If you cast your mind back all the way to July (I know, it feels like a lifetime ago), you may recall I reviewed the first book in Elise Carlson’s Ruarnon Trilogy, Manipulator’s War (if you don’t recall, you can click this link to remedy the situation). While I don’t have my hands on the volume’s second entry in hand to review, I do have a review for its prequel, the bite-sized Rebellion is Due. At just an estimated thirty pages on Kindle, Rebellion is Due is less than eight per cent of the length of Manipulator’s War, so brace yourself for a review that’s a little shorter than usual (though I guarantee it’ll be over eight per cent the length of my Manipulator’s War review).
At 7,500 words, Rebellion is Due is a short story, presented as a novelette, at the lower end of the spectrum. At this length, Carlson doesn’t have the space to tell a wide reaching, epic tale. This isn’t the portal fantasy presented in the mainline Manipulator’s War; instead it tells a story about a battle before the events of the story. The author uses the space judiciously, with an action-packed story where humanity shines through, ensuring the story has resonance.
Rebellion is Due’s protagonist isn’t Ruarnon, but his father, Urmilian, who is fifteen years old at the time of the story, fighting to free the Tarlahan people. As I read the story, I was struck by Carlson’s ability to write epic battle scenes, which both provide wonderful action set pieces while also presenting the horrors of war. The war at the book’s centre was gripping, and had me eagerly flipping to the next page to see what happens next.
Despite Rebellion is Due’s length, it features a number of characters, all of whom are clearly defined. As this is set a generation before the Ruarnon Trilogy, these characters are new, but have been written in a way that they quickly feel familiar, and the reader is invested in their story. The dialogue, while often sparse, as the novelette lays the focus on the events, all flows naturally, with each character having their own distinct voice.
As fantastic as Rebellion is Due is, I feel as though it could have gone through another round of edits. There are a few typos in the book, which are unfortunate, and pulled me away from the story. The story isn’t by any means littered with issues, and they’re easy to move on from, but the end result doesn’t feel as polished as it could.
Despite being a brief prequel to the Ruarnon Trilogy, Rebellion is Due stands alone beautifully. The end of the book links to the wider trilogy, but this doesn’t take away from it being a beautifully contained tale. It’s a bite-sized read (with a price to match) that provides some background information for fans of Manipulator’s War, but introduces the world and the author’s storytelling prowess to anyone who hasn’t yet jumped on board.
If you’re looking for a read that can easily be digested in a single sitting, Rebellion is Due fits the bill perfectly. Telling a story set in the midst of war, with plenty of action and thoroughly enjoyable characters, it is well worth the brief amount of time you’ll spend with it. If you haven’t yet read Manipulator’s War, it serves as a great introduction that will whet your appetite for the novel and the country of Tarlah.
A baby wailed. A dog barked and another baby cried. Urmilian turned dizzily back to his city. Pale, frightened, small faces peered out of several windows. There were sill children in the city. And most of its women and elderly. If it was them or the Zaldeaans…Rebellion is Due: Ruarnon Trilogy Prequel
Rebellion is Due: Ruarnon Trilogy Prequel was purchased for the purpose of an honest review.
Rebellion is Due is available in both physical and eBook forms from book retailers (including—but not limited to—Amazon).
Note: I do not post scores for reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:
You can follow Elise Carlson online, via: