July 31, 2014 by mmileti
Blightborn is the second installment in the Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig. You can find my review of the first novel in the series, Under the Empyrean Sky, here:
The Heartland Trilogy is comprised of dystopian novels that paint a picture of a future where corn is the only crop permitted to be grown, and the rich live in cities that float in the sky. In the first novel in the series Wendig introduced the reader to the Heartland in a fast paced story that highlighted the struggles of the people who live amongst the endless sea of corn. Blightborn continues the story of the Heartlanders while at the same time introducing a glimpse of the privileged lives of those that live on the Empyrean flotillas. With this novel Wendig manages to create a story as fast paced and exciting as the first novel in the series, while also raising the stakes for his characters and expanding on his world in new and remarkable ways.
I would advise against reading the rest of this review if you have not yet read Under the Empyrean Sky, as the rest of this review will contain spoilers for the first novel in the Heartland trilogy.
Blightborn picks up right where Under the Empyrean Sky left off, with Cael and his friends on the run from their hometown, and with hopes of making it onto an Empyrean flotilla in order to rescue Gwennie, the woman Cael loves. Gwennie is currently living the life of a lottery winner, though it is far from what she expected it to be. She separated from her family, and rarely gets a break from her job of mucking out the stables of genetically mutated horses. Intermittently she is invited to one of the flotillas’ extravagant parties only to be gawked at by the upper class, which finds her to be little more than an unfortunate provincial specimen. Both Cael and Gwennie must fight against the odds to change their fate; and if they fail, the Empyrean has plans that may change their lives forever, and make sure that the Heartlanders will never be able to fight back again, or change their lives for the better.
This book is both darker and more complex than its predecessor, and in many ways a more mature and accomplished novel. Fans of the first book in the Heartland trilogy will find much in this book to fall in love with. The characters grow and become more developed, the plot both expands the world and raises the stakes, and the ending of the book leaves the reader wanting more. The vast inequalities between the Heartlanders and the Empyreans become even more defined in this novel, and bring more meaning to the series’ environmental message.
In a genre that is flooded with mediocre novels, Wendigs’ stand far above the rest of the pack due to his unique setting and wildly exciting plot lines. This is a series that will surprise even the most jaded fans of the dystopian genre. Wendig has made me a true fan with this book, and I will be eagerly awaiting the final installment in the Heartland series.
My rating for this book is 8/10.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.