A silhouette of a man against a bright yellow desert.

About the Book

Title: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands #2)
Published: 2012
Series: Dust Lands
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

Cover Story: Nice Try
BFF Charm: Hells Yes!
Talky Talk: Last Exit To…
Bonus Factors: Loyal Pet, Snake Oil Salesman, Mysterious Stranger
Relationship Status: Cain’t Get You Outta My Head

Cover Story: Nice Try

I get what they were going for with this, I do. It follows the theme they set up with the first one, but unfortunately, it doesn’t… quite… work. I mean, is it supposed to be Jack? Lugh? I’m pretty sure neither of them ever, ever wore that. Just sayin’.

The Deal:

Spoilers for Book 1 in this section! Skip ahead, if you haven’t read it!

All Saba had to do was find Lugh and free him. Then she and Lugh and Emmi could head West. And with the help of her friends, she did just that. They beat the Tonton, Vicar Pinch is dead, and Jack says he’s gonna meet up with them out West. Then why is everything so pear-shaped? Saba has a price on her head, she and Lugh can’t seem to agree on anything, and West is a whole lot further than anyone figured. And that’s before they discover that Vicar Pinch has been replaced by someone who calls himself The Pathfinder, and who is re-envisioning a new world — one filled with terror and control. Oh and Jack? Looks like he can’t be trusted, either.

BFF Charm: Hells Yes!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

I appreciated Saba’s journey in this book SO much. THIS is how a warrior-heroine should be written. Saba grows as she deals with conflict and sorrow. The author gives us a realistic portrayal of the aftermath and spiritual cost of taking a life — even justified, and even if it’s a mercy killing. But she’s also still the same impetuous, head-strong Saba, and I loved her, even when she was wrong.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

The longing, the heartache, and the passion keep the swoon-o-meter in the red, even while our two lovebirds are separated. And then there’s that other thing…

Talky Talk: Last Exit To…

Perhaps I just got used to it, or perhaps Young found an even better rhythm for the language of this second book, but I found her prose to flow beautifully this time around. It’s vivid and wrenching. I felt everything Saba felt, even when I was hoping she’d change from the course she was on.

The pacing is also set at breakneck speed, racing us along to the ending, at which point we say “What the what?! What’s going on?! WHERE IS BOOK 3?!!!!!”

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pet

A close up of a smiling camel.

This series now claims not one but THREE loyal pets, who are fully developed characters themselves: Nero, the smartest crow in the world. Tracker, the best and bravest wolfdog that ever lived. And Moses, the cantankerous camel, who only moves when coaxed with the right words. “Cross on over to Egypt, Moses!”

Bonus Factor: Snake Oil Salesman

Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin in Sweeny Todd

It seems like forever since I’ve read a story with a good traveling salesman — who’s more than meets the eye, of course — but Slim makes up for it by wearing a pink dress and being generally awesome.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Stranger

A bunch of white question marks on top of each other

In the first book, DeMalo was obviously secretly good. Right? And mysterious.  And handsome.  And in this one, we find out that he’s obviously bad. Right? I mean, he is. Isn’t he?

Relationship Status: Cain’t Get You Outta My Head

I just cain’t get you out of my head, Book your lovin’ is all I think about. I just cain’t get you outta of my head, Book it’s more than I dare to think about. La la la, La la la la la…

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from McElderry Books. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Rebel Heart is available wherever books are sold.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.