Review: Rebel Born by Amy A. Bartol

Rebel Born

Publisher: 47 North
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Released: June 4th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Mind control, drowning, torture
Rating: 3 kitties

I received a copy of Rebel Born through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rebel Born is the third and final novel in the Secondborn trilogy by Amy A. Bartol. The core of this world is that when overpopulation becomes a problem, the government started controlling who could have children. Then it became that all first born children would inherit everything from their parents, while second born children were forced to be treated as second class citizens (if they were lucky).

Roselle has always been used as a figurehead for the messages of her mother, but that all changed, and rather drastically so. Now Roselle has come into her own, and she’s standing up for what she believes in.

I’ll confess that this was my least favorite of the three novels, but I promise I have reasons for that! And it’s not unheard of, either. There are so many trilogies (or really, any series) out there that tapered off as time went on.

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: Rebel Born covers some heavy subjects. But if you’ve read the first two novels, that won’t be much of a surprise. In this novel there’s torture, mind control, and some graphic forms of death, including (but not limited to) drowning. So be mindful when picking this one up.

It’s hard to believe that with Rebel Born comes the conclusion of the Secondborn series…but here it is. This series has been a whirlwind of an adventure, from start to finish. Roselle’s journey was intense, to put it mildly. It’s certainly not a path I would have enjoyed walking.

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m giving this book such a low rating (yes, I know three stars isn’t technically bad, but you get what I’m saying). I absolutely adored the first novel, and while I didn’t love the second one as much, I still enjoyed it.

However, Rebel Born felt like an entirely different story to me. The characters all had the same names, sure. But everything else changed so dramatically. Too dramatically, for my liking. I’ll give credit for the fact that the stakes kept getting raised here, but that was part of the problem. The stakes became too high, and eventually it just got so…big. It turned into this entirely new and different beast altogether.

And while I did find this new path and plot interesting, it just wasn’t the same. Maybe I would have loved it, had my expectations been set differently. I honestly don’t know. And trust me, I wanted to like it. When I finished this book, actually, I hopped over to Goodreads to see how everyone else felt about it. And I was in the minority here (sorry). So now I’m just left wondering if I missed something. I don’t know. I do feel a bit lost, in truth.

I was fascinated by the new characters introduced, even while lamenting the changes to characters I loved. It was an interesting experience, to be dealing with those conflicting emotions all at once.

One thing I’ve always loved about this series is the ability to balance a main (and rather immense) plot with a romantic subplot. And that it allowed for the romantic subplot to be changed by what was happening in the main plot. That held true for Rebel Born as well, I’m pleased to note. Though no, I’m not going to say which ship, if any, won that war.

Rebel Born was an incredibly fast-paced read, one I got through very quickly. And while I admittedly didn’t love it at much as I wanted to, I did enjoy it. I wonder what Amy A. Bartol will work on next?

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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