Quick review for a quick read. I read “Rebel Heart” in full quite a few years after reading “Blood Red Road”, so I had to refresh my memory on a few things that happened in the first book before tackling this one. My final reaction upon finishing it (and meditating over all of its events) was “Oh Saba.”
Parts of this book I really liked, and others I didn’t for some parts of it that didn’t really feel in-character, particularly for the heroine. I tried thinking about how I felt about the two books and ultimately – I think I liked “Blood Red Road” more than this (not to say this was a bad book, but just…not on the same wavelength as the first). “Rebel Heart” is a decent book for action sequences when they’re present, but Saba’s character makes a fair number of infuriating decisions after several misunderstandings arise. I definitely liked the intro with Jack’s POV, because it set up a nice set of tension to begin the book. Saba takes over following that point, and there’s a lot that happens between the time that Saba and Jack are able to reunite.
The dystopian worldbuilding in this book is very well done, like the first book. I felt immersed in the interactions of the characters and the threat of the Tonton. Loved the pacing of the conflicts and how readable this book was – like the first book.
But the more I thought about Saba’s decisions in this book – the more I was like “I remember her being reckless in the first book, but in a good way that made me identify with her and see her motivations to an extent. This book seems like she’s being far more careless with her relationships and her missteps reduced down to misunderstandings, including one that’s huge revolving around Jack and a pretty messed-up interlude with DeMalo (who’s definitely twisted). Saba’s blunt dismissal of Tammo was disappointing as well (though that dialogue seemed to come out of nowhere). I did like seeing Saba struggle with her inner demons in places, though – and there are palpable points of tension that ramp up the intrigue in this book.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where things go in the last book in this series. I was sitting on the fence between rating this either a 3 or 3.5, but considering the intrigue of “Blood Red Road”, this didn’t quite match the dynamic, so it’s a 3 star read for me.
Overall score: 3/5 stars.