that is simply all you need to know about this book. but i like the sound of my own imagined voice much more than my real voice which, frankly, after more than fifteen years, has gotten rather tiresome. nowadays, i speak in the voice of… someone Irish. with a very pronounced Irish accent.
makes the review so much more interesting, don’t it?
if you ever felt alienated a bit by Hex Hall whilst still fawning over it, were ever slighted by Demonglass and all that endued; if you’re sick, just goddamn sick! do put Rebel Belle on your watch list.[unless, like you're really sick and you're avoiding hospitals because of them needles, don't do that. take care of yourselves, 'kay?]
all those pesky details that annoy me about YA characters and trends; all those stupid cliches that curtail my enjoyment, Rebel Belle alleviates, or avoids, depending on the situation.
on the surface, glancing at the overall plot, it’s formulaic and cozy. girl lives purr-fect life: boyfriend purr-fect and sweet and caring and sporty, popular and with reputasio, gaggle of friends, purr-fect image and body. purrrrrrrrrrrrrr-fect, sometimes sans furry playmates and companions.
girl obtains power, girl becomes guardian, crosses paths with mortal enemy and lo! there is lurve.
but there be problems.
boyfriend: goes ex, after a whole round of possessiveness, asshole-ry, cheating. in the end, he’s bad.
gaggle of friends: we shun thee! save the world and you’re off the it list. best friend turns out to be a real bitch.
popularity and reputasio: goes down the drain because only Hercules is allowed to go save the world, without repercussions from inferior mortals.
however nada, no, nyan, nyeh!
here’s how it goes:
boyfriend: there be troubles indeed, but he’s all very chivalrous about it. actually, he’s *mostly* a nice guy all round. nice boyfriend; they both just grow apart. (view spoiler)
gaggle of friends: there isn’t really a gaggle. there are friends, and they don’t much notice anything weird. her best friend is love. to expound, she’s a teenage girl and they have their shits and giggles, but she’s there for harper, and believes her. she’s even present for harper’s kick-boxing(et cetra) classes, sorta like a voyeur watching her get beaten up but still! friends are voyeurs!(but not all voyeurs are friends, gettit kids?) yet bad things are in store for her.
there are no mean girls; there’s an awkward, young woman who has some clashes with harper, which IMO was uncalled for seeing how many times harper’s helped her but harper was being kinda hard. but there aren’t any of the prevalent cat-fights because it’s all mostly civil and words can’t touch this!
popularity and reputasio: there are hitches and ditches to jump over. times are when she falls, but folks are nice, despite the fact they’re southern*, which i loved.
anywho, the story behind her powers be greek and all, oracles and witches. vair, vair interesting but not so more than the character dynamics. there are people and spells hunting david: he revels and dreams futures in solitude while she kills her history teacher with pick stilettos and gains mysterious powers.
(guess who i wanna be.)
turns out, david is the second male oracle in a history of all-powerful women oracles, who could either be made to gain enormous powers, which could mutate and cause him to destroy legions(as happened with the first) or left to grapple and straddle his half-assed powers that come with being a guy. harper can kick-ass, and must now protect him. she can kick HUGE, multiple asses.
it’s all fun and games until someone’s abducted, most of the town is mind-compelled, a psychotic teenage witch with a knife catches up with them. but fact is, it’s fun yet so! there are a few angst-y scenes when harper isn’t sure she wants to devote her entire life to david; neither does david expect/want her to. in fact, he’s vehemently against the notion.
the romance is hate-to-love and what can i say? i’m guilty of loving it much more than any other trope. especially when people are from opposite sides of the battleground. the battleground here is childhood and high school, not the real one. they’ve both hated the other since they were kids, and he’s given to writing snide articles in the paper about her. however, he’s got a reason; a very fucking valid reason i couldn’t, wouldn’t argue with. (view spoiler)
in this aspect, harper irked me in the beginning. she doesn’t rebuke him in the first few chapters because
(a)she needs to suck up to his aunt- his only family- who’s playing a major part in her life.
(b)she’s a southern belle, and you don’t do that.
but she pulls up her big girl panties! she puts him in his place, and even goes so far to falcon-punching her then-boyfriend when he’s being a dick(another time, another place). there’s the fact that she can’t tolerate the f-word, but she comes around. you go, girl!
they had hilarious moments, kiss-y moments, almost moments and the bad ones, too. i hope ms hawkins doesn’t give up on the bad moments in book #2; they’re totally worth it!
ordinary girls gain ninja-bility. they’re so happy, and that made me so happy, reading while they jumped and kicked and shadow-boxed and fought.
the book has its share of irritants and issues. the foremost of which is, why in the name of the oracle of delphi(which i am not in the possession thereof) would an oracle be able to gain such destructive powers? oracles are supposed to be conduits for visions, for words from the gods, for the paths that fate might take! if an oracle grows powerful, *i* suppose that their clairvoyant powers would grow more astute and clearer. *i* don’t think they’d gain powers to grant falcon-punching powers directly. *i* suppose their words might spur people on to falcon-punch other, but the ability comes from within the subject.
but nature’s a fickle character. far be it from me to restrain her in my own limited gamut of biology. plus, i don’t much know about mutation beyond x-men and zombie/vampire novels. oracles could mutate into mages, who am i to judge?
the climax and last scenes were exciting and there ensued so. much. enjoyment. for me, everything was done just right and that ending was fabulous! the power of three, baby!
*it’s been implied in countless books that southern people have nothing better than to drawl and gossip and clutch pearls.(i don’t have much experience with pearls but i persuaded four people at this wedding i attended the previous weekend to part with these fake-pearl necklaces. but they were complementary and i wasn’t really interested in them. the real shine for me was in the fact that only that boys and men were getting it. girls and women were given fake-gold bracelets(and for some reason, i didn’t get that either). but then i gave one back to my brother, who was the first giver, and another to my little cousin for he was suffering my own ailment[see gift-bereft-ment], and the other two my sister took, and i have seen neither hide nor tail of them since. oh and there was this true pearl ring that i lost within a month of obtaining it.)(what did we learn to day? i am generous.)
thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy.