The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, January 20, 2014

Outcasts Book Review

By: Thomas F. Booher

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Outcasts is the second book in Jill Williamson's Safe Lands series, and I have found the writing to be largely the same as the first book (for my remarks on that, go here, here, and here). The back cover (of this advanced copy at least) will tell you what you need to know for the story. A family/tribe from Glenrock has been taken by force to the Safe Lands, where everyone has a disease that is slowly killing them, called the thin plague. The children are being held, and the women through artificial means are forced to bear children in the hopes that they are healthy and can repopulate the land. 

The story revolves largely around three siblings, Levi, Mason, and Omar, who each have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses that make it challenging for them to do what they must do. Levi is married, but the other two are dealing with romantic feelings which plays out quite well. Omar is a user, and I very much like how his character develops, but I think I like Mason even more, possibly because I relate to him the most. 

I would say that this story is as much about how the Safe Lands changes you due to its hedonistic culture as it is about the people of Glenrock being rescued from the Safe Lands. After all, if they are rescued, will it matter if they aren't who they used to be? If they have lost who they are, they won't go back to their family structure when they leave, in which case the Safe Lands still wins. In the Safe Lands, each child is everyone's child, there are no real mothers and fathers. This is the focal point of Williamson's story, and it is a much needed one considering the crossroads our culture is facing today. 

Actually, we have already lost our children haven't we? This is really a book that promotes homeschooling, that promotes spending time with your family and teaching them God's Word, something I highly value. Yet I think Williamson is also cautioning against the dangers of sheltering your children from what is actually just God honoring fun as well. We are called to engage this world, yet to be separate from it in our lifestyles. That's the hard line we are called to walk, and it is the one Christ walked perfectly. 

I'm not sure if this is a trilogy or not, but it seems to be setting up as one. If so, I am looking forward to the finale, mainly to see what happens with each character, how they turn out, more than if they get out of the Safe Lands (because we know of course they will). Here's to hoping that Jill Williamson doesn't wreck a good story with a too perfectly happy ending that takes shortcuts to resolve the inward spiritual strife of the main characters. That would be a shame, because right now there is an opportunity to really show the effects of sin and temptation, and that the end of these things is death.   

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

Outcasts can be purchased here.


  1. The book is a trilogy and the third book is scheduled to be released, I think in December? This year, anyway. I can't wait because I really loved the book.

  2. Nice review. I agree, it sounds like the author is cautioning us about making sure of our priorities; especially with our children.

  3. Thanks for the review! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the book. Yes, this is a trilogy. Last time I checked it will come out this August. :-)

  4. I think in my humble opinion that "books" are taking the place of genuine faith as the bible proclaims.these books are to me a distraction from the real world. just like the left without a mind I mean left behind books. no substance..I wish my wife would read the word with me ...blessings to all of you.