The remnant of Glenrock has been scattered. But they are not beaten.
The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.
Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?
Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.
If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.
About the Author
Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to love books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit Jill online at www.jillwilliamson.com
Read an Excerpt
The Safe Lands
By Jill Williamson
BLINKCopyright © 2014 Jill Williamson
All rights reserved.
Levi woke to the sounds of chaos. Footsteps thumping through the house. Giggling children. Screeching children. Women shushing.
Not that the children seemed to be listening. The noise came through the closed door of the bedroom Zane had given to him and Jemma for the night. He rolled over. No sign of his wife. She must be up already and keeping the children out of the room.
It all came back then: Mason and Omar had been captured. Mason had been shot in the leg. Omar had been beat up by General Otley.
At least Otley was dead now.
What would become of his brothers?
Outside the room, someone banged against his bedroom door, followed by a screeching giggle.
Levi wondered what time it was, but this room had no clock. This was no way to remain inconspicuous to neighbors. Not in a place where children live only at the boarding school.
When he'd finally laid down that morning—after having seen his brothers captured and after Nash had brought Shaylinn, the medic named Ciddah, and Kendall's baby boy to Zane's house—there had been over fifty bodies crammed into the small dwelling in the Midlands. They'd covered the floor, sleeping side by side and head to toe.
Now all of them seemed to be wide awake and filled with energy.
Levi slid out of bed and opened the door. Three little girls ran past, nearly knocking him over, filled with the shrieking giggles of pure joy. They all met at the end of the hallway, colliding like cornered chicks.
Then, "Give it back!" one yelled. "I found it!"
They ran back toward him.
He reached out and caught the first. It was Eliza's Kaylee, pinching a rhinestone butterfly between her fingers. The other two stopped behind her, and she stretched out her arm to keep her treasure away from her pursuers. "No running in the house, Kaylee," Levi said. "And you must keep your voices down."
One of the other girls pushed up against Kaylee, snatched the butterfly, and ran off.
Kaylee's eyes flashed wide and she tried to pull away from Levi. "It's mine!" she yelled. "Give it back!"
"Shh!" Levi turned Kaylee to face him. "We have to be quiet. Do you want the enforcers to come here and take you away?"
"No!" Kaylee jerked away from Levi's grasp, and he barely kept hold of her. "Don't send me back there, Uncle Levi, please!" Her bottom lip trembled.
Maggots. He was no good with children. Where was Jemma? He scanned the house and caught sight of her brown hair in the kitchen. He looked back to the little girl. "No one will take you away, Kaylee, but you must try and be quiet. Quieter, at least." He released her, and she ran after the other two girls—silently, for now.
Levi closed the bedroom door and walked into the kitchen where Jemma and Shaylinn were putting together sandwiches. Peanut butter and jam, by the looks of things.
"Hi, Levi," Shaylinn said.
Jemma spun around, a smile on her face. "Levi! Sleep well, my love?" She set down a knife and embraced him.
He held her close, breathing her in, suddenly overwhelmed by the stress of their situation. He wished the first few months of their marriage had gone differently, that they might have lived in the cabin he'd built in Glenrock. "What time is it?"
"You slept all day." She kissed his cheek and pulled away from him.
He released her reluctantly. "You should have wakened me." He couldn't believe he'd lost an entire day. There was much to be done.
"It was a stressful night for all of us. You needed rest." She picked the knife up and kept cutting.
Other things came to his mind then. The move from the cabin. The birth of Jordan's son. "How is Naomi?"
"Doing fine. The baby too. 'Harvey,' Jordan called him this morning."
After Jordan's father. "Nice. Where is Ruston?" He scanned the house. "Where are the other ladies?"
"Ruston tried waiting for you, but there were just so many people in here that he had to start taking them below. The other women, plus Jordan and the Jack's Peak men, went down with him to see the new homes. He also took two of the little Safe Lands boys to his wife."
"How long have they been gone?"
"They left after lunch. Ruston said that when they got back, the adults would know the way to the new homes and could guide the rest of us. Said it was better than all of us going down at once and frightening the people who live there."
"I think it's romantic. Just hearing about it makes me think of the Amish."
"People of Old who chose to live apart from society and didn't use modern conveniences like electricity or motor vehicles."
"They felt it weakened the family structure and got between them and God. And they preferred to live lives of hard work the way people did for thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution. I heard Ruston explaining the Kindred to Eliza and, I don't know, I just thought of all my Amish books." She set down the knife and sighed. "I miss my books. I miss reading."
