REBEL BELLE is young adult sic-fi (?) novel written by the lovely and very talented Rachel Hawkins.
This is the first book I have ever read from the pen of this author. I have stumbled on it thanks to Instagram. Many of my friends and fellow bibliophiles recommended this book to me. So of course, I had to find out for myself, what is the fuss about.
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She's imbued with the powers of a Paladin, a guardian with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy. Harper finds out who she's charged to protect. David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favourite person. Things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him - and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
Let's start with the edition first. I own the Hardback Edition published last year by G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS. 345 pages long. 41 hilariously written chapters. The sleeve of the book has a picture of a pearl necklace and a knife. Possibly, this is a representation of Harper's life - a belle and a paladin. When you take off the sleeve, you find a dark brown book with golden lettering on the spine. Simple, yet beautiful design.
The writing.. It's very, very easy to read. It's modern. Packed with humour and very entertaining. It is like watching a good old 90's TV series. It's a mix between Buffy, The Vampire Slayer; Gossip Girl & True Blood. Apart from the fact that there aren't any vampires & werewolves (yet?). Harper isn't a slayer, she a more fancier name - a Paladin. And she protects an Oracle - an ancient creature who can see the future. It's usual a girl, a virgin - but this again here is the twist. This Oracle is the geeky boy Harper disliked all her life. The witches call themselves Mages and they have only limited powers. Throw in some hilarious conversations and situations and you got yourself a good recipe for a YA novel.
The story itself is a little bit bland and predictable. But it's very enjoyable to read. It is a different take on a part of greek mythology and french history. I do like reading various twists on important moments in history. And even though the story is predictable, it's very funny, exciting at times. It's like a comfortable blanket which wraps around you. Especially if you are a YA genre fan. It's a typical YA story. Not too short - just long enough. Great interaction between the two main characters, freshen up with great use of sarcasm, humour and modern times. I love that the story takes part in Alabama - the deep south of USA. The stereotypical town with it's tradition like Homecoming Dance, Cotillion, small town gossips... A nice and easy read for the warm summer nights.
But you don't care too much about the characters. You don't go through an emotional roller coaster. You aren't as excited. It's more like a meal without any flavourings which would spice it up a little bit. And that is a great shame...
The characters are all very relatable and charming. I love the interactions. There is a lot of chemistry between Harper and David. And yes, from the first moment you know that even if those two do not like each other at the start, there are signs that these two actually supposed to be together. The bickering and kicking each other since kindergarten is a huge giveaway. But I do like that the author took time with their slowly developing relationship. There are some good twists too. One I can point out I like the most - Ryan becoming a Mage (SPOILER ALERT!! Sorry!!). The girl, the guy she really likes and makes her skin tingle, and the ex-boyfriend who are bound to be spend their lives together forever. Talk about awkward !!
All in all, this book was a typical YA novel. I would maybe categorise it for the early years of YA novel. It's not a complicated read. It isn't a thrilling novel you cannot put down. But it has some good points. It ticks all the boxes a good YA book should have. It wasn't my favourite, but I didn't hate it. For me, the best part of this tale are the dialogues between characters. The humour saved the story.
Rebel Belle is actually the first book in the series. I am now reading the second part - MISS MAYHEM. These two should be followed by the last instalment - LADY RENEGADES due to be released April 12th 2016.
So thank you Ms Hawkins, you have made me laugh out loud on many occasions whilst reading your book. I hope you keep up with the funny parts, just maybe develop the story a little more and better.