Title: Raging Star (Dust Lands #3)
Author: Moira Young
Published: May 13th, 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo… until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.
Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeding Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?
The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.
Going into Raging Star, I have to say I was a little worried considering its prequel wasn’t my favorite. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about because I feel that Raging Star has gotten back the vibe of the first book, Blood Red Road.
The story continues shortly after the end of the second book, with Saba and her crew taking up the mantle of the Free Hawks, determined to free the world from a tyrant’s reign. We see her struggling with the pressure of being the leader of a revolution, and wanting to do what she feels is right. Tension among the team members is at an all-time high and it adds conflict to the story, but it’s not just there for the sake of giving the heroine more problems. I think that the characters have been built up in such a way that their actions in this book seem inevitable. I really liked that Saba and her siblings had the chance to reconnect and try to re-forge their relationship.
I have to say that I made a prediction about who the ‘traitor’ would be at the end of book two, but Raging Star did a really good job of making me second guess myself and change my mind. Since this story is now told through several POVs, we get the chance to see through this traitor’s mind and I really appreciate it. This is something I actually wanted in the second book but didn’t get. But one scene in particular kind of spoiled the identity of our turncoat, which is sad. If it weren’t for this scene, I probably would’ve been wrong with my initial guess. That being said, there is another plot twist at the end of the book that I really didn’t see coming. I love it when stories can surprise me 🙂
I loved seeing the complexity of the characters, even the minor characters. Good guys aren’t always good and the bad guys aren’t always bad. We get to see a lot of that in this book. I think that the characters in Raging Star have grown into better (in most cases) versions of themselves, especially Saba, who struggled a lot with being herself and separate from her twin brother. That being said, I still think she could’ve played a bigger role in this book. Yes, she’s the main character, the leader, et cetera, but like I said about Blood Red Road, I think that it’s the people around her who executed a lot of the action.
One of the things that slightly disappointed me about this book is the resolution. I think that DeMalo as a villain is great and I really wanted to see him fail, but after all the plans and the set up to bring him down, his actual downfall was an actual let down. It wasn’t boring or bad, but after all the build up I was definitely expecting something more than a fizzle. Of course, no victory comes without a cost so there are deaths in this book that made me sadder than I expected. I’ve grown attached to these characters throughout the series.
With the second book, Rebel Heart, I was never in any rush to continue reading after I put the book down. But with this final instalment, I think it has the same readability as the first book and I was always excited to continue reading and I really wanted to know what happens next. Is Raging Star a perfect story and conclusion? No. But I really enjoyed Saba’s journey throughout the series and there are moments that tugged at my heartstrings. I highly appreciate the unique writing style, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write a story in such a way. In the end, I think that the Dustlands series is an entertaining story, action-packed and full of great characters, set in a bleak world that somehow still gives you hope for a better future. It’s definitely going on my ‘favorites’ list.
If you haven’t read the book and want to avoid a spoiler about the ending, please skip to the bottom of the page 🙂
I do wish that this book is a few pages shorter, not because I think it’s too long, but because I loved the way that the last scene before the ‘epilogue’ was Saba getting on her horse, Hermes, and galloping away. The way the book ends now, Saba reunites with Jack and presumably try to fix their relationship. And yeah, that’s not a bad way to end things, but I think it restricts the possibilities.
But if it had ended a few pages earlier, I think it would’ve been an amazing way to end the story. Saba would be free to make whatever decision she wants and it would’ve been such a hopeful ending and readers are free to interpret it how they want. People who love Jack can picture their reunion, and people who don’t can imagine Saba exploring the world or whatever they want.
So if I ever reread this series, I’m going to stop at the page where Saba leaves her friends. Not because I don’t like Jack, but because I love that for the first time, Saba is truly free. She’s no longer tied by her responsibilities or having to always be with her siblings. She’s free to do and be whatever she wants and that’s the way I choose to end the story.
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“You have a rare fire within you. The power to change things. The courage to act in the service of something greater than yourself.”
― Moira Young, Raging Star