He rubbed her shoulders. He wanted to promise that they'd get out soon and that she could read all the books she wanted, but he was tired of showering his wife with empty promises. They were going into hiding. That almost seemed further away from freedom.
Another shriek turned his head to the living room. "These kids are being too loud."
"We've been doing the best we can. Lunch kept them quiet, so hopefully dinner will too." She handed Levi two plates, then took two herself.
Levi helped Jemma pass out plates with sandwiches. The kids sat cross-legged on the floor, which left room for Levi, Jemma, and Shaylinn to eat at the table.
"Did Zane go with Ruston?" Levi asked.
"I believe he's down in the nest, monitoring enforcer radios or something," Jemma said. "I'll have Shaylinn take him a plate when we're done."
Levi turned in his chair at the sound of Zane's voice. His friend wasn't alone. Ruston, Nash, Jordan—everyone had returned.
"Is there enough for us too?" Jordan asked.
"Yes, of course," Jemma said. "You can help yourself in the kitchen or wait until I finish."
Jordan wandered into the kitchen. "Where is Naomi?"
"Lying down with the baby in the other bedroom," Jemma said. "Ciddah was in there with her for a while."
"Elyot and Kimi finally fell asleep," Jemma said. "So hopefully Naomi is sleeping too."
Jordan pulled out the chair on Levi's left and sat down. "Harvey didn't sleep very well."
"New babies rarely do," Aunt Chipeta said.
"Tell me about the new living arrangements," Levi asked, just as Jordan took a huge bite of sandwich.
Jordan chewed a few times, then spoke over a full mouth. "It's weird. A bunch of tunnels hook everything together. And there's a park with real grass."
A park? "How do you have grass underground?"
"We have special lights that enable plants to grow," Ruston said. "There are ten empty homes below. The list you and Beshup created only utilizes eight of them. Are you sure you don't want to spread the people out a little more? The houses are quite small."
"There aren't enough adults," Levi said. "As it is we had to divide up three families of Jack's Peak's children."
"We will try it this way," Beshup said. "Once we are down there for a few days, we will discover what works and what does not."
Levi didn't like how vulnerable he felt with everyone inside this little house. Once the women and children were settled in the basements, he could focus on other things, like finding Mason and Omar and helping Beshup free the Jack's Peak women from the harem, the Safe Lands' compulsory in vitro program.
"When can we go?" he asked.
"Right away," Ruston said.
"Once everyone has eaten," Jemma added.
And so Levi ate, finishing long before most of the children, who were too busy giggling to finish in a timely manner. Finally they divided into groups and, one group at a time, descended into the basement. Levi's group waited until last so that Ruston could take his time showing Levi the way.
Levi's new household consisted of Jemma and Shaylinn, plus Nell, Trevon, Jake, Joey, and Carrie, who were Levi's nieces and nephews, and Grayn and Weiss, two Safe Lands refugees who were friends with Trevon and Joey. When they finally went down the stairs and into the basement, Zane was waiting.
"I'm going to come too," Zane told his father. "I'd like to see Tym and the girls."
"Are you sure?" Ruston asked.
"I'll be fine. You worry too much."
Ruston gave his son a silent nod.
The basement was a small, cement room with a ratty old couch, a combination washer/dryer, and a long bookshelf that hid the entrance tunnel to the nest, where Zane worked.
But rather than moving the shelves that led to the nest, Ruston rolled the washer/dryer combo out from the wall, which revealed an airlock door similar to the one that led to the bunker. He opened it, revealing a different passage. It appeared to be a storm drain at first, but it wasn't round and the floor wasn't wet. Ruston led the way with a flashlight. Shaylinn went next with Joey and Weiss, holding a boy's hand in each of hers. Then Nell and Jake, followed by Trevon and Grayn. Then Jemma, holding little Carrie. Levi followed his wife, and at the end of the line, Zane pulled the washer/dryer back into place, then closed the gateway door behind them.
"Where light go?" Carrie said.
"Ruston has the light," Jemma said.
"It won't be dark for long," Ruston called back. "Maybe twenty yards."
"What is this place?" Levi asked, inching along at the back of the line.
"One of seven gateway tunnels the Kindred built over the years," Zane said from behind him. "Entrances to tunnels that weave above the storm drains and remain separate from them, which keeps our homes safe from curious enforcers and from flooding."
