Review: Hope’s Rebellion by Jade Varden

I received this book for free from Provided by author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Hope’s Rebellion by Jade VardenHope's Rebellion by Jade Varden
Published by Self-Published, Jade Varden on December 31st 2013
Pages: 169
Format: eARC
Source: Provided by author

Book Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Their friendship will test the fabric of tradition, duty and destiny...

There are only two seasons in Godenor: summer and winter. Weather brings the only surprises to a society where everything is planned, and everyone's status is determined at the color of their hair.

Rinna has the right hair, Drexi the wrong, and Prelly is almost too ordinary -- in every way but one. Small mistakes bring them together, creating ripples in a pond that knows nothing but serenity. If they reach their goals, they can't help but shatter the world they know.

Love of any kind, even the bond of friendship, isn't allowed in their world...but then, the heart can't always follow orders.

This book contains dark themes and may disturb those who are easily triggered by mentions and light descriptions of the sexual aspects of unwanted arranged marriages (borderline rape, imo) and abuse.
I want to start by saying that this is easily a 4 star novel, possibly higher. However, my ratings are always based on my own experience with the book, and for me this book was a 3 star. The 3.5 star rating is my compromise. I went into this book knowing that I love Jade Varden, but generally dislike dystopian novels. I went in naively thinking that a great author can make anything amazing. I was not prepared for this at all.

This story is dark. I’m talking, really dark. It’s gritty and realistic, showcasing a complete loss of the rights of the people at the hands of the government. Blonde women are revered but raised for no other purpose than to bare children and other “inferior” men and women are sent off to be slaves or third class citizens. There is talk of physical abuse and less than consensual sex (Nothing graphic, it’s one of those “This is happening. Now it’s happened” sorts of things.) and a depressing social hierarchy. This is the future of nightmares.

I had trouble getting into this. I wasn’t expecting it to be so realistic and dark. I was expecting something witty with a lot of light-hearted moments that were plagued by an undercurrent of unrest. I wasn’t expecting depression in a PDF. This complete jarring of my expectations made it harder for me to get through. Originally I thought it was because I was reading it late at night when a teething infant was stealing away my precious hours for sleep, but I know now that it isn’t the case. I would not feel so uneasy about the story as I do. The opening chapters were a little hard to follow. They start off showing the main characters at the precious age of 3 being forcefully taken from their parents to begin their training for their future lives. There are social terms and titles that you never fully get a deep understanding of (Seriously, what is an Argot?) that make some things hard to follow. At some point you just pretend you know what is going on, even while you still don’t know what an Argot is. A glossary of terms would be helpful, but I didn’t see one within my review copy.

The characters are wonderfully written and well developed. They have personalities that shine. I had trouble getting an emotional attachment to any of them until nearly 85% of the book, but I blame my lack of preparedness. When the book stopped being about setup and the climax started building, I tore through it. The plot is so well done, even if it wasn’t my cup of tea. The ending is bittersweet and that last chapter!! I can’t spoil it. That last chapter tops the cake. I’m still reeling from the emotions that gave.

This is a fantastic book, but it just didn’t work for me. I tend to use fiction to escape from reality. This was far too real for my tastes. I don’t regret reading it, but I almost wish I had had better warning about it before I began. Jade warned it was different than her other novels when she offered it to me, but I didn’t expect it would be this different.


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