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(The Heartland Trilogy #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  932 ratings  ·  130 reviews
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 wi
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Skyscape
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  932 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cael, Lane, and Rigo head north through the Heartland, looking for the provisions depot, and stumble upon more than they bargain for in the form of a mysterious hobo and the Sleeping Dogs, raiders fighting against the Empyreans. Meanwhile, Gwennie has found that winning the Lottery isn't all it's cracked up to be and wants to escape the flotilla...

I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

Chuck Wendig is one of the few authors I've encountered that knows how to make the second book in a
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
*** 3.75 ***

Better than the first in my opinion 🙂. Still very sketchy with the characters, but the story is fascinating. I am interested to see where we go from here...
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-shelf, sci-fi, ya
YA SF has its ups and downs, that's for sure, but the better ones of the bunch always seem to rise to the top. This happens to be one. And I'm surprised, honestly, because whenever I think of Wendig, I think of the brutal pottymouth I've grown to love in his Black novels. :) YA? Wendig?

But yes, I really enjoyed the first in the trilogy. Especially the worldbuilding. The second steps it up a notch by taking us right into the clouds as well as the seedier elements down below, on the run or setting
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I make it no secret that I’ve been in a bit of a YA slump lately. This year saw a few of my favorite YA series finishing their runs and I’ve been flitting around checking out more books to fill the void, and it’s been difficult finding anything that clicked with me. This has led to discouragement and no small amount of burnout, so I’m really glad for books like Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King and now Chuck Wendig’s Blighborn
 Simply Sam ツ
I think this was a solid second book.

We're thrown right back into the story, but the action is now broken up between those on the flotilla and those on the ground hoping to rescue them. I still think the corn is completely bizarre, and in this book we get to take a closer look at the blight, though it is still not really explained. It's just so strange and more than a little horrifying. We learn that life on the flotilla is not all that it is cracked up to be (imagine that!) and that Cael's fat
Blightborn by Chuck Wendig
Published 2014, Skyscape
Stars: ★★★★☆
Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry

Thanks, Netgalley, for giving me this great Chuck book in exchange for an unbiased review... though it's hard to be unbiased when Chuck is so awesome!!!

Seriously, this one kicked it up a notch... actually, way past a notch. Our heroes and heroines got deeper into trouble, a few new characters were introduced, and some allegiances changed back and forth a few times.

This series is proving to be fu
Ria Bridges
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Picking up immediately where Under the Empyrean Sky left off, Blightborn takes readers on an impressive ride not just through the Heartland but now also on one of the Empyrean flotillas, seeing both the low and the high of the world’s 2 main societies. Gwennie and her family have won the Lottery and get to live on a flotilla, doing grunt-work and being the lowest of the high rather than the life of luxury all the propaganda promised. Cael, Lane, and Rigo are on the run, trying to make their way ...more
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
[4.5 Stars] Woah, I read that so quickly once I started. Review to come shortly!

Edit: Okay, it's been a couple weeks so it's high time that I do my review for this book before I forget anything.

Holy mackerel! This was just as amazing as the first book, Under the Empyrean Sky! There were just so many things that I loved that continued on from the first as well as adding more. I worried that this would suffer from middle book syndrome, but nope!

I think my favorite thing has to be the unpredictab
Liz Neering
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book, this SERIES, is so good I think I'm going to be sick. I didn't want it to end, least of all where it DID. Lane, sweet Lane, WHAT HAPPENS, I MUST KNOW.

In all seriousness, BLIGHTBORN is as well paced and tightly plotted as its predecessor. The characters are remarkable. They're deep and complex and difficult, and they tug at my heartstrings and surprise me in the best and most painful of ways.

I have to comment on the wonderful representation in the book, too. There's no punching down t
Melanie R Meadors
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This book was everything awesome that the first Heartland book, UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY, was, and more. Wendig’s characters are like real people, multi-dimensional and complicated. There are no cliche cardboard cutout archetypes or tropes here. Every character has their strengths, weaknesses, things that you love, and things that make you want to scream.

I went into this book expecting a second book, maybe a little saggy, like many middle books of trilogies are. Hell no. This book kept me enga
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

3.5 Stars for Story
4.5 Stars for Narration by Nick Podehl

A few fun twists but overall progression felt chunky. I'm looking forward to seeing how the trilogy will (explode) end.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This Review was originally posted on Avid Reviews:

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 n
Wynne McLaughlin
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Okay, wow. I'm giving this one five stars. Non-stop, pulse-pounding action, and twist after surprising twist. I'm completely hooked! In fact, I already started the final book of the trilogy, because with that ending, how could I not? GREAT stuff! ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Five Stars

◆ Thanks to NetGalley for this eBook copy for review ◆

I have so much fun reading these books. Past the decent story and the writing and characters, the enjoyment from just getting through this series is enough for me to want to keep coming back.

While I don't feel Wendig's writing has dramatically developed since Under the Empyrean Sky, I can't deny how much the humour engages me. However boyish and immature at times it's really entertaining:
Sachin Dev
Heartland trilogy chugs ahead full speed with Blightborn, the second book that follows the adventures of Cael McAvoy and his buddies set in a dystopian future where evil schemes of the greedy man has killed the soil – there is only corn that grows out here on earth – and the Heartland dwellers – the “have-nots” stuck in this sunny dustbowl of a wasteland are grubbing their way through lives suffering under the tyranny of the sky-dwellers or the Empyreans. The title of the first book, Under the E ...more
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}
I received this advanced copy from Net Galley and Skyscape publishing in exchange for an honest review

Bell, Book & Candle | Blightborn Review

Another brilliant cover art piece this one is. I must admit that I have not read the first book of the series, so ultimately I was lost at first. Thankfully it didn't take away from the story too much, and I was able to catch up with all the different storylines and subplots. I would consider this book high fantasy and a dystopian, that is filled with actio
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
The last half of this book really carried my rating over to 3 stars. I'm still somewhat underwhelmed by this series, but I keep being drawn back in because I find the concept interesting and I'm curious where the story will go from here.

