My review posted on Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/rebel-by-zoe-archer
Nathan Lesperance has never felt like he’s fully belonged. Taken from his home, raised among white society, and working his way into becoming the first Native attorney in Vancouver, Nathan straddles a line between two societies and is considered an anomaly by both. Nathan’s life changes irrevocably when a simple assignment brings him to a trading post out in the wilderness…and unleashes the magic within him.
Astrid Bramfield was once a member of the Blades of the Rose – a group of men and women who protect the world’s magic from those who would harness it for themselves. But after her husband died in her arms while on assignment, Astrid closed herself off from the world, seeking solitude in the northwestern wilderness. She’s a hardened frontierswoman who doesn’t want to form any attachments, but Nathan is a stranger to magic and is in more danger than he can possibly imagine. Astrid discovers that she hasn’t quite given up being a Blade, not when the Heirs of Albion – a group of men bent on subjugating magical Sources for the benefit of themselves and England – appear to be on the hunt for something.
The clock’s ticking for Astrid and Nathan as they seek to locate a magical Source before the Heirs do. But what’s more dangerous to Astrid is Nathan himself. For Nathan quickly breaks through the walls she’s built around her heart, bringing forth emotions Astrid believed long dead.
Experience the nineteenth century Canadian wilderness as you never have before in the fast-moving, thrilling Rebel. Rebel might just be my favorite Zoë Archer book yet! Nathan and Astrid are compelling characters that are sure to capture your heart and the extraordinary world of Ms. Archer’s Blades of the Rose continues to develop in exciting ways.
Whether by circumstance or choice, both Nathan and Astrid are outcasts of sorts who survive and thrive with the odds stacked against them. Nathan faces racism and skepticism on a daily basis, but he doesn’t let that stop him from working as hard as he can to make his way in the world on his own terms. I admired him for that and for how he takes his introduction to magic in stride. He tugged on my heartstrings with his yearning to belong and I wanted nothing more than for him to find a life where he is wholly accepted for who he is. Astrid also broke my heart. She’s loved deeply and suffered a horrible loss; one that, understandably, has led her to withdraw from everything she’s ever known. She’s self-reliant and a hardened frontierswoman, which made her an interesting heroine. What was really wonderful, however, was watching Nathan bring her back to life and seeing Astrid reclaim living life to the fullest. Individually, their journeys were a thing of beauty, and the ones they take together are even better. The romance between them is gorgeously developed and enchanting to watch unfold. Their quest to protect a magical Source is equally exciting. In Rebel, Ms. Archer perfectly blends heart-pounding action with heart-warming romance.
Rebel is the third book in the Blades of the Rose series, but you don’t have to read Warrior and Scoundrel to follow along. The romance stands on its own and Ms. Archer provides enough information on the overarching storyline of the Blades versus the Heirs for readers new to the series to understand that plotline. However, I recommend reading Warrior and Scoundrel simply because Ms. Archer not only sets the books in unusual (for historical romance novels) locals (Outer Mongolia and Greece), but brings these locations to vivid, extraordinary life…with paranormal twists.
Ms. Archer is an incredibly talented writer and her characters, prose, and world shines in Rebel. I finished reading Rebel with a smile on my face and I cannot wait to read the final book in the series, Stranger.