Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Title: Outcasts

Series: The Safe Lands #2

Author: Jill Williamson

Genre: YA Dystopia

Ratings: Craft—5, Content—4, Overall—4.1 out of 5 stars

Excerpt from the prologue of Outcasts:
Almost there.

Kendall strode around the curve of Belleview Drive and fixed her gaze on the messenger sign at the end of the block. The flying white envelope on a red circle flickered in the night.

She wanted to run—to at least jog—but held back, forcing her legs into long strides. Kendall swung her arms and breathed in the scents of dryer sheets and waffle cones from the Belleview Laundry and Cinnamonster ice cream shop.

Barely four weeks had passed since she’d give birth in the Surgery Center, and only two since she’d moved out of the harem and back to the Midlands. Kendall’s medic had told her to wait at least six weeks before doing serious exercise. So Kendall walked everywhere, determined to firm up her abdomen, look normal again. Determined to forget.

She wasn’t supposed to work for six weeks, either. But staying home with no baby to hold . . . Add to that her depressing thoughts, worry over the girls from Glenrock, and the task director general’s summons—it had been too much. She’d begged Tayo to let her come back to the messenger office early.

Kendall picked up her pace. What could the task director want now? He’d taken everything from her. She’d served her term in the harem, had given the ultimate sacrifice. This couldn’t be a surrogacy request. Safe Lands customs said she deserved a two-year reprieve for her service to the nation.

This summons had to be personal.

A group of captive teens struggle to reunite their families and find purpose midst a deceptive city of pleasure.

The Craft: Outcasts continues the Safe Lands series with plenty of suspense and intrigue, easily matching Captives stride for stride.

For much like book one, Outcasts starts off at a slightly slower pace as new complications are introduced and new complexities are added to the characters. But each chapter, the tension ratchets upward and the pace accelerates until the story is running at full steam.

The characters continues to be one of the strong points in this series as well. While the cast is quite large, each character is distinctly his own person with unique (and often clashing) personalities and specific, yet mixed purposes.

Add to this the familiar-but-alien landscape of the Safe Lands, and the result is a story you can completely immerse yourself in.

The Content: Outcasts is a book which will offer food for thought as it dares you to consider the different sides of an issue. It will not always be comfortable to read about. However, it is worthwhile as the story tackles everything from addiction and pregnancy outside of wedlock to finding purpose in life and how we perceive those with values different from ours.

Partially due to that, a wide range of gray areas/problematic topics are touched on: drug addiction, alcohol use, theft, and kidnapping in addition to sexual references (including rape and promiscuity, though the sexuality itself is mostly kissing which is interrupted before it can become more) and some violence. However, these topics are handled well, with the power of suggestion liberally applied, so that this book remains accessible to most teens.

Summary: While Outcasts touches on many problematic topics, it handles the gray areas well and in the end offers a solid read full of tension, complex characters, and thought-provoking content. Recommended for most teens and adults, especially those who like dystopias like The Hunger Games series.
Ratings: Craft—5, Content—4, Overall—4.1 out of 5 stars
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


1 comment:

Jill Williamson said...

Thanks for reading and reviewing Outcasts, Chawna. I really appreciate it. :-)