"The door to the bunker?" Levi asked. "Is that a gateway?"
"Used to be," Zane said. "It's been closed off from the basements for years. There used to be ten gateways, but we no longer use the three under the downtown Midlands area."
"So I'll come back out through this door when I need to go above?" Levi asked.
At the front of the line, Ruston stopped and shined the light back to Levi. "No one leaves without my permission. Even you."
That stopped Levi in this tracks. "You can't be serious."
"This isn't like the bunker," Ruston said. "The basements are my people's home. They allow us to live a somewhat normal life. You should know that there are some Kindred who don't want you to live with us. They fear I'm bringing corruption to our doorsteps. I explained that you are not Safe Landers but Outsiders. And, like us, you are descendants of Seth McShane."
"But we're trying to get out of here," Levi said. "We've been prisoners above. Now we're going to be prisoners below? That seems worse."
"You're not prisoners," Ruston said. "You simply cannot go to and from the basements into the Safe Lands whenever you choose. You must take care and let me know when you want to use the gateway. This is for all of our safety. Plus, this particular gateway empties into my house, and my wife wouldn't like people passing through our home at all hours of the day or night."
Ruston turned back toward the path and the line began to move again.
"She doesn't like much," Zane said. "My mother."
Wonderful. Levi didn't like it but had no right to argue. He was tired of being totally dependent on others, though, and he wanted more than anything to get out of this place and back to Glenrock.
They reached the end of the tunnel at what looked like a regular wooden door. Up ahead, Ruston opened it, and dim light seeped into the corridor. The line started to move again as they passed through the door.
"You have electricity?" Levi asked Zane. "How?"
"We have our own powerhouse," Zane said. "It's underground, built right underneath the Highland-Midland wall on the wall side of Lake Joie. It is actually connected to the biofiltration system for Lake Joie, though the Safe Lands Guild doesn't know it."
"So, it's a dam?"
"A little simpler than that, actually. It's a series of waterwheels. Some are connected to the fountains and waterfalls in Lake Joie Park, some are hidden throughout the storm drains, and we've engineered the drains to send the water through them. It works quite well."
Levi followed Jemma through the door and into a living room with carpet and furniture. No windows. Zane followed and closed the door.
"But what about in the winter?" Levi asked. "When the water freezes?"
"LPG-powered generators," Zane said. "Dayle gets us most of the gas through the Highland DPT office, or I work out the credits for emergency purchases. But we try to keep power use to a minimum." Zane slipped past him then and approached a boy who looked to be in his early teens. "Hay-o, Tym."
"Hay-o." The boy embraced Zane.
"As I told the others," Ruston said, "enjoy your new homes, but take short showers or they'll get cold fast. All our light bulbs are compact fluorescents. Turn off lights you aren't using. The houses don't have central heat. There are space heaters for when it gets cold and lots of blankets. And we use ceiling fans or portable fans for when it's hot. We wash laundry in cold water and don't use dryers. Hang out clothing to dry it and—"
"To your room, Tym. Now!" a woman yelled.
The volume of her voice put a hush over the crowd of people. Levi looked over the heads of the others. A woman stood in the doorway that led out of the room, clutching two girls, one to each leg. The girls looked to be five and ten. The woman was glaring at Zane and the young teen.
"Obey your mother, Tym," Ruston said.
"Yes, sir." And the young boy smiled at Zane then passed through an open door on the left wall, closing it softly behind him.
"You must be Ruston's wife," Jemma said, hefting Carrie up her hip.
Ruston squeezed through the crowd until he stood beside the woman and girls. "Yes, this is my wife, Tova, and my daughters, Resi and Luz. That was my son, Tym, who's now in his room. And the new boys from the boarding school should be around here somewhere."
"They went to the park with Nash," Tova said. But that's all she said. No polite greeting or kind words. She simply stared at all of them like she wanted them to leave her house as soon as possible. She did eye baby Carrie though.
Her youngest girl reached out and took hold of Carrie's chubby fingers. "Hi, baby."
"Kids," Carrie said, waving her other hand. "Hi, kids."
"This is Carrie," Jemma said. "Her mommy is away right now, so I'm taking care of her. These are some of her brothers and sisters and their friends."
"None of them are yours?" Tova asked, frowning.
"No, Levi and I have only been married a few months. No kids yet." Jemma blushed, and Levi thought she was the most beautiful creature in the world.
