Blightborn (Heartland Trilogy 2) by Chuck Wendig

Blightborn was a surprise; although I enjoyed the first Heartland book, I admittedly didn’t love it. I worried that the second book would be more of the same: brash Homer Hickman type young hero fighting oppression and making a lot of mistakes along the way. However, this second book took a very dark turn by the 50% mark and had me intrigued to the end. Twisty turning plot points and unexpected events made this a thrilling read.

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Story: Cael and his small group are now outlaws, following the train tracks on a course set by his missing father. Gwennie, meanwhile, learns the dark side of the lottery as she is indentured to a brilliant but socially awkward geneticist tasked with creating a Pegasus mascot for the Empyrean. Both will encounter heartbreak, death, and danger as a group of rebels seeks to bring about the downfall of the Empyrean empire.

The story is told from both Gwennie’s and Cael’s point of view. Gwennie becomes immersed in Empyrean politics as she tries to track down her separated family. Cael, meanwhile, discovers all the dangers out there in the corn, not the least of which are the rebels themselves. We’ll learn a lot of secrets about Cael’s family including his father’s past and his sister’s whereabouts. A host of new and fascinating characters are added but we still keep most of the Boxelder kids as well since Cael’s group will be tracked by the Praetor.

Admittedly, I was just coasting during the first part of the story. Reading about headstrong kids making dumb decisions wasn’t the story I was interested in following. But author Wendig turns up the heat midway and suddenly there are a lot of devastating events that slowly destroy both Gwennie and Cael.  As well, we get a lot of information about the world that is very inventive.

I am really looking forward to book 3 and seeing where Wendig takes the story.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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