the dust lands trilogy; a review

The Dustlands Trilogy; By Moira Young

The Dust Lands Trilogy; By Moira Young

Books 35,36,37 / 50

I first read about The Dust Lands series on a subway advertisement. I read the quote “better than the Hunger Games,” and immediately decided to read the trilogy (swift marketing, eh?). I finished Moira Young’s trilogy in a little over a week, and while I wouldn’t say it was better than the Hunger Games, I can definitely say that I enjoyed it almost as much. If you haven’t read this series yet, stop here and go buy it. I strongly recommend it!

*Spoilers Ahead*

The trilogy follows the protagonist, Saba, her twin brother, Lugh, and their little sister Emmi on a terrifying adventure through a post apocalyptic desert. The world has been ruined by those who roamed before them, people known as The Wreckers. The first novel kicks off with Lugh kidnapped by a group of men on horseback (“the Tonton”), and the twins father is also slain, leaving Saba and Emmi on their own. Saba is then fuelled to find her brother, and the journey begins.

On their way to rescue Lugh, Saba and Emmi are captured and Saba becomes a cage fighter against her will in a place called Hopetown. She does everything she needs to survive and Hopetown patrons nickname her the Angel of Death; she can’t be beaten. Along with the help of a group of amazing girls called the Free Hawks, Saba plans her escape, meets a sexy trouble maker named Jack along the way, and eventually escapes Hopetown to find her brother.

Soon Saba is joined by a group of misfits and they all follow the Angel of Death to the King’s Palace in the hills, where they all aim to help Saba in her efforts to rescue her brother. Saba plans on killing the King for kidnapping her brother, but the group sees the bigger picture: Killing the King will shake up their world and the journey isn’t just about getting Lugh back.

Fast forward to Book Three. Saba has continued to become a compelling leader and warrior. Each book outlines her struggles so realistically and eloquently, despite the rough language the characters use. (The language/slang used in the books does take some getting used to). A new leader of the new world (known in the books as New Eden) has taken over, the Tonton have grown, the weak are suffering, and Saba and her team of misfits plan to go down with a fight. Rebels with a cause, you could say.

The three novels kept me compelled and I was constantly left hanging on the edge of my seat. Saba never gives up, and while she has her flaws, she is someone you are rooting for until the end. She makes mistakes, betrays people she cares about, and gets her team into a few messes. But when Saba finally realizes her overall goal, the book stayed glued to my hands.


Thanks to Allegiant (the painful third book in the Divergent series), I always fear for the third book in trilogies. It seems that they never live up to fans expectations. But in the Dustlands series, I wasn’t let down. There were some surprises in the books- I never knew where they were going to take me. I was especially surprised by Tommo and Lugh in the ending.

The third book offers Saba’s perspective, as well as the view point of both Emmi and a betrayer within Saba’s team (the betrayer unknown to the reader). I didn’t know how I felt about the point of view changing at first, but when I finished the book, I can see why Young decided to incorporate it. Lugh wasn’t the man I thought he was, and the mystery in the last book never would have been painted properly without offering that additional perspective.

And while I was devastated about Emmi and heartbroken over Lugh (I was especially upset about Emmi’s demise, just like I was with Prim in The Hunger Games!), I must admit: I had been cheering for Jack and Saba the entire time. At least two of my favorites’ ended up okay… and really, that’s all you can hope for in a trilogy.

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