"Let's get you to your new home, then," Ruston said. "Dathan? Are you coming?"
Dathan—Zane's given name. Those who went into the Safe Lands all had aliases to protect themselves.
Zane was still standing beside his mother, who was glaring at him as if she had just discovered that he had betrayed his people in the same way Omar had betrayed theirs. "Yep, I'm coming. Bye, Mom. Bye, Resi. Bye, Luz." And he walked past them to where his father stood by another door.
"Bye, Dathan," the younger girl said.
Tova took the girls by the arms and led them into the kitchen without a word to Zane.
Ruston led Levi and his household out the door and into a narrow corridor that was similar to the one that led from the basement of Zane's Safe Lands house to Ruston's underground home, though this one had light bulbs hanging from the ceiling every five yards.
They walked to the end of the corridor where it met a crossroads. Straight ahead was a little alcove and another door, but to the left and right, the corridor stretched out until it curved out of sight.
They followed the left corridor for maybe two hundred yards, passing by two alcoves with doors before Ruston stopped and turned into another alcove. There was a number on the door: 16–1.
"That one on the right we just passed leads to the library," Ruston said.
"Can we use the library?" Jemma asked, her voice so hopeful that Levi chuckled.
Excerpted from Rebels by Jill Williamson. Copyright © 2014 Jill Williamson. Excerpted by permission of BLINK.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is constitution from the two other books called "Captives" and "Outcasts". I would love to read the two books before. This book deals with lowlands and Midlands areas along with Kinderds. This deals with mostly the rebels in hiding and though of send to liberation. You goes though the adventures and to find the truth about Liberation and what the government was doing. Can the rebels get the truth out about Liberation and what it means. What happening to Safe land folks? Levi find out that Jenna is having his baby? Omar and Mason work together to get the rebels to help with getting the truth out. Is the Owl know all and sees all. Omar has thing to deal with and will he come over it. What about Mason will he tell where his brothers are staying or will they do need to do a trade to get his brother? There are so many twist and turns that is will having wanting more and to want to turn the page to find out.
I was very upset when I was too busy to read this awesome book straight through. Rarely can I start and stop a book over a long period and still remain interested and excited to finish. Rebels kept my hard-to-earn attention over a period of a few months. This end to a series had the perfect balance of story. It gave me the satisfaction of the end of a series while still giving hints that the story of the characters continue. Not many series' that I've read have done that successfully, in my opinion. Williamson's plot was complex and unexpected at times, yet she did a great job at answering the appropriate questions about the characters and storyworld. And if you read the first two books, you began this book with extensive questions. By the end, all the questions were answered or no longer important to the understanding of the story. Again, I'll say how much I loved the characters and their interactions. Williamson does a phenomenal job presenting actions and consequences. Many of the characters made mistakes, but they all had to deal with the consequences of those mistakes, a concept not present in many modern stories. I am amazed by the complete worldviews that Williamson developed. The story wasn't just about the members of a village fighting for their freedom against the members of a city. She constructed an worldview in opposition to the village complete with a theology, biology, ethics, government, philosophy, and sociology. Without spoiling the end, Williamson handled the conflicting worldviews incredibly well. My love for the characters, the story, and the battle of good versus carried completely through this series as Rebels closed out the trilogy wonderfully.
This is a conclusion to the Safe Lands trilogy. I found it fun and easy to read. It ends well-- though not perfectly. Some questions are left unanswered and, personally, I wouldn't mind another book about them... In the third book, you learn what liberation really is, more about the Thin Plague (or more importantly the medicine used on the people with the Thin Plague). Most people get a mostly happy ending-- but like I said, I still want another one... Haha! I would definitely recommend this trilogy to anyone who likes dystopian. (I got this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All statements and thoughts are my own.)
