siblings have are quite irrational and stupid; I feel that Young tries too hard to make Lugh important (given he is Saba's twin) that in doing so, draws the focus away from the love that they supposedly have for each other and is almost just a mirror of the tension between Saba and Jack in the last book.

Whether or not Saba really knows it yet or not, it is in-your-face obvious that fate and destiny are driving the events that are occuring and the bigger picture is that she is an icon for rebellion and she will need to take that role sooner or later. Her self-awareness of her own selfishness and yet still chooses to make the choices she does as interesting as it makes her, causes me to dislike her even more.

But what is most disturbing is the way the plot begins to unravel towards the end. It is as if Young just read some wretched romance novel and tried to yank a chapter from it. Saba's lack of control and what she does it completely out of character and completely throws the reader. This could positively be an ultimatum of a twist, but it is not completely dealt with and from this point on, the remaining few pages do little to satisfy what has been conjured, not helped by the inconsistency of the plot and writing style.

Overall, 'Rebel Heart' appears to be a bridging point between the events of the first novel and what is yet to come. The dynamics between the characters are repetitive and loose; with Saba failing to be a likeable antagonist causing the reader to lose interest. The ending is shocking and inevitably divisive and although a third novel is sure to come, this lackluster sequel has anesthetised me from really caring about what happens to any of the characters, maybe except for Emmi, who seems to be the only one with a level head and a moral compass. If I were you, I would leave it at the end of 'Blood Red Road' and positively imagine your own ending because Young's continuation of this story and how it ends is certainly rebellious but lacks any heart.

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