Series: Dust Lands #3
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on May 13th
Genres: dystopia, young adult
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Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton...until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The few who can pay.
Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.
It is the end of the road for Dust Lands. This series defined my expectations for dystopias and continuing series. Reading the end of the Dustland trilogy brought on a lot of emotions. Some good, some bad, some with no words.
Raging Star brings the end of Saba and her story. We see the end of the chain of events that were tipped off in Blood Red Road. Action and inner dialog come in strong on this story, while Saba confronts her inner demons and leads her rag-tag band of rebels to bring an end to DeMalo and his New Eden. This story was a mad rush to a quick, clean ending. However, I will miss Saba, her dialog and, most of all, I am going to miss Nero to no end.
So let’s look at the story
Characters: Dust Lands totes a large cast of characters. They’re not always favorable, but they ring true to life, and they tend to have a good balance of positive and negative attributes. Some of them, such as Emmi, get a great chance at furthering their standing, but, compared to the last book, cast development takes a back seat to the action. Lugh had a chance of heart, but he still is a nasty, horrible person. Most of the background characters simply filled their roles and stopped really growing.
The biggest disappointment of the entire series was the sudden change to Jack’s character. Jack was always a smooth criminal, and I enjoyed him in the previous books, but he apparently started to drink the same Kool-aid as Lugh. He turned so sour so quickly. His stand-off, afraid-of-commitment development worked very well to add some depth. But the things he says to Saba…no, thank you.
Setting: Dust Land has always contained a high amount of action. Morality steps up here, and the story raises an important question about resistance and peace. Operation Freedom takes up a large percentage of the novel. This does tend to occur with the last in the series (I had the same issue with the Percy Jackson series). If action becomes the spot light feature, it’s nice to read a well rounded final battle. Raging Star did have a wonderful build. I was let down with the neutered, rushed ending. I could have foreseen a more fitting ending, but the entire series can’t be all lemons and heartache.
Writing: Once again, Young blows me away with her brilliance. The inner dialog was wonderful, and peering into the depth of Saba’s turbulence. The huge mysterious twist was an easy guess, but that comes from reading and using intuition, so I’m not counting off for that. It was actually very nice to be in the inner circle. The emotional murder is going to lay claim to your feels, as well. Huge warning here.
Romance: Saba fronted a lot of the action, but her constant whining about two guys in her life (even though one was a psycho and Saba made some huge missteps in the last books). The book lingered too long on the very messed-up love triangle. I don’t dislike love triangles when they are written with care and realism, but this one was out of hand and it beat the storyline down to a bloody stub. There were some issues that popped up during the story. Saba’s fire was infectious, but her character was assassinated by romance woes.
Despite some huge issues, there were many wonderful things about the end of this trilogy. It breaks me apart to say goodbye to some of these characters, and the bittersweet flavor fit the series well. I believe that all Dust Land lovers will find the perfect closure. I’m stalking you, Moira Young! I’m looking forward to your next adventure!