Summary: Mason and Levi now face liberation—one of the Safe Lands best-kept secrets. But even knowing the truth about liberation isn’t enough to save their family and friends. When Omar’s illness grows worse, Shaylinn’s unborn babies are in danger, and Jemma is selected as the new Safe Lands queen, all hope seems lost. But the rebels are making plans, and if they succeed, long-sought freedom and truth will finally come to those under the oppression of the government. But if they fail, death is immanent. My Thoughts: This trilogy started out strong in Captives, but it gets better with each book in the series.Rebels is a fast-paced,gripping journey with numerous twists that leave readers wondering if the secrets of the Safe Lands will ever be exposed. Through unexpected turns and moments that make you stop reading and stare at the page while you try to process the intensity of the story, Rebels is a thrilling end to Jill Williamson’s series. There are themes of redemption, forgiveness, and unconditional love woven throughout the book, but the characters never arrive at these themes the easy way…nor do they have all of the answers about life, God, or their seemingly impossible circumstances.This makes Mason, Levi, Omar, and the rest of the characters seem like real people, even though they’re living in a fictional world. A lot of time lapses in this third book, and many characters weave in and out of the story. But the results are absolutely incredible. In Conclusion: So after journeying through all three books in the series, would I recommend it? Absolutely. This is a series teens (guys and girls) will enjoy, yet it’s offers a complex storyline people beyond the teen years will enjoy, too. Jill Williamson doesn’t sugarcoat any details, meaning the story presents some of the grittiness of life in a straightforward way, yet she always shows the situations in light of a Biblical standpoint. This means, consequences happen, but so does forgiveness. And the ending? I can’t give away any details. But I will say I’m going to miss hanging out in such a well-crafted story world. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Rebels was brilliant, vibrant, profound, another good book from Jill Williamson. THE GOOD 1. The CHARACTERS. Oh my. They were wonderful. Poignant in nearly every respect. Real. Character you could identify with, and ones I could definitely see as friends. 2. The story I could totally see this happening in America's future. A sign of good storytelling is believability. And Rebels definitely had believability. 3. The cover That cover is positively gorgeous. :) 4. The ending (spoilers) THE BAD 1. Suggestive content This book is not for those under at LEAST 14. I read it, but I'm a, uh... Rebel. :) 2. It deals with content intended for older people Yeah, as I said, 14+. All in all, and enjoyable, suspenseful read, and a good end to the Safe Lands Trilogy! :) Bravo, Jill Williamson! Five stars! I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This is my whole and unbiased opinion.
Jill Williamson is a creative author with a great imagination and a willingness to push her characters. She doesn't disappoint with Rebels, the last book in the Safe Lands series. There's a little bit of catching up with the cliffhanger from the second book, but the plot takes off quickly and leads the remnant of Glenrock village through twists and turns that I couldn't see coming. There were nice surprises, and the book was, like the others in the series, an engaging read. There are a few too many minor characters named that make a few scenes a little confusing, but that is a minor issue. Overall the main characters of Levi, Mason, Omar, Jemma, and Shaylinn all have challenges to overcome as the story progresses to the dramatic ending. Jill's also not afraid to address some issues that were set up in prior books: despair, drug abuse, and control by authorities. The Safe Lands series is a great YA dystopian trilogy, and Rebels is a fitting conclusion to it. Don't miss it.
I can't believe this series is over! Can I take a moment and admit that I have might have teared up when finishing up the last chapter? "Rebels" was a GREAT conclusion, but I'm so sad to see these characters go! They have all been through a lot, but they still held onto their faith or found faith through it all! In "Rebels" Jill tied up all the loose ends from book two and finally revealed what liberation was! Gasp! I had an idea of what it might be and was sort of right, but didn't quite realize the full extent of it all! Plus there were even a few twists thrown in there that kept me on the edge of my seat! Aswith the second novel in the series, "Outcasts," there was another gentle spiritual message weaved throughout this one. I really love the redemption theme as well as loving others who hate/don't love us. Jill did a wonderful job of fully showing just what that means too! Despite the sadness I felt at the end because these characters stories are done being told, I loved the adventure this novel took me on! It was awesome to see the journey of these three brothers and their growth spiritually, emotionally, and in relationships/friendships. So glad I was able to read this entire series and recommend it to older teens. It's sure to give the reader an adventurous time! *(I received this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review!)*
