Rebel Belle (Unabridged)
by Rachel Hawkins
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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.
Stars: Overall: 3 Narration 2 Story 4
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 3 Narration 2 Story 4
I was in need of something light and amusing and Rebel Belle from Rachel Hawkins seemed to be a great choice, and for pure entertainment value, this is a great listen. Now, I do have an issue with the never-solved, never-ending love triangle (oh why do YA authors feel the need for these – it makes it difficult to empathize with characters who can’t make a choice!) but a unique spin on the high schooler finds she has magical powers and has to save the world was enough to keep me intrigued.
On the surface, Harper’s live is one that would be suited to a how to be a deb in the south sort of life: good friends, a wonderful boyfriend, popular, solid family, and plans. But one forgotten lip gloss later and ALL the blooms are off the magnolia tree. She discovers a destiny, is granted powers and tasked with protecting the broody hipster. Oh – and this all happens during homecoming, with dead bodies and a murder attempt. So we are right into some action without her really having a grasp of her destiny or her purpose. So Harper puts on a smile, fluffs her hair and moves forward.
Clever characters and friends depicted as coming off the page, Harper’s boyfriend Ryan is the high school boyfriend everyone deserves, almost too perfect Problem is, Harper’s protectee is David – skinny jeans wearing, hipster with an attitude thorn in her side David. And she’s got to split her focus between Ryan and David… and fails miserably. And here –the triangle becomes problematic: why can’t girls and boys (or men and women) be friends without romantic entanglements? Apparently the author thinks it impossible – as the scenes with Harper and David overwhelm her time and relationship with Ryan.
So – not thrilled, but oh the characters do make up for that huge gaffe- and there is action as Harper (and the readers) learn about her powers and abilities, get history on Paladins and find out just why David is such a target. Yes, they all grow and discover some truths, and as a start to a new series, it brings some clever moments together with a heroine that is hard not to like after her great indecisions.
Narration for this story is provided by Amy Rubinate, and I am thoroughly torn on her performance. I think she captured Harper, but there was a stoic almost wooden lack of emotional oomph for the characters, and there was limited distinction in voicing between characters. Unlike narrations with more variation in pitch, pacing and delivery, Rubinate is simply presenting the words without actually telling the story. I have the second title in the series to review, and hope for a better performance.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.