Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands #3) by Moira Young

Quick review for a quick read. “Raging Star” is the final book in the Dust Lands Trilogy by Moira Young. I’ve taken my time with this series, reading it over the course of several years, and for what its worth, I’m glad that I was able to finish it. Yet, I’m of two minds upon the conclusion of this book – like “Rebel Heart” there were parts of this book that I really liked and others that I just…didn’t.

This book picks up where the last left off, with Saba carrying the weight of several secrets and encounters that she knows will drive a wedge between the people she trusts the most and the causes she wants to work towards. Granted, the goal is to take DeMalo down, and she has to work with her family, and with Jack, though he’s mostly at a distance in this novel given the events of “Rebel Heart.” The rolling action and peril in this book reflect shades of “Blood Red Road” and puts Saba in prime fighting mode for some scenes, but this book still reflects flaws that I found to slow the book down in “Rebel Heart”. The character I felt showed the most growth throughout the series was Emmi, and she stepped up in some big ways through the course of this novel that I felt were satisfying for her character. Jack’s role is more supportive in this novel, and I liked some of the moments that he and Saba shared, but it’s not a prominent focus given the larger events that occur. Saba, Tammo, Lugh, and Emmi (among others) find themselves in an ongoing fight with the Tonton, though Saba comes up with the idea of warring with De Malo without resorting to violence, which is the opposite of what he would expect them to do (and counter to Saba’s role as an angel of death. What follows are some emotional twists and turns (including a reveal of a traitor and several emotional character demises that I’ll admit did catch me through the course of the story) that build to a dramatic conclusion.

In reflection of all this, I’ll admit I’m still disappointed in the route Saba’s character went in comparison with her strong establishment in “Blood Red Road”. She felt more reactive than proactive as the series went onward, and there were places I felt her character could have had better representation for her stresses and roles that the series’ conflict presented. I knew where it wanted to go and why, but I just felt Saba’s character was more frustrating than well-rounded. A key frustrating aspect to this is that a good portion of the conflict in this novel (as well as “Rebel Heart”) is driven by the secrets that Saba keeps from her loved ones in order to “protect” them, but such actions end up having dire consequences despite her best intentions and fatigue with the purported role she’s said to fulfill.

I’d honestly like to read more of Moira Young’s books in the future based on this overarching series. The Dust Lands Trilogy had moments that thrilled and surprised me, despite frustrating moments of uneven presentation. I enjoyed the journey overall, though I wish the series had as much momentum as it’d begun.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

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