Rebels is the conclusion to the Safelands trilogy by Jill Williamson. The first two books, Captives and Outcasts, were good and I was eager to read Rebels. It did not disappoint. If you haven’t read the first two books, be warned that this will likely contain spoilers for them. Picking up where Outcasts leaves off, we find that the Glenrock remnant is headed underground. Mason and Omar are headed for liberation which most think means death. Levi now fully bears the mantle of leadership for his people and it is a heavy burden. The Owl figure who Omar created to show truth to the Safe-Landers will have to be resurrected with help from the Kindred. The Kindred are the underground group of which rebel leader, Ruston, is a member. The Kindred welcome the Glenrock, but not fully. Shaylinn especially will have to figure out these relationships. Rebels was full of plot twists and turns. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was definitely a fast-paced read. I didn’t want to put it down and when I had to, I kept finding myself wondering what was going to happen. Something I have mentioned before, Williamson continually changes the perspective of the story. I liked this as it provided a complete story that showed what each character was facing. This was handled very well and I never once had to figure out who the focus was on at any point. I highly recommend this trilogy. It draws from the story of Daniel in the Bible and his experiences in Babylonian captivity. There are lots of other themes throughout the series, but I like that the themes of loving others (espcially those who have a different lifestyle) and family are the most resonant. Rebels was a great conclusion to the story and really seemed to wrap up all of the loose ends that come from the other books. A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t want to give any spoilers to the story, so I won’t go into great detail about the actual plot itself, which is why this review may come across as somewhat vague. But, in the final book of the Safe Lands series, the story pretty much picks right up where it left off in Book 2. Most of the Outsiders are now temporarily living with the Rebels and are trying to find a way to escape the Highlands. If you’ve read book 2, then you know that there are a couple of Outsiders who are about to be liberated as well. In Rebels, we do get answers to several questions. We finally find out what being liberated truly means. We learn more about the plague and the meds given to those who have it. We also learn that there are rebels whom you’d never suspect in influential places in the Highlands. There are old friends, new friends, and enemies that make their appearances in this book as well. I will say that although this book is primarily about young teenagers/young adults, there are several grown-up situations that these kids find themselves in. Many are not good. However, I enjoyed watching different characters learn and grow in their own ways, which was one of the things I liked so much about Book 2. This was a very engaging story and I read it in less than a week. I really enjoyed the progression of the series as a whole with the author not trying to rush things through just to finish the series. I’ve read SEVERAL YA series where the final books leaves me scratching my head wondering what in the world the author was thinking. However, this series does not do that at all. As I stated above, it progresses really well and the 3rd book was just as good, if not better than the first or second, in my opinion. That alone makes this series stand out. And I appreciate the obvious hard work the author put into making this series tie together and end well while still being fairly believable. The ONLY thing I could say that I would have liked to have seen different was maybe there being an Epilogue. I would have liked to have seen the characters several years down the road. However, that’s not to say that the book doesn’t end well, because it does. But it does end in such a way that the author may be able to write a 4th book sometime in the future, which I would love! Overall, I thought this was a great book & a great way to end a brilliant series. I was intrigued by the series when I first read the plot of the first book and I have not been disappointed. I loved that the series was clean, the characters (mostly) really improved themselves over time, and the story seemed to follow a reasonable pace. It’s a great read and a great addition to my personal library. **I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which I have done.**
4 & 1/2 star thrilling end! One of the things I always enjoy about Jill Williamson’s books are her world building and characters. Similar to Veronica Roth's Factions or Suzanne Collin's Panem, Williamson’s dystopian world has eerie connections to our contemporary world. It is easy to picture our society going too far in certain directions to lead us to something similar to the Safe Lands. The technology and fashions are a mix of futuristic and old industrial depending on whether outside the Safe Lands or within. Little idioms and jargon such as “raven” for “handsome,” “femme” for “female,” or “SimTap” (a Bluetooth-like system) makes you feel immersed in a familiar, yet unfamiliar world. Jill Williamson’s characters are three-dimensional. They’re not perfect and they make mistakes, but they learn from it and become stronger people. Omar, Mason, Levi, Ciddah, even Jemma –they all reminded me that just as God forgives us, we need to show forgiveness to others. Shaylinn’s struggle to show God’s love to Tova, a disgruntled woman whose husband has been giving the Glenrock remnant shelter, was such an example to me. Each of the characters challenged me to be more Christ-like in the way I handle relationships, in my attitude toward others who need forgiveness (like Omar, Ciddah, or Tova) and a reminder to consider how I am loving or caring for others. The main action in this book moves like a spy or espionage plot. It culminates with a twist I didn’t foresee and a satisfying end to the Safe Lands rebellion. The final three chapters wrap up the stories of our main three brothers. I would call these semi-satisfying because of course I would have loved more closure or a more finite “happily ever after” to certain relationships. However, if Williamson had done this, I think it could have come off as too contrived, so even though I wish it otherwise, the ending is much more realistic and stronger as is. I look forward to see what Jill Williamson dreams up next. *Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have done*