It's been a long wait for this sequel! I've been very curious to see what direction Young would take the story from here, and it wasn't a disappointment. Rebel Heart did have a much different tone than Blood Red Road, so if you're a fan, be prepared for that. Also be prepared for ghosts! Hopeless loves! Secrets! Betrayals! Camels! (well, just one camel.) And of course the interesting dialect and easyflowing, descriptive, action-packed writing that I came to love from Young in the first one. Also worthy of mention: the way Young writes the character's inner dialogue with themselves is right on the mark.
Saba was very emotional damaged at the end of BRR, so it wasn't really a surprise that this was the direction that Young took in the sequel. Let's be honest, if she had just disregarded the effects of all that carnage, we all would have been wondering a little bit. However it felt like a realistic struggle with issues that seems to actually get somewhere, and doesn't seem stagnant like a lot of other battle scarred sequels out there (not to name anyone . . .). I also loved how sometimes you were wondering if what was happening to Saba was real or not; that uncertainty really helped make her trauma real for me as a reader. Wait, what? So that wasn't real? Then how did she get so bloody?!?!?!? Have to say too, her trauma and broken-down spirit seemed to lead naturally to what happened with DeMalo. Totally made me uncomfortable, but I can see how it got there.
Aaaaaand, get ready to meet a few new characters! Almost too many, but the majority of them are too crazy to forget. You also get to know some old characters better . . . But although we get to see Lugh quite a bit more, he still remains quite mysterious. I had to force myself to stay neutral on Lugh (even though it would be SO easy to dislike him at times) because you never really get to know what is going on with him-- what happened to him? Secrets, secrets.
You can really feel the grit in your teeth in this book! Young continues to build on the world we come to know in BRR, and it gets even more interesting. It's pretty rad to see little bits of our technology show up in their world . . . especially when one episode of the Discovery Channel or Planet Earth or something causes some pretty big things to happen. In fact, a lot of big things happen. Despite the focus on character in this book, Young manages to throw some pretty big twists and turns in the plot which weren't at all predictable. Pretty unusual and exciting for a sequel--instead of being fed a whole lot of emotional trauma, I felt like I was just keeping up with the action-packed story line. And that cliffhanger at the end? Loved how a certain phrase was repeated, bringing things full circle. Nicely done. I'm definitely anticipating the next one.