The Harvest by Chuck Wendig
The Harvest by Chuck Wendig is the final book of The Heartland Trilogy, a trilogy that I will remember for the scale of its creativity, but a trilogy that I will want to forget because of how much I disliked the characters. Perhaps you are a Wendig fan and need only a few hundred pages of his excellent prose to feel satisfied, but I wanted more from this final book of the trilogy. I needed more from this final book of the trilogy. Because Chuck Wendig is too damn talented to be just that guy with a peculiar but awesome way with words.
The story picks up one year after the events of Blightborn, with the main characters scattered around the Heartland still trying to come to terms with the events that closed the previous books. Cael McAvoy (or as I've come to call him throughout this trilogy, Jerkface McDouchebag) is back, the world has changed while he was away, and he has a lot of catching up to do. He has been charged with bringing down the Empyrean Empire, though he is not sure he still has the motivation for it. Meanwhile the Empyreans continue to scheme, looking for a way to severely punish the Heartlanders for what they did to the Saranyu, but without eliminating the workforce they rely on to stay afloat.
The thing that surprised me most about this book was that Wendig chose to move the story forward by one year, allowing for so much story to happen off-screen. He is not the only person to have done this, and I've seen it done well in other trilogies, but given how huge the events were at the close of Blightborn and given the cliff-hanger we were left with, I wanted to know what was happening right now, not what was going to happen one year later. Right from the start I lost motivation to read this book, and it took a while before The Harvest was able to get its hooks into me.
The Harvest is a story about sacrifice, and Wendig asks all of his characters to give up pieces of themselves so that the Heartlanders have a chance at freedom. Jerkface, Lane and Rigo all make their sacrifices with some resistance and an overall sense of inevitability, but it is Wanda who I really feel for. Wanda makes her sacrifice willingly, becomes irreversibly changed, loses so much of the person she was in book 1 and 2, only to have her sacrifice go unvalued and unappreciated throughout the entire book. It hurts to see how she is treated throughout the book, so Wendig has certainly achieved his goal of making me have feelings for some of these characters that I loathed at the start of the series. That ability to take characters on non-traditional development arcs across three different books should not be understated.
I think the reason why this book didn't really work for me is that darkness and the sense of inevitable doom was just too pervasive throughout the book. In genres like grimdark, the darkness makes those glimmers of light shine brighter, making those morally ambiguous characters seem downright heroic. With The Harvest, the lens through which we view the world is cloudy, meaning that those glimmers of light in the darkness struggle to break through the shroud. There are moments of real hope, but they are fleeting at best, and this extends through to the ending where the surviving characters are left at the crossroads, with all paths leading to varying degrees of hardship.
I think my feelings surrounding The Harvest are representative of my feelings for the whole Heartland Trilogy. There is some damn fine writing in here and some truly excellent action sequences that end up being drowned out by unlikable characters making poor decisions, and a lack of hope for the future being at least as bright as what they had before the journey started. There can be no doubt that Wendig is one of the most talented writers going around, but I think this trilogy has shown that when it comes to storytelling choices, he can be hit and miss.
This The Harvest book review was written by Ryan Lawler
All reviews for: The Heartland Trilogy
Under The Empyrean Sky
The Heartland Trilogy #1
Fear the Corn. Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to gro...
The Heartland Trilogy #2
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,...
The Heartland Trilogy #3
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 thei...
Have you read The Harvest?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Harvest reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Obernewtyn Chronicles
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only ...
Cirque du Freak
Darren Shan seems like your average boy--he likes playing football with his mates, passing notes in class and loves spiders. Then, one day, his best mate Steve gets tickets...
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies t...
Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X Isle, the island where life is rumoured to be easier than on what...
The Testament of Jessie Lamb
Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God. As she watches her world collapsing, Jessie Lamb decides she wants to make her life coun...
The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the people...
Shades of Grey
Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy...
In a world where the undead outnumber the living, Moses Todd (the only recurring character from The Reapers are the Angles) roams the post-apocalyptic plains of America. Hi...
Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs. Or so he thought. But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled ...
Twenty-five years ago the world changed forever. A great war, which had raged for three years ended, and the reign of the Demons began... Within the crumbling walls of Fire...
Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not de...
The Dark and Hollow Places
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of...
Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surround...
The Secret Book of Sacred Things
The coming of the Great Stone destroyed almost everything that used to be. But high in one remote valley, the Church of Selene has found its way back from ruin. Sister Luka...
Marianne de Pierres
The story follows follows Virgin Jackson, park ranger at one of the last remaining national parks in the world. Her boss has made her responsible for looking after U.S. Mar...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: