Saba has rescued her kidnapped brother and defeated the fanatical Tonton. But the price to be paid for her violent victory is terrible. Jack has disappeared – and can no longer be trusted. A new and formidable enemy is on the rise in the dustlands. No one is safe. And Saba must confront the terrible secret hidden in the darkest depths of her soul.
After having adored Blood Red Road so much, despite the odd writing style and there-lack-of quotation marks, I had no idea when the sequel would be out, and therefore was SO happy when I saw it in store.
I didn’t check reviews on goodreads until after I’d started. (which, I will admit, is not always a good idea in the first place) Until that point, I’d expected Jack to be in this steadily throughout. That is not so, and this is one reason why I can’t give this 5 stars, If anything, I’d give it 3 and a half, but I’ll get to that.
The book starts with a small section from Jack’s POV, although in third person and written decidedly better. As in, it was far easier to understand. But then it changes to Saba’s POV for the rest of the book. Which is great, because she’s someone who I really liked in the first book, and continued to in this.
But her brother. Lugh, is now saved from the Tonton and the Pinches (who are now dead.) but no one knows what happened to him whilst captive. He won’t talk about it, and from what I can tell, he is one moody son-of-a-bitch throughout this whole book. He’s obnoxious, rude, negative (my god is he!) and just plain bossy towards his sister, Saba. Emmi, on the other hand, is strong, wise, and cheery. Which is good, although as she says, she is only 10.
What I didn’t understand is why Lugh was treating Saba like he owned her. It bugged me to no end, when she had her own ideas, her own plans, and he would just come right and say she was being stupid, or it wasn’t going to work, or that she was crazy. Two or three times he called her a liar, and that did not sit right with me. She wanted to get to Jack. She loves him, he loves her, or so she believes, and everything will okay once they’re back together. He promised he’d wait at the Big Water after going to find Molly to deliver the sad news about Ike. Which was fair enough, to me. But Lugh, clearly jealous of Jack having had Saba’s attention, dislikes Jack. If not loathes him, and therefore continues to spout pessimistic views about what Jack is “really” like and what he’s “really” after.
I like that Saba manages to keep a strong head and tries not to let her brothers harsh words get to her, even when certain obstacles get in her way, she carries on. She struggles on in her mission to get to where they need to go. Defying her brother’s wishes every turn they took, and ignoring him when he sulked or became angry. She got to the point (and so did I) where she didn’t care if she left him behind. He was a burden, a dark cloud constantly putting her down.
She’s suffering from terrible nightmares, even sleepwalking and seeing spirits, things that are not there. She’s plagued by Epona who wants to be set free, but Saba just thinks the dead girl wants her to die, to pay for what she did.
The gang are led to a small settlement. I can’t remember the name, but some lady who can read the sky, helps Saba. Or at least tries to. But things get crazy when they find out different things. The Tonton have regrouped, changed their ways and are moving the old, the helpless, out of their homes and moving healthy, young people in them. All this because of The Pathfinder. Who this Pathfinder is, well, there are wonderings scattered around, but most thing it’s DeMalo. Or at least Saba does.
I won’t say anymore, because I’m pretty sure I’ve said a lot as it is. But I will say I wasn’t quite as “into it” this time as previously. I found Lugh (and Tommo, for that matter) to be extremely annoying, which took away some of the “fun” factor, and the lack of Jack severely toned down the romance, in my opinion. Although…there is SOME romance. There seems to be somewhat of a love squared? Although in Saba’s opinion it’s more a Love Whatever. Because her feelings are so messed up, when things are not what they seem, she doesn’t know what or who to believe.
I’m curious to know if there’s a third book, and if so, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to base heavily on Lugh. Judging by the very last page. (no spoilers. Promise) But anyway, I did somewhat enjoy this, even if because of the highs and lows and the adventure they all went through. They meet up with several other people, including the infamous Molly, and some friends of hers. Maev comes back, which was good since I really liked her, and others along the way. There’s also a new animal addition by the name of Tracker.
I would recommend this if you enjoyed the first book. Definitely if you loved it. I’m not sure if I’d known Jack wasn’t a major part in this, whether I’d have been so eager to read it, but never the less, he does actually become a piece in the game, so it was sort of worth it for me. I’m glad I did read it. *apologises for the rambling*