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Raging Star by Moira Young review

15835877It’s Saba’s final fight.

Saba must seize her destiny and win freedom for the Dustlands. But DeMalo is strong. Her camp is weak. Loyalties falter, resentments brood and treachery bides its time. One dangerous secret could destroy her and Jack. One wrong move could destroy them all. As a fatal Blood Moon approaches, how can she succeed with the odds overwhelmingly against her?

Warning: contains some spoilers for Dustlands #1 and #2.

The wait between the release of Rebel Heart (#2Dustlands) and Raging Star, the conclusion to the trilogy, was a long one – but boy, was it worth it! I thought I would gobble it up, but about halfway through I started to consciously slow my reading down, because I didn’t want the story to be over.

At the start of this book, Saba, Lugh and Emmi are together at last, their little family reunited. Along with their friends Slim, Molly, Tommo, Creed and Ash, they are rebels with a very clear cause – destabilising and ultimately destroying DeMalo’s regime of slavery and bringing freedom to the people of New Eden. In this book we learn more about the extent of DeMalo’s plans, and the brutal methods he employs in achieving them. Moira Young paints a terrifying picture of what the future holds. But not everyone is 100 per cent behind the plan – Lugh would have much rather he, Saba and Emmi abandoned New Eden forever, but has nevertheless made a brotherly pledge to assist the cause. And there is dissent within the group about just how to wage their war – especially when Saba proposes some controversial non-violent methods.

Seeing Saba grow as a character throughout this trilogy has made for some truly gripping reading. In this book the Angel of Death really comes into her own as an inspirational leader, able to unite her raggle taggle team of rebels. She’s even managed to get her characteristic ‘red’ rage under control to a great degree, and has matured in her responses, opting for subversion and careful planning rather than full-on violence. But there is one central flaw that Saba hasn’t overcome – she still harbours secrets from those close to her, and it is to prove her undoing. You can’t help feeling that things could have turned out very differently indeed had Saba only told her friends and family the truth, and that makes the ending all the more poignant.  And what an ending! There were elements that I saw coming (Young implants plenty of clues into the narrative along the way) but others I did not. With so much at stake it was almost inevitable the price to be paid would be high – but I was still shocked and had a lump in my throat as I read. I won’t say much more except that though the ending is laced with tragedy, it is not without hope.

Everything I loved about the first two books is present in this concluding instalment – the gutsy, strong-willed characters, the stream of consciousness dialect style of writing, the raw, emotive descriptions, the post-apocalyptic Wild West-like setting and the occasional moment of sheer poetry. People have compared this series to The Hunger Games. Though they fall under the same broad heading of YA dystopia, I think Moira Young is in another class altogether where writing is concerned. I can’t wait to find out what she’s going to write next.

Favourite quote: ‘It’s another night of rumpus in the sky. The stars chase about in fiery disorder.’

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