Raging Star (2014) – Moira Young


Three stars

Read Sep 20 2015 – Sep 23 2015

Book three of the Dust Lands Trilogy

Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo…until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeding Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

Squee the final saga in the Dustlands trilogy! I absolutely fell in love with Blood Red Road when I first read it four years ago – Saba was such a strong, flawed heroine and the writing style Young employed was inspired. I was in Saba’s mind every step of the way – and yeah, I will admit, I have a total thing for Jack. And Nero. Yeah, that crow does things for me.

Rebel Heart, from what little I remember, was a complete filler book and such a disappointment after the first book.

And so I had mixed expectations towards Raging Star. I didn’t really expect it to be great: I’m not here for the story but I just needed to have the knowledge that Jack and Saba continue their… thing. Their “yer in my blood, yer in my head, yer in my breath, yer in my bones” thing. Because none of that DeMalo shit which just felt so contrived. Heartstone, you should’ve known better!

The storyline was… there. It got the story from the beginning to the end, and that was about it. The world building was rather poor – names of places that were poorly characterised, and only introduced when needed and never mentioned again. The story felt aimless, with a lack of urgency. What’s going on? The gang is just wandering around from place to place, killing time.

And then the resolution of New Eden. Are you serious? That’s all it took? The mountain really did sit on weak foundations if a show at a wedding is enough to take down the evil empire Saba has been fighting for the majority of the series.

Furthermore, the characters were also just… there. I mean, what did Ash and Creed and Molly and Lugh and Tommo and Emmi do throughout the whole book? They were just there to bolster numbers and give the impression that Saba was supported by a whole bunch of people. The Free Hawks, distilled down to one character in Ash. Lugh and Tommo, only there to play a specific role in the plot. Emmi, a Shaman, with no further development before she plays the sacrificial lamb. I had basically no reaction to the deaths of Saba’s siblings – more of an acknowledgement of “oh they’re dead now”. In an almost clinical way, it felt like Young had to cut Saba’s ties so she could sail away into the ocean. Plus Young introduces a whole other bunch of other characters to accomplish certain roles, like the way Mercy was needed to infiltrate the enemy.

Overall, the characters and the plot felt flat and uninspired. I think with some tight editing Young could have dramatically cut the cast, so that every character felt purposeful and have a wider personality range to fulfill what is needed in the story.

Even Saba felt flat in places. And why, oh why, did she have to become boring and pacifistic? I feel like that is such a trope: she was such a strong character, and hey, I don’t mind a little killing here and there.

Jack and Saba, oh I could read volumes about you – you two are basically the sole reason I looked forward to this book – and there was just not enough of them. And not just in a “I want to read a romance” kind of way, but their interactions were always amusing, and that chemistry…

All in all, the book was not great, not until the last 50 or so pages. I got what I came for, an absolutely gorgeous ending for Jack and Saba.

Dust Lands Trilogy
Blood Red Road (2011)
Rebel Heart (2012)
Raging Star (2014)


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