Thursday, 19 March 2015

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins - Review

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Published in: 8th April 2014 
Content warning: Mild violence, mentions of a family 
                            member's death
Format: Hardback
Source: Borrowed from friend.
My Rating: ★★1/2
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

           I am finally done with Rebel Belle! I found it incredibly challenging to read this book till the end because I did not really like it. I am aware that it's a well-loved book and I've heard so many great things about it so I was honestly surprised that it wasn't to my liking :(

So what's my howl for this book?


          Rebel Belle is about Harper Price, a wealthy Southern Belle who has got everything going for her. SGA President, head cheerleader, possible valedictorian, Homecoming queen, girlfriend of the most popular boy in school yadda yadda. She is that perfect girl that everyone wants to be/befriend (and whose dead sister we don't talk about). Until one day right before being crowned queen during prom she encounters a bloodied janitor who passes on mysterious powers to her before breathing his last. She is then thrown into a world where magic spells, badass ninja-fighting and having visions of the future exists. Turns out, she is to become a Paladin, a protector of the Oracle, the "chosen one" that has the ability to see the future, who happens to be David, her nemesis from birth.

Things that were wrong with this book:
  1. The so-called "destiny" of the Paladin. First of all, the only reason Harper received Paladin powers was because she forgot to bring her lipgloss. That's it. No backstory of prophecies or generations of daughters in her family meant to become Paladins. It all stemmed from a coincidence. I could not accept it because it means anyone can become a Paladin without any restrictions. As long as you are present right before your predecessor's death and they kiss it into you. So completely no qualms in involving INNOCENT CIVILIANS WHO HAVE LIVES OF THEIR OWN. No qualms in endangering their lives and the lives of their loved ones, expecting them to abandon everything to protect a stranger. And this sort of absurdity happened twice, when Ryan was dragged into it too.
  2. The fact that it was harder to kill Harper than it was to kill Christopher, who actually went through official training to become a Paladin. It took one high heel to kill Mr. DuPont. Only one. Darn it, Christopher should have thought about adding some ladies' footwear into his non-existant armory. And the fact that Christopher had to be "fake fat, fake bald and kind of good-looking" to explain away the revulsion the readers would get when Harper was forcibly "kissed".
  3. The fact that boys make bad Oracles. Okay, I can accept it. But at least tell me why?
  4. The chemistry between Harper and David. There was none.The story just says they've been fighting ever since they were young. Maybe David was the one that had feelings for her and was pulling her pigtails. But COME ON DAVID. GROW UP. Technically he did have character development to an extent but he was such a jerk to Harper in the beginning, writing scandalous gossips about her on the school paper, while self-proclaiming to be a legit writer who is committed to the art. Harper and how she came to fall for David just made me internally scream "REALLY GIRL???". She already has a boyfriend of two years (who is the sweetest and most matured of them all imo) and suddenly after receiving her powers she somehow feels connected to David romantically. It came out of NOWHERE. David wasn't even those mysterious bad boy types. He was an immature bully who wore jeans that were a size too small. EW.
  5. The breakup between Harper and Ryan. Still not over how that was written. Just NOPE.
  6. The redundancy of Leigh Anne's tragedy. I really wished there was more to it. She is like Harper, the perfect golden girl. And one day she just dies from a freak accident because she drove while she was drunk. Why was she drunk during one of her most important nights? If she was Miss Goody Two-shoes why was she doing something so reckless? Also, I couldn't believe Harper would use her dead sister as an excuse for getting out of her friends questions about her whereabouts during one of her Paladin adventures. It was so out of character. 
  7. The fact that they completely forgot about Bee just after she was kidnapped. Harper and David were SO CHILL at the end, still talking about whether their relationship would work out bla bla when Harper's BEST FRIEND is out there somewhere with a crazy MAGE with unlimited powers. SNAP OUT OF IT YOU TWO. And shame on both of you. Harper JUST broke up with Ryan.
          I give Rebel Belle 2.5/5 stars. The points above alone made it hard for me to finish this book. I'm sure there were more minor irk-ish moments but these were the main ones. Nevertheless I read it till the end as I liked the action scenes, and because it involved an unconventional female main protagonist. But I would not be interested in reading the next book in the series.

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