Ah, we’ve reached the end, dear readers, and how bittersweet it is. Let’s focus on the sweet parts, yeah? Back Cover Summary: T...

Thoughtful Thursdays: Book Review: Rebels by Jill Williamson

Ah, we’ve reached the end, dear readers, and how bittersweet it is.

Let’s focus on the sweet parts, yeah?


Back Cover Summary: The remnant of Glenrock has been scattered. But they are not beaten.

The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.

Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive. He is forced to focused his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?

Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children... but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.

If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.

Review: 4 1/2 stars out of 5. As with Captives and Outcasts, the plot of this book was well-developed, well-paced, and just plain wonderful. The various threads of action and mystery built beautifully on the former novels, winding up, then down, to a perfectly epic ending.

That ending, though. The climax was downright, straight-up AMAZING. And it wasn’t because they had some kind of crazy-awesome major battle. In fact, relative to other dystopians, the ending of Rebels was almost peaceful. Not to say that it wasn’t deliciously gripping and full of suspense, only that in comparison to the gun/arrow-blazing battles of series like Hunger Games and Divergent, there was barely a shot fired.

While I like an epic battle as much as the next fantasy nerd, the change was pretty nice. As I said about Shaylinn’s character last week, I found the uniqueness of it refreshing.

Besides that, the ending made sense for the series, because they’d never had a lot of big, bad battles anyway. Their war was always a lot closer to home, with more covert, almost spy-like missions. So yeah. I think Mrs. Williamson did a brilliant job bringing her brilliant series to a brilliant close.

Now for the charries.


Zaaaane!!!! He was amazingly awesome as usual, and I loved getting to learn a little more about his past, though, sadly, he didn’t get quite as much page-time as he did in Outcasts. Alas, my favorite person is not the main character, so his presence must be limited. Maybe in another book he can be the main? Please, Mrs. Williamson? I really wanna see more of him! And get a bit of clarity on certain events in his life that I cannot mention now, because... well, spoilers.

Speaking of spoilers, there might be a few as I go into my other favorite characters. You have been warned.

Shaylinn had strong spiritual roles in all the books, but even more so in the last two, as she portrays a vibrant Christian view of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love. Not to say that shes perfect or anything, but, you know, she does pretty good. 

My favorite part she played, though, was that of encourager. Her messages were super sweet and so powerful, they helped me sometimes. Like I said in my last post, Shaylinn proves that you do not have to be a butt-kicking queen to make an enormous difference in the lives of those around you. Shaylinn is a hero, as much as Levi is for stepping up, for becoming the leader Glenrock needed; as much as Mason is for always being there, ready to do whatever his brother asked of him, regardless of his own feelings; as much as Zane is for sticking with the people of Glenrock even when he really didn't have to; as much as Omar is for

Oh wait, I’ll get to him later.

Anyways, I love Shaylinn. Adore her. She’s just... she’s wonderful, you guys. Just wonderful.

Ahem. Now to talk about it Omar. As if I’ll fangirl less there.

And 3... 2... 1...

I am so proud of Omar, it’s insane! He was just... I mean he just... Ahh! There are no words for this, but I must try to find some because I am a writer and I promised you guys a review.

Okay.

So, admittedly, it took Omar long enough to pull himself together, but once he did, the sweetie was flat-out fantastic. I’m just so glad that he is where he is, that he is genuinely trying and succeeding at moving past his old addictions and insecurities. The boy’s been through a ton of crap (and a good deal of that he brought on himself), but he came through a better man for it. I am so terribly proud of him and very, very pleased with his development.



Though I immensely enjoyed the book, there was one thing that bothered me. Before I start I’d like to say that I’m not sure if the series is technically Christian fiction or not. If it’s not, feel free to discard all of the following. However, if it is, I have a bit of a problem with this: the main boys’ relationships with God.

By the end of Rebels, none of the brothers (except perhaps Mason) seemed to have a truly solid relationship with God. I mean they would pray every once in a while, stuff like “Please, God, don’t let us die,” (which to be fair, sometimes you do just have to roll with that). But it seemed almost like trusting God and having a real relationship with him was a “girl thing;” most of the boys experience with Him was almost second-hand. I’m pretty sure that’s not how Mrs. Williamson meant for it to come across and maybe that was just me... but it’s how I felt. I mean, it was Jemma and Shaylinn who did all the spiritual leading and showed pursuing the Lord best, though Mason seemed like he might have had the real thing going, and Omar, towards the end, may have, too.

For Levi, though, it seemed like he’d been trying this whole time, but I don’t recall seeing a real result by the last book. Not to say that he should’ve been perfect, because nobody ever makes it there, but he seemed a bit more like those church kids who just believe because their parents do. They’re all for the faith, sure, but they haven’t truly made the choice themselves to give their lives to God. And, especially since Rebels was the end of the series, I was expecting a little bit more from all of them.

Again, that perception might’ve just been me; it’s entirely possible that I got it all wrong. But this is  my review, so there you have it, my perception.


Overall, though, I genuinely love the series. I think it’s stinking genius, and it’s definitely up there with my favorite books ever. If Mrs. Williamson ever adds another book to the series (pretty please with whipped cream and sugar and whatever else you want on top?), I will be first in line to buy a copy.


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2 comments:

  1. The whole Safe Lands Series was a //fantastic// read! I absolutely adored it. ALL THE CHARACTERS. So much awesome. <3 I really appreciated Omar in "Rebels." He was utterly spectacular. I could go on for a long time about these books, but suffice it to say they are some of my favorites.

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    Replies
    1. Haha, you and me both! I don't think I've read too many other books where I loved all the characters so much.
      Omar did so much growing up, it was insane. Insanely awesome.

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