I have to say that I enjoyed this read thoroughly. I know that I rolled my eyes often at the beginning, at how Lugh is and how Saba is allowing him to be but in all honesty, this isn't Blood Red Road. Our babies have journeyed, have experienced have made life altering decisions and this, Rebel Heart, is the consequences of such decisions. When a person (real or unreal) has to make the kinds of judgments these kids have made, you better know ghosts will follow.
Also, how much did we know about Lugh in the first place? How much do we really know about him now?
All of the books that follow BRR cannot be the same. They all cannot brim at the seams with the red hots. At some point our characters have to reflect or it would seem unrealistic and fake. And I don't know about you lot, but I can't get under a book in which there is no kind of evolution, where the characters are constant and never-changing. I need to see them grow and find their strength in other places and other people. I need to see that their choices weigh on them, especially in a read like this. I would think Saba a psycho if there had not been any mental recourse.
So, no, I don't think BRR was better. It was the beginning, it was a different book. Life went on, things changed.
Book three will show us something entirely different. We will be reading, yet again, about a different Saba. Hopefully, a different Lugh, a stronger Emmi. And Jack, well, I love Jack almost more than Saba :).
All in All: I would still live here. I think Moira Young has done a great job making the story and it's characters progress. Brava.