The characters' relationships are so interwoven and they can't figure out who they want to be with over one another. It is really difficult when trying to relate to them or figure out their motivations.

In this book we are finally introduced to the Empryeans. Sadl
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted this to be a five start book. I really, really, really did. But gosh darn it, I just couldn't do it. The story is amazing, the world is incredible, I love everything about this series. The only thing that screwed it up, was again, the writing style.
This author can take a story, weave so much into it and create a great climactic ending that just blew me away and left me wanting, but I was distracted. It was almost as if he had a list of every cliche simile ever written and put th
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I wanted to like it... obviously I thought I'd like it or I wouldn't have entered the contest... but it just never clicked for me. I kept reading fifty pages or so and then putting it down for something else. The setting was interesting-- a dystopian civilization with the upper class floating about on steampunk-flavored, Bespin-like flying cities while the poor masses are stuck on the ground in a world taken over by Stephen King-ish mutant corn-- but the ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2014-reads
Actual Rating: 4.5
Chuck Wendig is incapable of writing a bad book. Seriously! After reading his other works, I have never found myself disappointed by his beautiful imagery, well drawn characters, and great storytelling. Blightborn is the second installment in the Heartland trilogy and it is just as good as the first one. I can't tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night just to see what would happen next in this epic tale of a bands of heroes rebelling against a tyrannical sy
Dec 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, dystopian
I actually had to stop midway through this book. Not that it was lacking action or anything, but the treatment of the female characters made me too uncomfortable. I realize it's all dystopian so poor people clearly must be depraved and HORRIBLE to each other, but the situations he put them in didn't really seem necessary for the plot to move along, and it wasn't taken seriously enough for me to handle continuing to read it. It may be a personal issue, but I still couldn't do it. Also, the perspe ...more
Tam Linsey
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this on audio and LOVED it. The narrator is amazing with the different voices. And the author has done awesome world building for this storyline. If you like dystopia and rich, engaging characters, this book is for you.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I... might have said some harsh things about this series in the past. After reading the second book, though...

Yeah. I totally stand by them.


The Setting: As always, the greatest strength of this series is the worldbuilding. It was fascinating to finally get a look at not only the Empyrean, but the underworld of the Empyrean flotillas, and the various other areas of the Heartland. The Dead Zone was especially intriguing (I wonder, is this what the rest of the Heartland is eventually going
Nick Morgan
Jul 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Reposted from Notes to the Dark Net

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
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cael has the Blight, and is starting to hear a voice in his head. I’m so glad we get to see more of the Blight in this volume–it’s creepy, horrific, and fascinating. Not all of our questions about it will be answered, but we do get to meet the Maize Witch and see more of what the Blight is capable of.

The love interests in this volume are getting awfully complicated. Gwennie was with Cael, then she was Obligated to Boyland, and now there might or might not be some sort of attraction between her a
Hannah Ringler
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Advance copy provided by NetGalley

I am sick to death of dystopian fiction. I read a surfeit of it as a teenager, and sometimes it seems like there’s very little besides paranormal romance and dystopias available in the YA section. So I’d pretty much sworn not to read any more. And yet. I read this despite the blurb describing it as a "chilling post-apocalyptic adventure” and I loved it.

I’d actually intended to read the first book in this trilogy first - I went ahead and bought the Kindle version
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The second in The Heartland Trilogy becomes more complicated as the plot moves between the land and the sky. Events are fast coming to a crisis as both the Sleeping Dogs rebel leaders and the Emperyean leaders plot to destroy each other. Cael McAvoy's family & friends are caught up in the middle trying to save the ones they love. In appearance a dystopian young adult story, there is a great deal of bloody violence and suggestive sexual scenes that may not be for those on the lower age of the you ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
That’s life in the Heartland

As a Kindle purchase with Audible audiobook at an add-on price, this is a very reasonably priced book considering it is as good as it is.

It’s not perfect but it’s at least compelling and competent. Personally I enjoyed it enough to say I like it. Maybe not quite enough to say I love it, mainly because I don’t love the setting, the hardscrabble Steampunk dystopia may work as a metaphor for inequality but it’s not exactly a playground for the imagination.

In fairness,
Leah Webber
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book transitions from the beginnings of unrest into full revolutionary overthrow. Gwennie and Lane are my favorite parts of this book. Cael continues to be Cael, in spite of mounting evidence that he shouldn't trust his own seriously lacking judgement. We travel above the Heartland for much of this book, soaring with one of the flotillas. The vistas are great, as are some of surprises. It ends on an even bigger boom than the last book. Slightly worried about the whole Heartland blowing up i ...more
Michelle Palmer
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
An amazing second part to this fantastic story

Wendig took the events of the first book and seamlessly moved on to the second. The old characters and the new all felt real and their actions were believable and justified based on the characters ethics.

The first book took place mostly on the planet's surface, this one was partially on the surface and partially on one of the floating cities above.

Excellent pacing, amazing characyer development and worldbuilding that I cannot get enough of.
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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at th

Other books in the series

The Heartland Trilogy (3 books)
  • Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1)
  • The Harvest (The Heartland Trilogy, #3)

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