“Rebellion” by Karen Sandler

“Rebellion” by Karen SandlerRebellion by Karen Sandler
Series: Tankborn #3
Published: 2014 by Tu Books
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 396
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Rebellion is the third book in the Tankborn trilogy, a YA dystopian series featuring diverse protagonists, cyborgs, and (you guessed it!) a rebellion.  Minor spoilers from the previous two books, but I’ll try to keep them as minimal as possible.

Kayla is a GEN, or genetically engineered human.  Devak is a highborn.  The two of them shouldn’t be in love, but they are, even as the world falls apart around them as GENS begin to fight for their rights.  The previous book ends with an explosion, and both point-of-view characters think that the other is dead.

Devak wakes up after healing in a GEN tank (think the bacta tank from Star Wars) to find that his social status has been demoted, and that his grandfather has sacrificed almost everything they own to heal him.  He learns of Kayla’s death, but doesn’t want to believe it.  When he discovers that she might be alive, he’ll do everything in his power to reunite with her–but now that he’s no longer a highborn, he has to learn how to navigate the world from a different perspective.

Meanwhile, Kayla has been kidnapped by her mother, who is one of the leaders of a terrorist/extremist group known as the FHE.  She’s pretty much a hostage, but soon begins to realize that the FHE wants her for a reason, and attempts to uncover their secrets.

The Tankborn trilogy is very similar in structure to the Hunger Games, and I saw a lot of similarities between Rebellion and Mockingjay.  But while I did enjoy the sociopolitical commentary, I found Rebellion a bit lacking, especially compared to the rest of the trilogy.  This is mostly because Kayla is an idiot.  She made a lot of stupid and avoidable mistakes that should have given her away, and yet she manages to plot against the FHE with almost total impunity.  I had a hard time believing she could lack so much discretion, especially for someone who has TWO BRAINS.  I mean, yes, she is a teenager, but c’mon.  She had way too much plot armor to be believable.

If it weren’t for my annoyance with Kayla, the book would have been much more enjoyable, especially because it has so many cool elements–cyborgs, commentary on social class and extremism, fighting on the backs of giant spiders in the desert, etc.

Overall verdict: Great idea, but mediocre execution.

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