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Book Review: Rebel by Marie Lu

Title: Rebel

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Legend #4

Genre: YA Dystopian

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Overview: With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale. Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother. A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life. As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . . -Goodreads

The Review:

I remember loving the original Legend Trilogy. In hindsight, however, I think I rated it so highly because I was only comparing it to other YA dystopians. Of the dozens I tried at the time, Legend ranked close to the top of my list. I don’t know that I would have been so generous with my ratings had I honesty compared them to all books I enjoyed and not just that very specific branch of the YA market.

Rebel was just okay. The plot was cute, extending the romance between June and Day. Actually it’s biggest selling point was how much better this ending wrapped up their love story. Unfortunately, everything else was really surface-level. The plot didn’t get complex, the characters didn’t have a lot of depth, and the concept for the story wasn’t really that compelling. In my review for earlier books, I mentioned that I loved the point-system hierarchy (where you rise in rank and status based on how much you contribute) of the society she created in Antarctica, and since Rebel takes place there, it should’ve provided a much more in-depth exploration of it. It did not. I suppose world building is not usually the main focus of a straightforward YA, but even so, I let my expectations drive my experience a bit, and my overall rating reflects that. At the end of the day, I wish this resolution had come out much closer to when I’d read the first three books because it does do a good job at wrapping things up. It’s highly recommendable for Marie Lu’s Legend fans. But for my reading tastes these days, it was a decently entertaining bit of fluff and not much more.

Other books you might like*:

*I decided to go with less-typical recommends because, let’s face it, if you like the genre you’ve most definitely already read the mainstream ones like Divergent and Hunger Games. I recommended these books for similar vibes, setting, and character motive. :)

by Niki Hawkes

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Duology Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

The Reboot Duology
by Amy Tintera
4/5 stars

Reboot (5 stars) was one of the best YA books I’ve ever read. And not necessarily because it was flawless, but because the elements that worked well really stole the show.

It starts out with a great concept – humans who are “rebooted” after dying (from a virus) and given a number to indicate how long they were dead. The bigger the number, the less humanity the individual retains. Wren is a 178 and every bit the cold, calculating soldier she supposed to be (or so it would seem). She never questions authority and always does what she was supposed to do. Then in walks my favorite dynamic of the story – Callum, a 22 who is relatable and endearingly human, challenging everything about Wren’s paradigm. The interplay between the two is easily the magic of the series, especially at the beginning were they’re still learning how to relate to one another. I loved every moment.

Tintera is a good writer who builds characters and relationships really well and writes with great pacing and clarity. But her work does have a couple of issues – world building and accuracy among the most prominent. It was mostly just a few little things here and there that made me pause and think “Hmmm… I’m not so sure that’s consistent with the laws of physics.” Or something to that effect, but I would always decide to just roll with it. For the most part, I was enjoying all of the things she did brilliantly enough that the shortcomings didn’t bother me.

Rebel, the second book in the duology, maintained momentum from the first but I admit it lost a little of the magic that made Reboot so amazing. That said, I’d still give it a solid 3 stars (I liked it) rating and appreciated as a series-ender.

Overall, this duology is great for dystopian/post-apocalyptic fans, and I’d even hand it to someone who likes zombie stories (even though it doesn’t dive very deep into that genre). If you still have a Hunger Games hangover, this might be the book for you.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes