Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Outcasts: A Book Review
Back Cover: Since entering the Safe Lands, Mason has focused on two things: finding a way to free his village from captivity and finding a cure for the disease that ravages many within the walls of the Safe Lands. After immune-suppressive drugs go missing in the clinic, Mason discovers his coworker, Ciddah, may know more about the Safe Lands than imagined...and may have an agenda of her own. At the same time, Mason's brother Levi is focused on a way to free the remaining Glenrock captives, while Mason's younger brother, Omar, decides to take the rebellion against the Safe Lands into his own hands as a vigilante.
Soon all three brothers are being watched closely--and when Mason stumbles onto a shocking secret about the Safe Lands meds, his investigation just might get those closest to him liberated.
This is the sequel to Captives which I reviewed a few months ago. I don't even know how to describe how much I love this book. Jill Williamson amazes me with each new book I read by her. It seems there is nothing short in her imagination.
Let's start with the characters... Mason was his usual adorable self, but this book escalated his cute intelligent side even higher. I never understand why the smart guys are always treated as if they aren't as good as the brawny ones. In fact, of the three brothers that are the main characters of this series, Mason is still my favorite. Levi was still being tough and commanding, but now he had even great responsibility, and it was interesting to see that play out in his character, and how he realized he had some things in his own life that needed work. Omar took this book as his way to start redeeming himself. He represented the prodigal son well, wanting to return to old life, but still stuck in the halfway point, giving in to addictions and sin. This book made me like him a little better and hope that he would find his way home, because inside, he really is just a small boy wanting to be accepted. And of course, I can't leave out Shaylinn, the final main POV character. I love Shaylinn. She's the most interesting girl character, and this book fleshed her out even more. I love how she is encouraging to everyone, and always wants to see the good in Omar, believing in him, even when he inadvertantly caused all the trials she currently is facing. All the other characters were great as well, and I enjoyed each one.
And the plot... well... it continued from the first book, and built, and got better, and it was really good. I can't say a lot about it without going into too much detail. But at the end of the book I had been happy, sad, angry, and all kinds of emotions. She proceeded to end it with a terrific (ha...) cliff hanger, and left me feeling sorry for myself that Rebels, the next book, isn't out yet.
I always take something away from Jill's books. They aren't just stories told to entertain, but they always hold deeper meaning that you can weigh, and consider. I love a book that gets me thinking and has some "meat" to it, so to speak. I'm so glad I've discovered this author who I can trust to always make me think while also providing an invigorating, fun, perplexing, wonderful read.
Anyway, this was a great book! I recommend it to anyone fifteen and older. Here's just a word of caution. Jill wrote these book for an obviously older audience of YA readers. I would not give this book to a twelve year old. It deals with several mature things including teen pregnancy, drugs, and promiscuous relationships. It's all important to the theme of the story, however, and the setting, which is basically a big "Vanity Fair" from Pilgrim's Progress. (Mrs. Williamson doesn't go into too much detail, however, and uses class.) As they often say, "Find pleasure in life," and many characters do, but they learn that pleasure that comes from sin isn't really pleasure at all.