The Book Owl: ‘Rebel Belle’ is a refreshing take on fantasy genre

Colleen Kelly

This book was amazing and easily my favorite read of the year so far! “Rebel Belle” is a young adult urban fantasy romantic comedy (wow, that’s a mouthful) and first book in a new trilogy.

The story follows high schooler Harper Price: homecoming queen, student body president, soon-to-be valedictorian and quintessential Southern belle. The night of the homecoming dance, however, Harper’s charmed life takes a sudden turn. She suddenly finds herself in the cross-hairs of a magical assassin vs Paladin battle which leaves her with a new set of supernatural abilities and a sacred duty she didn’t sign up for. Think an updated “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde,” but with a sword.

Harper is a delight and a half. She is clever, funny and an unapologetic girly-girl who could and would kick anyone’s butt. She is the kind of girl who achieved popularity by being genuinely nice and working hard, but that doesn’t mean she’s without faults. She is arrogant, competitive, obsessive and impulsive, which made her all the more grounded and human. Harper and David (the classmate/childhood rival she is charged with guarding with her life) have the most interesting and entertaining dynamic. Their snark levels are off the charts whenever they have to begrudgingly work together and they had me in full-fledged giggle fits more than a few times. Not only that, but the slow friendship that blossoms between them when they see all the ugliness in each other’s personaly was unexpectedly touching. The fantasy elements of this book really took me by surprise too with how well-written and engaging they were. I’ve had some bad experiences reading fantasy, but “Rebel Belle” has me curious to give the genre another shot. The story was action-packed from start to finish and it did a wonderful job of balancing high tension situations with such a fun, light-hearted narrative.

Weirdly enough, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this book. Everything I didn’t like was either resolved well or grew on me the longer I thought about it. Objectively, I could see some people not loving Harper because she is so feminine and seemingly perfect at times, but her character had so much depth that you would be hard pressed not to find her at least interesting to get to know. Even though this was such a girly book, there are enough action-packed fight scenes to reel in male readers too. “Rebel Belle” was a charming, fast-paced story packed with laughs, cringe-worthy drama and a lot of heart.

The sequel, “Miss Mayhem,” is set to hit the shelves April 7, and you had better believe I have that pre-ordered.

Verdict: 5/5 stars