Monday, January 20, 2014

Outcasts by Jill Williamson

This is the second in The Safe Lands series. See my review of Captives, the first in the series, here.

The year is 2088. America as we know it is gone. Many people are dying from a plague that traveled through the land. Such are the people in the enclosed territory of Safe Lands. The plague prevents women from giving live birth so the Safe Lands enforcers go out to villages and bring in clean people. The clean women are forced to be impregnated and give birth, assuring the future of the Safe Lands community.

That is what happened to Levi and his villagers, those who were not killed that is. Levi wants to free his fellow captive villagers and works on a plan, joining up with other underground people. Levi's brother Mason works as a medic and is trying to find a cure for the disease. Brother Omar decides to take matters in his own hands, becoming the Owl.

The action in this series continues to be intense, from the beginning of this novel to its end. The brothers face the possibility of betrayal as they plan for rescue and escape. Their actions are clever as they work to avoid the monitoring devices of the government. Mason's life is endangered as he discovers that the meds the Safe Lands dispense are not what they are supposed to be. And Omar, well Omar just manages to get into trouble by himself.

The subject matter dealt with in this novel is intense too. Teens, as young as fourteen, are being impregnated (medical procedure) to assure a future for the community. There are also references to Safe Lands couples frequently pairing up.

Omar has taken up the practice of using a drug device. He is the most troubled of the brothers and has his moments of not being the young man he could be. Brothers Mason and Levi try to be responsible men and while reading the book I have to remind myself they are still teens.

The relationships between the captives deepen in this novel. It was interesting to see more character development of some of the young women. Again, I have to remind my self that these are teens thrust into a world of intense pressure. It is also a godless world and the captives struggle to maintain their Christian belief.

This is a very good continuation of the series. Because of the subject matter, however, I would not recommend this series for young teens. For older teens, there is much to think about and discuss in this novel. Topics would include self image, prejudice, peer pressure, and much more. There are discussion questions added at the end of the novel so this would make a good choice for a teen reading group.

I am taking part in a Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour of this book. You can read the reviews of the other participants by clicking on their names.

Red Bissell Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Julie Bihn Carol Keen Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews Rebecca LuElla Miller Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Jill Williamson grew up in Alaska loving books. Her first novel won the Christy Award. She loves working with teens and giving writing workshops. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. You can find out more about her at www.jillwilliamson.com.

Blink (a division of Zondervan), 416 pages. You can buy the book here.

I received a complimentary galley of this book in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour for the purpose of this review.
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