5 out of 5 stars
Published in April 2014, Rebel Belle is a new series by Rachel Hawkins. It’s told from the point of view of Harper Price – a seventeen-year-old girl who wants to keep everything in her life perfect. She participates in almost all school activities, is in the running to become Homecoming queen, keeps her appearance to high standard and tries to be nice to everyone. Except for head of the school paper, David Stark. However, her life is thrown off balance when the – get this – unassuming janitor (Hong Kong Phooey much?) locks them in a bathroom, reveals he’s a Paladin (a magical knight) who passes his powers and mission to Harper as he dies. Now Harper has to deal with school, her upcoming dance and all the powers she now possesses as a Paladin. There’s just one catch – the mission she has been given is to keep alive a psychic who just happens to be the one person she cannot stand. David Stark.
This is the easiest 5 stars that I’ve been able to give this month.
I honestly loved this book more than I can express. I’d been hearing good things about it but didn’t really get sucked in by the hype – I bought it to check it out for myself and was a little discouraged by all the pink but reading the story made me realise the point of the cover and I can’t really articulate my love for this story and my want for the next in the series to come out already!
Everything was perfectly flawed and that twist at the end – for a good half hour I was sat from chapter 34 onwards just going “no no no….” which progressed to “NO! NO YOU DON’T EFFING DO THAT! NO!”
Rachel Hawkins, I salute you and your realistic narrative – I adored Harper! She was genuine and (apart from relationship things) I related to her in so many ways. Also, first story with a dark haired heroine I’ve read in a while – not that it matters but most of the heroine’s I’ve read recently have been blonde or a light brunette. Dark is cool. Bee and Harper reminded me of myself and my best friend and I just wanted to hug them both near the end and make everything better because I felt so bad for them! As a narrator, Harper was great and her character development was superb. She speaks her mind, thinks of other people, is tough, knows what she wants to do and wasn’t afraid to say ‘no’ when she could tell something was going to go wrong.
David and Ryan are two pretty awesome characters too. I liked how different they were and how they contrasted – Ryan reminded me too much of people I had known at school who were in the cool cliques but didn’t technically bully anyone, they were harmless but didn’t help when they could have. David is literally the male version of me so with everything going on with his character (aside from the Oracle stuff) I felt like I would be able to just sit down with him and talk nerdy things and be sarcastic. Relationship-wise, I did feel David was a better match for Harper because she wasn’t exactly the Queen Bee I pictured before reading the book. She just did a lot for her school and community, she wasn’t the leader of the crowd, she just knew how to stand in front of it well.
This story had me laughing out loud so many times. The comedic elements balanced off well with all the dramatic moments, every scene amazing well written and leaving enough to the imagination of the reader. Nothing was thrown in my face like I was a child, it felt like a conversation. Even the action scene during which the most exhilarating and amazingly funny car chase happens. I am in awe of Rachel Hawkins’ ability to write a scene that is equal parts hilarious and nerve-wrecking.
The only thing that I didn’t really like was how quickly the romance aspects shifted. Harper starts the story in an established relationship with Ryan (who I was on the fence due to the reasons I stated before), and it seems all right at first until Harper’s new powers kick in. You could see the relationship coming to an end and I wanted it to because it was unfair on both of them. Plus there is one other character in the novel who I hated but suited Ryan so much better – they had a better chemistry. Then on the same night that they finally do break-up, Harper moves on straight away to David in such a rushed way… I feel it could have been dealt with better in the next book rather than rushing it in in the penultimate chapter. But they did make a better match.
Seriously, I recommend this book so much – it is so good and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Harper, David and Ryan next.