Rebels Divided: Lance Erlick
The world has changed greatly after the Second American Civil War. As with all nations things happen that divide it and in this case splits it down the middle. As women had to fight for the right to vote, better jobs and to have the right to speak out in this new world, the Federal Union controls what happens in the country and those in charge are all females along with the aide of the Egg Fusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors. The males now have to flee for their lives and are definitely treated in a subservient manner. Living in the male-dominated Appalachian Outland these young men learn how to deal with life, learn how to become individuals except for one man named Thane Edwards that has all of the power over the church and the economy. Rangers, as they are called in this place are similar to the Texas Rangers we see in many western programs. Two separate worlds, two separate governments fighting for control, power and the right to dominate. When the governor of Tenn-tucky and the Outland warlord decide to create a special deal the fate of many is at risk and their hope to become more powerful the goal.
When Geo encounters a Mech named Karen he has no choice but to kill her. Fighting Union mechs and protecting their neighbors, taking in refugees that seek refuge from the Federal and Ranger cruelty, Geo along with his pa live in a poor Outland glen hoping to hide from the local Rangers, stay alive and help others.
Meet Annabelle who is now a Mech Warrior, not of her own choice but forced into this program in order to protect her sister and her family or face being exiled. With a captain that hates her and does all she can to make her life unbearable, Geo’s Mom who was forced to leave her family is bringing up Annabelle, who lost her parents at a young age. Tough, brazen, filled with fire she is determined to try and conform to the rules of the Federal Union but can she? But, things change when Karen, her friend is killed. Facing this young man from the Outland and having the chance to kill him too, you wonder why she did not avenge her friend’s death and let him live. But, Annabelle is haunted by her friend’s death and when approached by her superior she is confronted with her feelings, her new assignment and given little opportunity or time to mourn her friend. Not allowed to see the Outland and hoping to complete her next assignment and capture the escapee, Annabelle is about to learn some hard lessons when her adopted sister is kidnapped. Things begin to change as Annabelle finds herself in dangerous territory after going to a party with her sister and Dara and then beginning her mission the next day. Explosions, the Union and Rangers after her, links disconnected and then the unthinkable happen once again. Sent to capture a man named Cory Phillips little does she know that he has enlisted the help of someone else? When Dara steps away, her sister is in danger, a young boy named Tommy is brought to safety, and what happens next will change everything. Mech warriors are required to complete their missions and not question their superiors. Families are separated and boys are not allowed in certain areas or they are taken into custody. The Patriots vs. the Union two separate parties almost like those we have in the present today. Each side wanting control and each wanting power. With the economy in trouble, food supplies on the decline we wonder if the author is trying to send a message to everyone that this just might happen.
Annabelle learns early on how to defend herself but when ordered to marry Thane Edwards, the Outland Warlord, now they have gone too far. Hoping to escape she and her sister and Dara venture out to find Cory Phillips and bring him in but the end result would result in her sister being kidnapped and Annabelle taken captive. When face to face with Thane Edwards she finds herself more than just repulsed, angry with her adopted mother for cowering to his demands and the Governor’s crooked agenda as things are about to change. Escaping captivity with some help she finds Geo and together they just might team up to save Janine and maybe change things for everyone. How far would you go to save your adopted sister? How far would you go to right so many wrongs? In a world that is not that different than ours today where restrictions are placed on travel, food allowances, jobs and even economic advancement on the decline the author brings to light what might happen in the future. Girls are not allowed to see or deal with boys. Boys are restricted to living in exile and Rangers fight Mechs and no one seems to be able to create peace. Union Mechs and Outland Rangers are out to stop Geo and Annabelle. Taxes, tithes, greed and power are some of the driving forces behind what most want. One man stands to gain it all and will stop at nothing including killing to rule. Justice seems outlawed and the rules that apply are the ones set by Edwards and his minions. When Geo’s father is murdered in cold blood and Janine is kidnapped will they team up to avenge his death and find her before it’s too late?
Betrayals, lies, deceits, hate, vengeance and murder are just some of the issues brought to light in this interesting novel where two sides are so divided but to win they must unite. When things come to a head Annabelle and Geo face some harsh realities as sometimes trust is misplaced and the end result could cost you more than you think.
With their President being held hostage and Edwards ordering many innocent people killed, will Annabelle and Geo be able to find Janine and stop what Edwards has planned? Conspiracies, treachery and traitors! Who can Annabelle trust? Who is really on the side of peace and who is really working behind the scenes for the other side? Will she really have to go through with the marriage to Edwards?
Sometimes the answer is right in front of you and you just don’t know it as one savvy tech teen just might hold all the cards to stop what others have put in motion. Explosives, grenades, fight scenes that are heart stopping and vividly depicted characters bring this outstanding YA novel to life for young adults. An ending that you won’t expect and a fight that still remains to be finished as a chance for peace has come but will tyranny resurface and will Annabelle and Geo be able to create a better world for Mechs, Civs and the people of Appalachia?
Lessons in trust, hope, loyalty and friendship are learned and even more a world filled with corruption, hate, rules that were made for those at the top, families torn apart and girls forced into slavery, being soldiers and two young people that aimed to create a better world. Annabelle is definitely a great role model for young adults as if Janine with their respect for their parents, work ethic, loyalty to family and their understanding that working as a team just might be the way to create Harmony!
Fran Lewis: reviewer