The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, September 22, 2014

CSFF Blog Tour: Rebels by Jill Williamson

In conjunction with the CSFF blog tour, I received a free review copy of this book.

You can purchase Rebels from Amazon here

Review By: Thomas F. Booher

 Rebels is the third and final installment in The Safe Lands trilogy (I am pretty certain this is a trilogy). It concludes the story of Omar, Mason, and Levi, three brothers who lived off the land with their family tribes of Glenrock. It is the year 2088 and The Safe Lands, a walled city where no one can leave, have been operating for some fifty years. The Great Pandemic left most of the world without suitable drinking water, and so The Safe Lands was built at a location where drinking water was available and people could live something of a normal life. Except they do not live much of a normal life. They are Hedonists, and their economy is set up for the young to live for pleasure and do little work while the old and criminals… well they are “liberated” at age forty and enter what they call Bliss. Then there is the thin plague which has no cure and is slowly killing the people of The Safe Lands. All babies born have the thin plague, which is why the government attacked the people of Glenrock. They wanted their women who were young enough to bear children for The Safe Lands.  The government is lying and keeping these things from the people, but they are apparently having too much fun to care or notice.

I found the first two books of this trilogy interesting and entertaining. I had some quibbles here and there with the writing, mostly with Jordan’s absurd anger rants and calling people cockroach guts and the like. I am hoping that is meant to be humorous and not taken seriously, but even if so it felt out of place. At any rate, the story itself was compelling, and left enough mystery and questions to keep me reading. Well, we get our answers to most of our questions in Rebels, and the results are mixed.

First I want to say that I felt this book was rushed. The pace, and details, became fewer and further between as the story went on. It was almost like the author intended to write more books in the series but had to change her plans halfway through writing this one. Which is a shame because I found the solution for getting the people of Glenrock out of the Safe Lands and the effort to topple the government far fetched, bordering on the preposterous. It was exciting to be sure. It just wasn’t very believable. And I appreciated the story so far because I found much of it at least within the realm of possibility. The good news is that if you have read the first two books and are still pressing on it is likely because you are invested in the characters, and there are plenty to choose from. While there were a few I didn’t much care for (like Jemma), I was much invested in Mason and Omar. Omar is a very conflicted character, and there are lessons to be learned from his struggle, and he is one with which you can sympathize. But I also found the things he did over the top. Mason, too, at the end. But nonetheless you get to see what happens to them, what they become, and what becomes of their love interests.

My biggest problem really is the secret of the lowlands. How is it a secret? How come nobody can figure this out? If no one has contact with the people down there, and yet nobody knows what Bliss is…. Is this really something so difficult to put together that no one could do so? Maybe I misunderstood something in the story since I haven’t read the other two books since the last blog tours, but I was disappointed to learn that the mystery of Bliss was so obvious.

This trilogy can ride the strength of its first two parts, and those invested in it from there will still want to read this conclusion. A bit more character development, some greater conflict in the conclusion, and less unbelievable victories for the people of Glenrock would have made this a great conclusion to The Safe Lands trilogy. As it is, it serves largely to teach some more moral lessons and show something of the corruption of human nature. The gospel makes a cameo, but it does so in a crucial point with Omar, which was one of my favorite parts of the book. While things end happily, things do not end perfectly, which is nice to see because it’s more realistic. The characters have to show their faith in God and trust in Him through many dangers, toils, and snares. The characters must decide if they are going to forgive one another for the sins they have committed. The author also has ten questions in the back of the book which are good ones, intended to challenge the reader and make him think through the morality of different characters and events.

I believe I gave the first two books in the trilogy 3.5 out of 5 stars each. I wish I could do so for this one as well, but for my reasons stated above, I have to dock it some. It is still worth reading for those who are invested. I give Rebels 2.75 out of 5 stars.   

See what others are saying about Rebels on the CSFF blog tour.

Participation List

<a href=""> Julie Bihn</a>

<a href=""> Thomas Fletcher Booher</a>

<a href=""> Beckie Burnham</a>

<a href=""> Jeff Chapman</a>

<a href=""> Vicky DealSharingAunt</a>

<a href=""> April Erwin</a>

<a href=""> Carol Gehringer</a>

<a href=""> Victor Gentile</a>

<a href=""> Rebekah Gyger</a>

<a href=""> Jeremy Harder</a>

<a href=""> Jason Joyner</a>

<a href=""> Carol Keen</a>

<a href=""> Shannon McDermott</a>

<a href=""> Meagan @ Blooming with Books</a>

<a href=""> Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews</a>

<a href=""> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>

<a href=""> Joan Nienhuis</a>

<a href=""> Nissa</a>

<a href=""> Writer Rani</a>

<a href=""> Audrey Sauble</a>

<a href=""> Chawna Schroeder</a>

<a href=""> Jojo Sutis</a>

<a href=""> Elizabeth Williams</a>


  1. Good review. I am part of the tour too, but didn't get any info on it. Did you get the participants list from Becky? I have emailed her, but no response. I am waiting to post.

  2. You raise some good points. BTW, it's hard to read your list of participants (of which I am one). You may want to put the code in the page instead of on the text portion.

  3. Hmmm...maybe people just don't WANT to know the truth about Liberation? (Well, I guess it turns out they evidently do, but sometimes people close their eyes to unpleasant things...but maybe the Safe Lands folks are just too lazy and complacent to really want to investigate?) If there could have been another 100 pages, there might have been some clearer answers.

    Good review! You have the same kind of analytic mind my writing partner has. :D

  4. My thought was the Lowland would have been considered the low end of society and those in the Midlands and Highlands didn't want to bring themselves down. After all when Omar was punished he was sent down to the Midlands so the Lowlands must be really bad.

    Enjoyed reading your insights.

  5. I enjoyed this book very much except that I would have liked the series to last longer.

  6. Thanks for reviewing the book! I appreciate it. As to why they didn't notice the Lowlands, I was coming from the angle that those living in the Highlands and Midlands had been trained for so many years to live for nothing but themselves, for pleasure, and that they didn't care about anything else, didn't ask important questions. So many teens (and adults) today live that way. They don't want to know what's going on in the world. They don't want to hear about wars and killing and death. They just want to watch their football/TV shows or listen to their music or go watch movies or hang with friends, buy the stuff they want, etc. I imagined the Highlands and Midlands made up of nothing but these types of people who cared more about their manicures than a shell of a man bleeding on the street. And those that did ask questions were silenced.

    1. I agree with you that many today in our culture do not pay attention to anything but themselves and their own interests. Yet I find it very hard to believe that everyone could be so self-absorbed as to not put together that liberation meant going to the Lowlands. I say that because nobody knew anyone from the Lowlands. There was no contact with them (if I understand correctly). So on the one hand there is this great mystery of liberation, which everyone watches on television, and this mystery of the Lowlands. It's too obvious. I would have found it more believable if the government had created some fake videos from the Lowlands that made it look like it was just a place for Strikers or something like that. Also, the fact that the rebels had no knowledge (from what I understand) of the Lowlands is even harder to believe.

      Did the book mention those who asked questions and were silenced? If so I do not remember that.

      Thanks for responding, and on the whole I did enjoy the trilogy.