August 30, 2014
Blightborn, by Chuck Wendig
Cael McAvoy is on the run. 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. Gwennie’s living the life of a Lottery winner, but it’s not what she expected. Separated from her family, Gwennie makes a bold move—one that catches the attention of the Empyrean and changes the course of an Empyrean man’s life. The crew from Boxelder aren’t the only folks willing to sacrifice everything to see the Empyrean fall. The question is: Can the others be trusted?
I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m a Chuck Wendig fan. If you’ve read my review of Under the Empyrean Sky, you know I was unhappy with the ending. Blightborn still has a cliffhanger, but it’s not as severe as UTES. I found the plot to be more streamlined than UTES, and it felt more akin to the Miriam Black series Chuck does with a fast moving storyline and some in-your-face moments.
I felt that the characters, specifically, the villains had improved greatly since UTES. There is a love triangle that’s explored in Blightborn, and we’ll need to stick around for The Harvest to see what happens there.
The descriptions of the lifestyle, dress and attitudes of the Empyreans, paint a vivid picture of the fight between the haves and the have-nots. I’m not sure if the author intended it to be a commentary on American society and its trend towards waste and opulence, but these descriptions, along with a beautiful cover made me feel like the flotilla could be a place I could visit.
It’s amazing that the quality of content has improved since the first book, since I find Chuck’s writing to be fabulous. Blightborn is a testament that we can all improve as writers no matter where we are in our writing careers.
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.