Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers
Book Review of -- The Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig
Overall star rating for the series --- 3.5
About the book:
Book 1 - Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas.
Book 2 - He’s heading toward the Empyrean to rescue his sister, Merelda, and to find Gwennie before she’s lost to Cael forever. With his pals, Lane and Rigo, Cael journeys across the Heartland to catch a ride into the sky. But with Boyland and others after them, Cael and his friends won’t make it through unchanged.
Book 3 - It’s been a year since the Saranyu flotilla fell from the sky, and life in the Heartland has changed. Gone are the Obligations and the Harvest Home festivals. In their place is a spate of dead towns, the former inhabitants forced into mechanical bodies to serve the Empyrean—and crush the Heartland.
When Cael awakens from a Blightborn sleep, miles away from the world he remembers, he sets out across the Heartland to gather his friends for one last mission.
Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 27 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 8
-- Cover & title --10
-- Editing & formatting -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with: 1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*
The review --
Under the Empyrean Sky (Book 1)
This book introduces you to the world that the author has created, to a world of haves and have-nots. The haves are called Empyreans, and live in floating cities among the clouds. They have anything and everything they want, and believe that they deserve it. While on the ground, that is where the Heartlanders live, and it is a back-breaking, life-sucking existence. The characters and the world are fascinating, and very vivid; but it is the characters that drew me in. The corn is the real telling thing, and calls to mind scientists tinkering with crops. The corn is a very virulent strain that grows through and around almost everything, and almost seems alive. It dominates the ground, and is the real central figure in not only this book, but this series.
Blightborn (Book 2)
This book is equally as good as the first book, but does very distinctly remind me of the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. I call that the 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong' movie; and that's sort of what happens in this book. Things don't go like everyone hoped for, and stuff comes apart at the seams to a great extent. But it builds great interest as to how things will wind up in the third book. It's a very good book, but the violence begins to amp up in this book.
The Harvest, book 3
This last book in the series starts out with all the characters from the first 2 books all scattered around, and most thinking Cael is dead. But they manage to hear about each other, some find each other, and one gets captured, and one gets dead, and Cael gets caught between 2 women. I don't like it as much as the first 2, as the violence is prevalent throughout this book, and dominates it. There are characters killed off that I feel is a mistake, as I thought the book was better with them alive. They made it all the way through the first 2 books, to be killed off in this book. Also, I didn't care for how it ended, as it was rather abrupt; and it felt more like the book just stopped, rather than concluded. And the epilogue seems more intended to set up more books in this series, than finishing this book up.
In conclusion, about the series
This series starts out good, and goes somewhat downhill in my opinion. The biggest thing that I object to is that this is a series for young adults, for teens. HOGWASH! This is a series for adults, and certainly not for anyone under the age of 18. There is very minor sex content in the whole series, but the violence gradually increases throughout the series, to the point where it is quite gruesome and graphic in the third book. At one point in the series, the Empyreans start taking human beings, and encasing them in metal shells and turning them into robots. This is definitely not a series for young adults, but for adults.
I started out really liking it a lot, but by the time I got to the 3rd book, I just wanted to find out how it all ended and finish the book, and move on to something else.
Genre -- science fiction/horror
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- very mild
Violence rating -- gruesome, intense, extremely high, escalates in intensity from book 1 to book 3
Links for the book:
Buy it on Amazon
Author's Amazon page