The Harvest by Chuck Wendig
Blood will water the corn...
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. As the mechanicals, a war flotilla, and a pack of feral Empyrean girls begin to close in on the Heartland, there isn’t much time to make their next move. But if they can uncover a secret weapon in time, Cael and his friends might just find themselves with the power to save the world—or destroy it—resting in their hands.
The Harvest is the third book in The Heartlands Trilogy. Cael and his friends and family are scattered all over the Heartlands, and over the course of the book, their paths slowly re-converge as everyone makes their separate way to the new city that rose from the ashes of book two. The ultimate goal is stopping the terrible Initiative and gaining freedom for the Heartland, but there are other dangers the friends face, new ones, old ones, and hidden ones.
So first off, I love the world building, the tension, and the villains. This book is multi-dimensional, not just a single bad guy or good guy. Each character has a unique voice and purpose. I still have favorites among the team, but I think Gwennie and Cael, individually, are the ones I most enjoyed in this book. Gwennie because she’s everyone’s love interest, and Cael because he’s central to the story. Both of them because they are likeable, but not perfect. I wanted them to succeed, to live, and to end up together. So, of course, any time the story shifted to one of their perspectives, I was excited about it.
That being said, I didn’t feel a connection with all of the characters, not enough to hope for them or mourn them. The girls on the flotilla, well, they got no sympathy from me. Wanda, while growing significantly in this story and having taken an interesting life path, is still rather clingy and manipulative. I mostly enjoyed the way she physically changes, but I still couldn’t bring myself to really root for her. Mer is barely mentioned. Just a blip on a screen here or there. I guess she was only really important in book two.
Lots of folks like to know whether a book will be a happily ever after or not. I don’t want to spoil that. I will say that this one ends similarly in overall approach to the Harry Potter series. The plots and characters are vastly different from each other, but the feel was very, very similar. Goes out with a bang and then, several years later, a murmur. An ok ending with everything answered, but going from let’s do this to it’s done and now it’s up to my kids to carry the torch.
All that said, I really enjoyed this book and loved the series as a whole. The story is epic in scope, if not in length. Not too daunting for folks who don’t want to spend all their time reading, but a real page turner and enough meat for those who do. The sci fi elements are really well done, so folks who dig plausible sci fi will really like that about this trilogy. The realism of the relationships and their outcomes will be refreshing to those who are tired of the same old formula; they’ll keep you guessing to the end. And, finally, the world itself is fantastic, and the corner of it in which the characters love, live and perish is incredibly detailed without overboard description.
I receive the review copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Intrigued? Check out all three books on Amazon.