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Rebel Heart: Dustlands #2    by Moira Young order for
Rebel Heart
by Moira Young
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Rebel Heart follows Blood Red Road as the second in Moira Young's superlative Dustlands series. And, if anything, this second volume is even more exciting than the first. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where survivors scavenge what they can from decaying remnants left by the Wreckers.

In Blood Red Road, after Saba's beloved twin brother Lugh was kidnapped and taken to be sacrificed at midsummer at Freedom Fields. Saba followed, joined by her small sister Emmi. Saba ended up as a cage fighter in Hopetown, renowned as the Angel of Death. She escaped along with Jack, a cocky male fighter. After they rescued Lugh, the first episode ended with Saba, Lugh and Emmi heading west to the Big Water. Jack turned back to inform an old friend, Molly, of the death of her lover Ike, planning to join them later. Saba gave him her heartstone.

As Rebel Heart opens, Saba and Lugh's close bond is gone - their dire experiences have changed them both and not for the better. Saba continues to be guided by intelligent crow Nero, and they are soon joined by Mercy's wolfdog Tracker. Saba has disturbing dreams of DeMalo, the compelling second-in-command of the Tonton leader she defeated, and is haunted by the ghosts of those she killed. Sky Speaker Auriel helps her somewhat and tells Saba that she is one of a rare few with the power to 'turn the tide of human affairs.'

Meanwhile, on his journey, Jack finds the Tonton, disciplined and well organized under the leadership of their Pathfinder, DeMalo, 'rolling over the land like the plague.' DeMalo has put a bounty on Saba and wants her returned to him unharmed at his lair in Resurrection, New Eden. When Maev finds Saba, telling her that Jack has joined the Tonton, she refuses to believe it and turns back to find him, followed by her siblings. After many exciting adventures, Saba meets DeMalo who entices her to join him and support his ruthless plan, whose foul means might lead to a good end, but only for the 'young and the strong'.

More good people are lost before this thrilling second episode ends, with more than one key character 'Hurt. Betrayed. Deceived.' along the way. I can't wait to see where Moira Young takes her enthralling series next. Highly recommended!

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