Hey guys! I’m back again with another book review. Today I am giving you my review of the Outlands Pentalogy series by Rebecca Crunden. I previously wrote a review for the first book in the series, “A Touch of Death”. I recommend checking out that post before reading this one. I will quickly give you my thoughts on each of the books before giving my thoughts on the series overall. I’m going to try and avoid spoilers, so because of that, my thoughts may be a little vague especially for the later books. But I will try and do my best. Let’s get into this!
The Outlands Pentalogy series follows three main characters: Kitty, Nate and Thom. Nate and Thom are brothers and Thom and Kitty are assigned partners by the government. Their lives are pretty easy being the children of the society’s elite until Nate and Kitty are infected by a disease that turns them into half-blood mutants. In this dystopian world, there is a second human race that has evolved after being exposed to serious levels of radiation. I would categorize this as a new adult dystopian series.
The second novel, “A History of Madness“, is from Nate’s perspective following the first novel (the first novel is from Kitty’s perspective). I found the beginning to be a bit slow but after it picked up well. This novel gives the details about how the world got to this dystopian point and also get to meet the mutants. While there were moments that I found Nate annoying I overall enjoyed this novel and gave it 4.5/5 stars.
The third novel, “A Promise of Return“, is from Thom’s perspective and what happens to him during the timeline of the first and second novel. This is my favourite novel in the series. I think Thom is my favourite character and I just enjoyed the level of action in this novel. There were some great twists in this novel as well. I gave it 4.5/5 stars.
The fourth book, “A Dance of Lies“, was slower for me. In this novel, we return to Kitty’s perspective. This book is mainly character-driven and how the characters grow and deal with their trauma. Some seriously shitty things happen to the characters through the series and this book is mainly about the repercussions of that. This book also explores Nate, Thom and Kitty’s relationship. The lack of action and confusing ending meant that I gave this book 4/5 stars.
The final book, “A Time of Prophecy“, alternates perspectives between Nate, Kitty and Thom. I found the beginning to be slow but the end was action-packed. I felt like this book did a good job ending the series. My only complaint is that it was slightly repetitive in the beginning and all the side characters returned which made it hard to keep track of who was who. I gave this book 4/5 stars.
Overall I give the series 4.25/5 stars. I’ll break down some of the things I liked and some of the things I found annoying.
First I think this is unlike any other dystopian novel I’ve read before. Yes, you have the tyrannical government but the main characters are from the elite not the poor. They also don’t spend a lot of time in the government but running from it. I also love the whole mutant race plotline. I thought it was well done and it’s a great example of how to treat others who are not like you.
This novel deals with lots of heavy themes such as otherness, but also sexual assault, rape, violence, death, the afterlife and the existence of God. These are heavy topics, so check for trigger warnings (there are some on Goodreads).
There was also great representation both in terms of race and sexuality. Kitty is described as having dark skin and hair, so it’s nice that not all the main characters as white. Thom is bisexual and many of the other characters are either bisexual or homosexual. There is some discussion of physical disability as well.
My only issues with the novel are pacing and repetitiveness. I found the pacing varied throughout the series, with it being slow and fast and slow again. A novel or series doesn’t have to be fast-paced, but I prefer something consistent. I also mentioned that the book did get repetitive at times, mainly with people having issues with their relationship. I won’t say who the couples were because I don’t want to spoil pairings, but man the couples had struggles and I got fed up after a while.
I would recommend this series to anyone interested in dystopian novels. This is unlike any dystopian series I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. And these books are self-published, so you get to support a small, independent author if you choose to read them!
I hope you guys found this review helpful. As with all my book reviews, let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading or if you have any recommendations for me!