Ball, Margaret. Insurgents (2017) Kindle Edition
Margaret Ball sent me an announcement of the release of Insurgents and asked for reviews. At the time I agreed, bought a copy, started it, and put it down. I abandoned the book because the female protagonist hit all my contemporary fiction “run away” buttons: self-centered, immature, manipulative, and (probably) unwilling to change. However, over time, guilt pushed me into reading the rest of the book. I’m very glad I did.
The human colony of Harmony insists that all residents life in harmony with each other and the government. Any violation of those rules leads to exile on the arid continent of Esilia. Over the generations, those exiles developed into a group of annoying (to Harmony) free thinkers and farmers who start demanding more rights. This leads to difficulties, at least for the central government of Harmony. How do you punish exiles with exile? Instead, war breaks out, sort of.
During a raid on a Harmony military encampment, a group of guerillas from Esilia capture weapons, other equipment, and the daughter of the commanding general of Harmony’s army. Oops. Gabriel [name], leader of the irregulars, is not excited about having her along, but knows that she could be useful. Isovel is not pleased with being captured, and tries to think of ways to escape, or at least disrupt the Esilians’ efforts.
She also learns that Harmony is not quite as it seems. Gabriel discovers in turn that Harmony is worse than he’d imagined. And that the forces from Harmony, and those of Esilia, may have a common foe, one who could provide the opening needed to end a war no one wants to fight.
The book is well written with very good pacing and character development. Isovel manages to grow up some, other characters are fleshed out, and the action builds to a satisfying conclusion, with loose threads left for future volumes (Books 2 and 3 are out now). Most fighting and gore happens off stage, and the romance doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story, nor is it a token “OK, someone’s got to fall in love, so I pick you and you,” (unlike a book-with-romance I recently gave up on.) I ended up reading the rest of the book in one sitting.
If you are interested strictly in battles and combat, you might look elsewhere. If you want well-developed characters in a very plausible future, with enough action to keep things moving to the end of the story, this is your book. It will be interesting to see if Harmony’s government learns, or if they try to tighten their grip after the initial shock wears off. And what becomes of Isovel, Gabriel, and their allies.
FTC Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my own purposes and received no benefits or remuneration from either author or publisher.