Skip to main content

Rebellion

Review

Rebellion

In REBELLION by Stephanie Diaz --- the sequel to EXTRACTION --- the battle is far from over. Clementine and her rebel allies are now beginning to prepare themselves for a new struggle against their planet’s cruel dictator. The facility they are in may not shield them from the leaked acid in the air. Also, Commander Charlie wants to bring battleships to nearby planet Marden to attack, no matter who dies in the process, so the rebels must infiltrate his sectors to weaken his plan.
I had not read EXTRACTION prior to REBELLION, so I expected to be a little confused at first. The setting can be hard to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with it. However, REBELLION is clearly similar to many popular books in the same genre. Clementine, who was Extracted by an aptitude test in the last book, is basically a personification of Divergence and Abnegation in this ENDER’S GAME-esque atmosphere. So what sets this book apart? 
 
The poisonous moon aspect and planetary politics may interest space fans, and readers will be interested to know that REBELLION delves straightaway into exploring Clementine’s emotional struggle after her first war with Charlie. The death of her friend Oliver has traumatized her and she sees him in her sleep. 
 
Clementine is chosen to infiltrate Charlie’s camps in the planet’s Core as a recruiter. She gets a cathartic haircut full of symbolism, à la Tris Prior, and embarks on her mission to spread awareness of and put a stop to Charlie's plans.
 
[Clementine] is admirable in her vulnerability and courage. 
 
Because this is a dystopia, the society plays a central role. But the raging evil is just there for the sake of having evil, so Clementine has something to fight against; while Commander Charlie’s narcissistic motives give some explanation for the battle, the conflict is simplistic. Concepts are portrayed solely in terms of black or white. Rather than dominating his citizens through social conditioning, propaganda or rhetoric, Charlie literally just injects them with a needle and they instantly become his followers (the science of this is never elaborated upon). I just didn’t find the contrast between the independent rebels and the “mindless soldiers” (a phrase Clementine repeats incessantly) to be very compelling.
 
While I didn’t really connect with or like Clementine very much, she is admirable in her vulnerability and courage. The side characters are given little depth, and mostly just serve as foils or plot obstacles for her, but I particularly liked spirited Skyler and mysterious Cadet Malcolm. Their dialogue is intriguing and sometimes quirky. Clementine’s boyfriend Logan doesn’t really have a purpose or personality other than being her motivation, but he is supportive. The emotions in this book are portrayed in a very ordinary and expected manner.
 
The narrative felt like a tired version of the typical YA sci-fi voice (present-tense and clipped), and it was often a chore to get through. But there’s plenty of suspense and conflict (Charlie and his friends like to make Clementine’s life difficult by targeting her true love Logan), and many will not mind the slow and tedious speed if they find the events engaging or relatable. While the pacing often drags, it’s punctuated with explosive and action-packed moments, and sped up enough by the end to read almost like a movie. The most interesting scenes occurred in the settings unique to this world, like futuristic flying pods, caves and tunnels. The ending is relatively enjoyable, packing in another twist that opens up new questions and problems.
 
Clementine’s altruistic journey is one that many readers will love and admire. While there are a few similarities to The Hunger Games (the rising underground rebels movement, the room whose walls can instantly transform into different backgrounds with the push of a button), REBELLION is closest to ENDER’S GAME and INSURGENT. To be honest, I personally would rather have just read those books again, but if you don’t think you will mind the parallels, and prefer a dystopia that's heavy on the action and protagonist’s internal conflict and lighter on the world-building and secondary character development, you might like this. Followers from the first installment will enjoy seeing how the events of EXTRACTION have changed this selfless heroine’s willpower and attitude.
REBELLION is a predictable spin on a very common story outline with a few twists. New characters are introduced and the cliffhanger sets up some intriguing new plot possibilities for the last book. I would recommend it for fans of Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver and Suzanne Young.
 

Reviewed by Thien-Kim H., Teen Board Member on June 15, 2015

Rebellion
by Stephanie Diaz