Review: “The Harvest,” Chuck Wendig

Pros: Plenty of plot twists, tragedies, and excitement
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Chuck Wendig’s The Harvest (The Heartland Trilogy Book 3) takes place roughly one year after the Saranyu flotilla fell to the corn. Lane is now the Mayor of Pegasus City–the city that has arisen from the rubble of the flotilla. Rigo has linked up with Cael’s Pop. Wanda and Cael are bound to the Maize Witch by the Blight. Gwennie, Boyland, and Balastair are living in a small, out-of-the-way town, hoping to go unnoticed by the Empyrean. Of course things can’t stay calm. The Empyrean is closing in on Pegasus City, and converting more and more Heartlanders into mechanicals via the Initiative. The Maize Witch has her own agenda to change the power structure. And a young and deeply disturbed Empyrean woman named Enyastasia has trained a group of orphan girls as assassins, planning to use them to take vengeance for the destruction of the flotilla.

The love connections are still an all-out tangle rather than a triangle or other simple figure. Gwennie’s going to marry Boyland–oh wait, no she isn’t. Balastair and Cleo are back together–but wait, Gwennie and Balastair have kissed. Cael and Wanda get together; Cael and Gwennie get back together. Also, as usual for this series, there are some unlikely coincidences of timing. Rigo runs into Pop in one random town; Cael runs into Gwennie in the middle of a cornfield. You just know that no matter how far apart they are, the characters will always manage to find each other again.

Finally Chuck fixed the stereotype I was so annoyed about in the first two volumes of this trilogy. Gwennie and Wanda eventually have some interactions that do not fit into the rivals for a man’s affection/can’t trust/can’t rely on pattern. It’s nice to see a relationship between females in this series that has some decent moments to it, even if it’s only for a short time.

The plot reeled me in. So far we have a mechanical corruption of the flesh coming from the Empyrean side, and a biological contamination coming from the Maize Witch’s side, and the Blight has been portrayed as the lesser of these horrors. It’s nice to see the question of what makes one better than the other get a little more complicated–after all, both should be pretty horrific. The Witch’s agenda turns out to be rather fascinating; don’t worry, I won’t give it away. I love how Chuck writes the Blight–it’s beautiful and horrifying all at the same time. That is seriously skillful.

I’m not that fond of Cael, so I’m glad the focus is spread around to plenty of the different characters. If anything I think Wanda becomes my favorite character of the trilogy in this installment. She’s creepy as hell, sure, but she has plenty of personality.

All in all this is an excellent conclusion to the trilogy.

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