Rebel by Marie Lu
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Summary from GoodReads:
Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.
Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.
A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.
As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .
While technically this is a series, and this is book #23, each book is its own mystery and so basically a standalone. So don’t worry if you have never read any of these books, there will be no spoilers. I started reading these books about 20 years ago, but it has been awhile and about 10 books since I last read one. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this one and renewing my interest in the series. Now I just have to figure out which ones I haven’t read and go from there. These are historical mysteries all taking place after the Great War in the early 1920s.
Inspector Ian Rutledge is a remarkable character who is very dedicated to his job. He was an officer in the army and survived the war, mostly intact. There are still things that haunt him from the war, but there is one young soldier that died under his command that is still with him. Hammish is sort of Ian’s conscience, but he also has some keen insights into the cases that Ian is sent out to work on. Ian works tirelessly to solve whatever case he is on, but this one proves to be particularly difficult and vexing. Ian does not have a good relationship with his commander, and often in the books there is conflict that arises from this. But for the most part in this book, Ian is left to his own devices.
These are incredibly well done mysteries with lots of twists and turns and red herrings that make it very difficult to figure out how it all fits together. That is what I like so much about these stories, I almost always don’t choose the right suspect, or if I get that right the motivation is not one I was expecting. The other things that I always enjoy is the setting. Many of the stories take place in remote areas of England and this one in particular is in Wales. The cover of the book depicts what looks like a bridge, but is actually a boat canal that crosses over another river. These were all built as waterways so that goods could be transported easily from one river to another.
The Legend series is my favorite one by Marie Lu, and I was very happy with how it ended, even though it was open ended as to what really happened to June and Daniel later on in life. And I was okay with that, and I could let my imagination take over. So I was quite surprised when I saw this book come out and even though I knew it was going to be more about Daniel and his brother Eden, I was a little nervous that the ending I had conjured for Daniel and June would be shattered. I am happy to report that it wasn’t and that I really enjoyed this book. It made me nostalgic for the original series too, so I am planning to read that again later this year.
I should warn you that I won’t spoil this book, but there may be some minor ones from the first three books.
This is the story of what happened to Eden and Daniel once they left the Republic and how they are managing their lives after the horrible things they went through during the war. But it is also about brothers and their bond and love for each other, as well as how survivors cope with the nightmares and the tragedies that they have witnessed and things that they have endured. The story is narrated by both brothers, which was awesome. They are both 10 years older and living in the technologically advanced Ross City in Antartica. Eden is trying to come out from behind his famous brother’s shadow and Daniel is trying to keep Eden from making the same mistakes he did at that age. It is an interesting dynamic. It was also nice to see a story about brothers that was so full of love and hope.
“Daniel reaches out and seizes both of my wrists in his hands. “Look at me,” he says, his eyes locking on to mine. They are fierce in the night, and in them I see the same brother who had once stood up to an entire nation. “It is not weakness to open your heart. It does not make you less of a man to ask for help. To turn to someone when you’re vulnerable. To need a shoulder to cry on. You don’t have to bear the weight of anything by yourself. Do you understand me? I know what it’s like to be forced to go it alone. I never want you to feel that way.”
But what of June? She is there, we just don’t see any of the story from her perspective. Which I was ok with, but it might have been nice to hear just a little bit from her. June and Daniel are able to reconnect in this story which was wonderful to watch unfold. I loved how awkward they were together and how they could still read each other, even with Daniel’s missing memories of their prior relationship. It was everything I hoped for the two of them.
“I’ve looked over my shoulder for a decade,’ I whisper, ‘wondering what it was that was missing in my life. Turns out, all this time, it was you.”
The story is really good as well, even though it started off a bit slow. Once the action picked up though it was hard to put the book down. Even in the advanced society that was set up like a game, there is a seedy underside that the well off choose to ignore to their cost. Once again the boys find themselves caught up in things they can not control as much as they would like. The setting of Ross City was well done as well. I could picture it very well in my head.
If you have read the Legend series and really enjoyed it, I highly recommend that you pick this one up, if you haven’t already. It was fun spending time with these characters again.