In Erlick’s sequel to The Rebel Within (2013), tensions mount even higher when a young girl and boy begin an illicit relationship in a female-ruled society.
Followers of the series will be more than happy to find Annabelle Scott just as feisty and zealous as she was when last they saw her. Before she’s sent on a high-priority mission to capture a boy dangerous to their female-dominated, sexist society, she learns in a surprise twist that she’s to be part of an arranged marriage with Thane Edwards in order for the region of Tenn-tucky to make an alliance with the Outland, Thane’s people. Disgusted by this, Annabelle goes on her mission along with her beloved sister, Janine, and her former nemesis, Dara. Everything takes a turn for the worse when Janine is captured by the Rangers, a brutal, hostile male force in the Outland. The Rangers leave Annabelle with no choice but to take off her mech suit, thus losing nearly all her power. She wakes up on Thane Edwards’ estate and narrowly escapes before finding refuge with Geo, her adopted mother’s biological son who’s also a freedom fighter against both the Rangers and Tenn-tucky’s sexist, militaristic rule. After Geo loses his father to the Rangers, he and Annabelle hesitantly come to trust and rely on each other, as Annabelle desperately searches for her sister and Geo wishes to avenge his father’s death. They come to realize that much more holds them together than they initially thought. Like its prequel, this engrossing YA novel keeps readers on their toes. In this volume, the magnetic love between Annabelle and Geo is especially intriguing. Both raised in a society where the other sex is not to be trusted, they’re initially surprised and somewhat horrified to find how attracted to one another they are. Although, as a whole, the novel reads well with a great sense of pace and excitement, in a few instances the plot points and emotions can be overstated. For example, Annabelle’s concerns—“She hoped [Geo] hadn’t misled her. She didn’t think so; he acted too sweet and smitten” —almost defuse the sparks between them. Rather than diving into both Annabelle’s and Geo’s perspectives, a bit more emotional mystery would have made the novel even stronger.
An action-packed love story with even more twists and turns than its prequel.