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Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Rec. Age Level: 14+
Popular queen bee Harper Price has worked hard to be Homecoming Queen and nothing is going to ruin her night... except, maybe, becoming a Paladin. When a freak encounter leaves Harper the unwilling inheritor of supernatural abilities and the responsibility of protecting an unknown individual, winning the crown is the least of her concerns. Of course, the guy she's bound to protect would be David Stark, quite possibly the most annoying person Harper has the displeasure of knowing. As Harper and David struggle to figure out what their new relationship entails, Harper must fight off evil forces that seek to take them out and the uncomfortable new feelings she seems to be developing towards David.
To offer some clarity regarding Paladins, these individuals were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne's court, sworn guardians with supernatural powers. Of course, Hawkins explores the mythology in REBEL BELLE, though I can't tell you how closely it follows (or doesn't follow) popular mythology surrounding Paladins.
I'm a huge fan of Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall books, so I knew REBEL BELLE would be a must-read. Can I first just mention how wonderfully awesome the cover of this novel is? It totally fits the premise and the main character, Harper, a southern belle with a dangerous edge.
What I loved most about Harper is the fact that, even before she inherits the role of Paladin, she's already ready to kick butt and take names. She might be sweet as pie on the outside, but she's got enough backbone and sass to put anyone in their place. While becoming a Paladin makes her life a lot more complicated, it also makes her a much more complex and, arguably, better person. I loved her character development.
The novel's description pretty clearly states that there's some romantic tension between Harper and her sworn charge, David. Despite the fact that I knew this romance was going to develop, I still loved the push and pull between the two characters. Their witty jabs and banter was entertaining and the development wasn't near as predictable as it could have been.
Overall, I really enjoyed this first installment to Hawkin's new trilogy. I can't wait to read more about Harper and David!