Book Review: Outlands Pentalogy

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 by Rebecca Crunden

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!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review: A Touch of Death

Hey guys! I’m back with another book review! Today I will be sharing my thoughts on “A Touch of Death” by Rebecca Crunden. Rebecca was kind enough to send me this book but all my thoughts in this review are my own. Okay, let’s get into it.

A Touch of Death, "A Touch of Death" by Rebecca Crunden, Outlands Pentalogy, Rebecca Crunden, dystopian, dystopian novel

The story follows Catherine and Nate who live easy lives because their parents are favourites of the King. Catherine and Nate contract a mysterious illness while visiting the mountains and run away, afraid of arrest and execution. This is a new adult dystopian novel and the first in a five-book series.

I was confused at first because the synopsis on the back of the book is more of a backstory. You can read the synopsis here if you want. The synopsis mentions a two-year period when Nate is gone and I thought that’s where the novel would start. But it skips this section. So I was confused at first but once I realized the synopsis was the backstory was I able to move on. This might also be confusion on my part. I can be a scattered brain at times.

It took me about 100 pages to get into the novel, which I find is fairly common with sci-fi and fantasy novels. On top of trying to introduce the characters, these genres have to build a world. So it can be a lot to grasp at first. But after those 100 pages, I settled in and got really into the novel. I think it’s also interesting because there aren’t chapters in the book. The book is divided into six parts. But within the parts, they are paragraph breaks so there are places to pause my reading. I found the lack of chapters meant that the book flowed easily and I found myself just wanting to continue to read.

Something I found interesting is that one of the main characters dies pretty early on but is continually mentioned throughout the novel. It was interesting to learn about a character who’s dead through memories of the other characters. Usually, when a character dies that’s it, they’re done. But this character was continually mentioned. This makes me believe for some reason that this character isn’t dead. I’m curious to see if my guess is true.

This novel includes some unrequited love. I don’t want to give too many details as to not spoil the plot. But it’s you’re looking for something spicy, this isn’t it. There is plenty of discussion of sex and marriage and but the furthest this novel goes is kissing. I didn’t mind because I found the plot to be very interesting. Unlike other dystopian novels where the main character is from the poorer part of society (Hunger Games, The Selection) this focuses on those who are from the top of society. Catherine slowly learns what her society is truly like. It gives me similar vibes to the television adaption of Brave New World.

Throughout the novel, Catherine and Nate travel across the kingdom. I wish there was a map included in the novel. I did find one on Rebecca’s website, which I will have pulled up when I read the rest of the series. But I think it would have helped me to have it included in the novel.

Overall I give the book 4.5/5 stars. I think it’s a refreshing take on the dystopian genre and isn’t like anything I’ve read in that genre. I’m excited to read the rest of the books in the series. It loses half a point because I was pretty confused in the beginning because of the synopsis, but once I realized what was going on I was into it.

I have ordered the second book and if I like it then I’ll probably stick with it and finish the series. I like to consider series as a whole, so I’ll probably review the rest of the books together in one post. So stay tuned for that!

xoxo

Lea

UPDATE: Just wanted to mention that the cover I have is an old version, and that the cover has been updated since I received the book.