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Raging Star: Dust Lands #3    by Moira Young order for
Raging Star
by Moira Young
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Raging Star follows Rebel Heart and Blood Red Road as the third and final episode in the outstanding YA dystopian Dust Lands series. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world, whose folk scavenge what they can from decaying remnants left by the Wreckers.

In Blood Red Road, Saba's twin brother Lugh was taken to be sacrificed at midsummer at Freedom Fields. Saba and her small sister Emmi followed. Saba ended up as the Angel of Death, a cage fighter in Hopetown. She and a cocky male fighter, Jack, escaped and rescued Lugh. As the first episode ended, Saba and Jack (to whom she gave her heartstone) were separated.

In Rebel Heart, the Tonton led by DeMalo had taken control of the region. DeMalo had a vision which he shared with his followers, of re-seeding the land, but he believed that his end justified any means and ruthlessly sacrificed the old, the sick, the weak, and anyone who stood in his way. He wanted Saba at his side and almost convinced her to join him.

As Raging Star opens, most rebels think that Jack is dead, believing him a traitor and unaware that he has been working undercover against the Tonton. Saba is in contact with him but hides the fact from those around her, aware of their distrust of Jack. She has also kept from Jack her brief involvement with DeMalo. And someone very close to Saba is working with the enemy, subverting her goals - who can it be?

Gradually, as Saba becomes aware of the cost in human suffering of guerilla actions, she decides on a different approach to resisting DeMalo. She will shake the mountain on which he's built his power by calling on love of family and community. And, though Saba tries to keep her safe, young Emmi (a powerful earth speaker who worships her sister) decides to play her part too, a very dangerous one.

It seems that all new series with strong, tough heroines lately are being compared with Hunger Games. Personally, I think Dust Lands is much, much better - it's filled with action and betrayal, doubt and resolution, heroism and tragedy. And the ending is spectacular - don't miss it!

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