The Rebel Series by Lance Erlick

 

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The Rebel Within
Published: 25th March, 2013
Finlee Augare Books
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: CBB Book Promotions

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott lives under the iron rule of a female-dominated régime that forces males to fight to the death to train the military elite. When pressed into service as a mechanized warrior to capture escaped boys, Annabelle stays true to herself by helping some escape. Her defiance endangers everyone she loves and thrusts her to a place of impossible life and death decisions.

What I Liked: Annabelle is a character who shows character growth over the novel and while at times she’s forced into positions that make her uncomfortable, she learns to embrace who she’s becoming in her own way. The dystopian aspects to the novel are also highly plausible in their own way, and that was something that caught my attention as the details about the world Annabelle lives in fell into place. The dystopian aspect to the story is more hidden in this than in some, overshadowed by the utopian her life is supposed to be. We even have some sci-fi thrown in, quite a bit of new gear is introduced like the mech suits and the electric cycles, it gave a bit of its own interesting twist. The writing popped at some places as well, it has wording that describes the imagery of the story. I think the way the government presented itself as promoting harmony and equality for their women was something I never expected, the utopian cover to the society was incredibly well done if I do say so myself. I think it really interesting hearing about how this society came about as well, and how everything happened, especially when you learn how little by little Annabelle’s city has rezoned neighborhoods to include just women and girls, while boys and men are given various jobs that the women don’t yet do and the way they are treated seemed plausible for this society.

What I Didn’t Like: Sometimes when reading I noticed inconsistencies with what we were told about Annabelle, such as how she doesn’t seem to be liked and is a loner she made a small (and admittedly very uninspiring and unenergetic) speech to her basketball team and they all responded like it was the best thing they had ever heard! Plus the amount of trouble that Annabelle seems to be getting in by breaking out of school and not following orders at her job means she should get in some sort of trouble. But instead she’s just given warnings? Then, one small and really inconsequential fight because she got mad gets her collared as a criminal and threatened with being sent off to a reharmonization facility in a different town or choosing to join the mechs? I don’t see the priorities if she’s repeatedly breaking rules and only given warnings. And sometimes the writing is jumpy and loses its flare and becomes bland and boring.

Overall Review: The Rebel Within is a good start to what looks like will be a very interesting series. Annabelle is a very interesting protagonist to follow and she has struggles and self doubts even while she trains to become stronger and become a mech despite them standing for everything Annabelle believes, that they have to capture and kill boys for crossing to the Outlands to where boys and men have a better future than they do inside the Federal Union. The concepts are well thought out, and the technology is advanced to a very interesting point. Seventeen years after a civil war to create the society that we know from Annabelle is not much time to build a society to the degree we see it, but there’s no doubt that it was in the making as the civil war happened. The advancements for medicine and treatments are sort of boggling to the mind when you read them, in an interesting way that makes you wonder what they are. Even the main antagonist to the story is interesting and complex in her own way, Dara proves to be someone who you can never tell if she’s serious about the way she treats Annabelle outside of fighting, she has this little dance where she switches from rude and mean to friendly and kind depending on the situation at hand. It makes her interesting. Janine is another interesting character who we see a lot in the story, she’s Annabelle’s younger sister. Janine shows growth of her own but to be fair she seemed a bit whiny and clingy as well. I did like her usually, Annabelle’s faith and protectiveness of her was endearing and spoke a lot about the bond she has with Janine. The book also ends with a big bang, I’m so excited to see how it plays out in the second book!

Recommend?: I do, this book has a very interesting premise to the world that Erlick has set up, and I’m curious to find out more about it!

Goodreads: 3.7/5 Amazon: 4/5 Barnes&Noble: 4.5/5 BookDepository: -/5

My Rating: 3.7/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 3.6
Idea: 4.2
Story: 3.9
Characters: 3.3

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Rebels Divided
Published: 12th June, 2013
Finlee Augare Books
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: CBB Book Promotions

Summary:

Nineteen-year-old Mechanized Warrior Annabelle Scott should kill rebel Geo Shaw during a military operation. Instead, she lets him escape, which mystifies them both. With the nation divided into a female-dominated Federal Union and an Outland wilderness, the Outland warlord and Federal governor conclude a secret deal. It pledges Annabelle to the warlord to provide heirs, and puts a bounty on Geo and his father.

When Annabelle refuses, the warlord kidnaps her and her beloved sister, but underestimates her resourcefulness. Betrayed by their own people, Geo’s plans to bust loose from his impoverished Outland glen and Annabelle’s attempts to escape and enlist his help backfire, and bring them into conflict with military on both sides of the border. Can Geo and Annabelle overcome mutual distrust and work together to rescue her sister and gain justice for his father’s murder? And will their feelings for each other derail or further their goals?

