YA Book Reviews

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

I suwannee, this was SUCH a fun read! A Southern Belle well on her way to Homecoming Queen suddenly gets infused with medieval fighting abilities, and proceeds to kick total ass? Definitely my kind of book. With the kind of peppy, can-do (or will-do-no-matter-what-anyone-says) attitude that would put Elle Woods to shame, Harper Price manages to juggle schoolwork, a social life, a boyfriend, and becoming a Paladin, and still look fierce and confident when she shows up to Cotillion. Maybe it was the Southern charm, but Harper truly made this book more entertaining, funny, and endearing than I ever thought it would be.

I loved this modern-meets-medieval take on Charlemagne and the Paladins. We’ve seen mages and the Oracle before, but nothing quite like this, and very rarely with the kind of attitude that says hey, chicks can kick butt too! Not that the boys are totally useless in this book, but it is almost 100% female dominated. Did anyone else get a Mulan vibe halfway through the book, when Harper was like, “okay, I’ll do this training and Paladin-whatever-type-crud, but we’re doing it MY way.”

tumblr_meupquIDyP1s01xwto1_500 I sure did.

There is a reason it didn’t climb any higher than four stars for me, though…what kind of sucked was that there really just wasn’t enough going on. The biggest source of drama from this book was the fact that she spent…well, all of it, totally hiding from her friends and her boyfriend. And I’m not saying it wasn’t important, but at the end of the book, I really expected the whole thing to go out with a giant, feminist bang! Instead, we went right back to step one, just with a second boy in the loop, and left me with a distasteful feeling of disappointment. On top of that, there were a lot of little things that popped up with a clear foreshadowing vibe to them, but none of them went anywhere. Honestly, 3 little old ladies who look the same and dress the same, and have the punch that shows up in your visions…just a coincidence? Mom is giving you the suspicious look, forbids you from staying out too late…then never explains herself? There are holes that provide a link to a sequel for sure, but then there are holes that are just haphazardly scattered across the book that have no clear point whatsoever. I am desperately hoping that these empty bits with so much potential actually get used in further books. Until then, I’m gonna be a little salty about their lack of presence beyond a random introduction.

Overall, I highly enjoyed it. I recognize that I had a lot more negative things than positive to say after I finished the story, but the biggest reason I only mentioned Harper up top is because she carries this book like she carries everything else in her life: with absolute dexterity and unquestionable skill. However, as Ryan admits in the story, there are some things that Harper just can’t fix.


2 thoughts on “Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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