I'm slowly getting back on track with my reviews!
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Title: Rebel Belle
Release date: 3rd of March 2015
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary
Published by: Speak
Pages: 368 in paperback format
Source: Bought from a local bookstore
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians 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 favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.
Finally, a special snowflake hero, even though, the heroine by sheer proximity gets the title as well, more or less. Okay, he’s not really a special snowflake in the traditional sense, but for a change, instead of the girl being the saviour, the messiah, the big kahuna, the really really awesomely powerful grandmaster of all things grand, blah blah blah, it’s actually the guy this time. Yay for change! What’s more, the girl takes on the role as protector and butt kicker – empowering women and subverting gender roles is always welcome!
I despise to seven hells all love triangles, but while this nasty piece of bane of my existence trope was part of this story, it didn’t feel as irritating, because I kind of sensed that it wouldn’t last and it wasn’t as significant in the grand scheme of things. I also found Ryan to be too annoyingly perfect. He understood, was patient, acted a gentleman, forgave – blah. I do feel very guilty and quite ashamed to whine about his niceness and for preferring the douche (but who means well inside) over the more decent guy, but this is fiction and Ryan was just dull. I need spark, passion or at least some bantery dialogue to be able to root for a couple. Sugary sweet pairs, “I love you pumpkin” – “I love you too honey,” bore me to death. I do have to admit, though, that the final state of the trio was beyond intriguing and hilariously ironic. BAM! Ryan wasn’t so bothersome anymore, but only thanks to his newfound position.
I live for hate to love romances, because it usually guarantees a delicious slow burn and can make the budding relationship much more satisfying, sweeter and hotter than its lifeless and too convenient insta counterpart. I do, however, have to point out that when the source of dislike between the main characters is not realistically or at least believably explained, and they hate each other just because or due to something insignificant, then there I draw the line for enjoyable hate to love romance. Harper and David were on the borderline, I did understand the origin, but it wasn’t as convincing as I would have preferred. Nevertheless, I loved reading about their "battles" with each other. And I especially loved how Harper couldn’t hurt him, due to her being his protector. Her trying to slap him and being unable to was hilarious. All other instances, where she unexpectedly, due to instinct, dashed to defend him were quite amusing as well. Talk about irony.
Overachievers don’t really draw me in or evict sympathy and rooting for them. Harper was just that, she was like Figaro, here, there, everywhere. She had her finger in every pie, managed everything, was part of everything, made it everywhere and, in addition, was popular, got good grades, had a wonderful boyfriend, a great best friend, etc – she had a good life going for her. Till she forgets her lip gloss… So here’s a lesson to all girls, don’t forget your lip gloss, otherwise, you may unexpectedly become a kickbutt karate queen in stilettos, in addition to being the how-does-she-do-it envy evicting girl. On second hand, sounds exciting to me! Anyway, I wasn’t inclined to like her, but I did end up doing just that. And the scene that changed my mind was, when she was confronted with her new sacred duties and asked to accept them, her blunt reply: “No, thank you!” I loved her attitude, she wasn’t a doormat nor did she shy away from responsibility.
Regarding the plot, I was very excited for how things would unfold and all the potential mystery and mythical background elements for the Oracle and his Paladin story. The premise was a total hit with me. There was a lot of talk and build-up, but I was left hanging, because the fantasy topic was handled too lightly or superficially. I wanted more and, I guess, there will be more in the following books, but there was too much teasing and too little satisfaction in the first one. Also, nothing really happened plot-wise. I mean, something obviously happened, but it came across stretched thin. I’m still anxious for what will be going on and love the fascinating fantasy set-up, but the first book was somewhat stingy in that regard. It did, however, give me some interesting insight into the Southern way, like cotillion, etc, which is a really foreign area to me and which I appreciated.