What I Liked: Annabelle has grown so much in between the two books and it shows. She acts much more mature than she did in the first book and she’s even become more cautious about how she is with her rebellious tendencies. Three year as a mech is a lot of time for her to grow, but she’s still the same Annabelle we knew in the first book with her attitude and stubbornness. She’s still even incredibly protective over Janine! She’s also more friendly with her mech sisters than she was in the first book, and she’s shown to be close to some of them like she isn’t with others. Dara appears as well, and she doesn’t seem to have changed much in the sense that she still seems to be chasing after Annabelle three years down the road. We’re also introduced to a host of new characters to go with Annabelle’s stay in the Outlands, the main one being George (or Geo as he seems to go by). Geo’s actually an interesting character and gives us a good bounce off with the alternating perspective between him and Annabelle throughout the novel. Geo’s growth in the novel was noticeable, and he was a character who did sometimes surprise me. Actually, Annabelle surprised me more than anyone, she did what she had to do to rescue Janine and let me tell you the way she went about it with Geo in the beginning showed that she’s learned how to get what she wants. I loved them both, I really did and I’m curious as to what the sequel to this book will be like. The writing was better in this book than the first book, and that pleased me.

What I Didn’t Like: Okay, seriously, what happened to the plot at the end of book one that got set up? I was totally expecting that one to play out in book two! But instead we get sent three years into the future and we don’t know what happens during the plot set up at the end of book one? I was frankly rather puzzled by this development, it didn’t add up to me. There were also some parts that didn’t quite add up, and they left me a little puzzled, such as Annabelle being a mech warrior but not being able to stay silent when her life is in danger and keeps asking questions, what was even up with that? Plus she’s only able to survive in the wilderness as long as she has her mech suit, and didn’t Sam tell her she would have to know how to survive without one in case of emergency? Pretty sure she should have learned to fend for herself in the wilderness without her mech suit. Some portions again suffered from bad writing, it was either was just too rushed or not worded right to make sense. Plus the senseless fighting Annabelle initiated with Geo.

Overall Review: I love this book more than I do the first one despite its hiccups and faults, its paced really well and interesting in a way that keeps you guessing with more than a few twist to keep you from getting comfortable with how everything is playing out. Sam even shows a new face in this book that’s a bit kinder than the tough shelled person we knew in the first book. Annabelle has grown in some ways, but we still see that she’s dealing with doubts and she’s got her faults. There’ an interesting plot, interesting characters, and an ending that could leave you wondering what happens afterward. All in all, a lovely addition to this series.

Recommend?: Why yes I do! It’s a really good book, in its own way. If you liked the first one then you should definitely read the second one!

Goodreads: 4.3/5 Amazon:4.6/5 Barnes&Noble: 5/5 BookDepository: -/5

My Rating: 4.3/5

Rated Material:
Cover: 3.7
Idea: 4.3
Story: 4.4
Characters: 4.7

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The Rebel Trap
Published: 1st October 2014
Finlee Augare Books
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: CBB Book Promotions

Summary:

Voices in sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet. Despite being a Mech Warrior recruit, she rebels against her female-dominated régime by not only refusing to kill Morgan, a handsome boy she’s attracted to, but also helping him escape.

Annabelle’s commander gives her auditory implants and contact cameras for an undercover assignment to investigate her corrupt police captain. Morgan hacks the implants to plead for her help in freeing his brother. As a pawn in a bigger game, she wants to help Morgan yet needs to discover the link between an attempted assassination of her adoptive mom, her police captain, and the geek institute that holds Morgan’s brother. Can she do so without falling into a trap that could destroy her family and get her killed?

What I Liked: This book picks up right where book one left off, with Annabelle having her special and secret assignment to infiltrate the cops she interned with to take down the police captain. We meet a new character, Seth, and Morgan makes a return from the first book. They’re not really there but they do have a presence that makes you wonder about them. Annabelle faces many complications with having her loyalty torn between the mechs and her family throughout the book, facing the decision to follow her orders from Sam or help her mother.

What I didn’t liked: We still have those inconsistencies with the writing going from great to “what?” on occasion, though everything is done better. I don’t want to complain about the plot because it would give stuff away, but some of the characters actions just, I don’t know their actions didn’t sit right with me. Even Annabelle’s actions were questionable about being believable to her character sometimes for me.

Overall Review: There’s still inconsistencies in this book, but it’s more polished in its own way than the other books have been. The book brought in more mystery aspects than the other books but it didn’t really have that big of a presence and didn’t have a big impact. I loved watching Annabelle grow even more in this book. The characters are more developed than they were from book one, but everything was done to show their progression in its own way. I loved it!

Recommend?: Definitely! It solves the mystery of what happened after book one and gives insight on some degree why she is the way she is in the second book.

Goodreads: 4.7/5 Amazon: 4.5/5 Barnes&Noble: 5/5

My Rating: 4.4/5

Rated Material:
Cover: 4.1
Idea: 4.4
Story: 4.6
Characters: 4.5

Lance Erlick

About the Author

Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age. Erlick lives in the Chicago area with his family.

Find learn more about the author and his stories visit his website at http://www.LanceErlick.com.

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Review by Bri

Bri

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