Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 432 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Dust Lands series
Source: Audiobook through Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the second book in the Dust Lands series by Young. I absolutely adored Blood Red Road and was so excited to read this book. To be honest this book was a bit of a disappointment. Gone is the fierce Saba from Blood Red Road, she’s been replaced by a whiny emotional wreck of a young woman.
I listened to this on an audiobook. The audiobook was very well done. The narrator does an excellent job of capturing the stark language and slang used throughout the novel.
We hear briefly from Jack a bit in the beginning. The rest of the story is with Saba and her siblings as they journey across the Waste to the west. Saba is seeing shadows that are slowly driving her insane; she seeks help from a spiritual healer in a nearby town. This part of the story was a bit odd and I don’t understand why it was included here…but whatever.
Then when Maeve stumbles into town she brings word from Jack. Saba and crew abandon their quest to go West and turn back to travel to the Storm Belt to meet up with Jack.
Gone are the awesome action scenes and kick-butt Saba from the first book. In her place we have a selfish, wreck of a girl that’s a shadow of herself. Saba doesn’t come off as tough but more of an emotional wreck whose world is slowly falling to pieces. Seriously Saba is so overly emotional about everything, sometimes following her mercurial changes in temperament just plain wore me out.
Saba continually makes rash emotional decisions that end up hurting the group. She never seems to learn from her mistakes. I understand that Saba’s ability to feel emotions so keenly is special in this stark wasteland; but by the end of the book I wanted to smack her.
For some reason it seems like Saba is defining her whole existence by the men in her life. Her actions are driven by her brother, Jack, and even her enemy the Pathfinder and her emotions about them. It’s so different from the tough and pragmatic Saba in Blood Red Road.
Saba’s brother Lugh is just plain creepy throughout the book; he is controlling and a bit evil. His manipulation of Saba and his possessiveness gave me the creeps.
The best characters in this book are Em, Saba’s younger sister, whose incredible wisdom and cheerfulness add a lot to the bleak story. Also Saba and crew steal a cart from a medicine man named Slim; Slim ends up accompanying them on their journey to the Storm Belt. Slim is an awesome character; he adds some humor and seems to genuinely care about this group of wandering kids.
I still enjoyed the stark language and dusty, dank post-apocalyptic setting. I also enjoyed the glimpses back into the old Wrecker culture that made this horrible bleak world what it was.
Overall didn’t like this book as much as the first one. I continue to enjoy the dank dusty world and stark language used to tell this story. I did not enjoy the emotional wrecked and selfish Saba that we deal with in this book. I didn’t understand the why behind the whole first half of the this book and hope that somehow it ties in with the third book and makes sense. Hopefully the final book in the series will be better and make some of the things that happened in the second book more meaningful. I will definitely read the final book in this series just because I did love Blood Red Road so much and I do love this world. Still, this definitely wasn’t a strong continuation of the series.