Rebellion: Stone the Crows Book One (A Dystopian Thriller in a Post-Apocalyptic World) by Kim Peterson, J. Thorn, and Zack Bohannon, is a new entry in the literature of ordinary people crushed by an oppressive authoritarian dictatorship, arisen from the destruction of modern society.
We first meet Rayna, a young woman who makes a living as a diver in the polluted lake next to her village of Hydrans recovering aluminum from the scraps of the previous civilization. The life of the Hydrans is bleak and hopeless. They depend on the rulers of this world for their food and protection. The rulers are called the Crows, and they live in a fortified city called the Nest on top of the hill overlooking the city of the Hydrans. The Hydrans earn their food from the Crows by trading the scavenged aluminum. They also must avoid the Crows at all cost, and never ever attempt to enter the Nest under the severest penalty. If the Crows ever come down to confront the Hydrans, it is to extract an additional tribute or execute a Hydran for some transgression.
We meet some of Rayna’s fellow villagers, her elderly grandfather who is nearing the end of his broken life, a farmer who has taken an interest in Rayna, and another crawler who enjoys bullying Rayna just to exert his authority. The Hydran village is run by a chief Hydran who is only to able to appease the Crows to maintain his position of authority over the village.
This arrangement has been going on for some time and seems to be nearing the breaking point as far as Rayna feels, although her fellow villagers are too apathetic or fearful to challenge the Crows in any way.
While diving, Rayna saves a young boy from drowning. He turns out to be a member of the lower cast of Crow who has decided that the current society is immoral, based on a lie, and he is going to change it. He shows Rayna some facts that will alter her world and give her the added push to challenge the status quo.
This is a fast-paced story that kept my interest throughout. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a novel written by three people, but the Firm of Bohannon, Peterson, and Thorn did not disappoint me. The characters were well defined and expressed emotions that made sense in the context of the narrative. The dialog seemed a little formal for a village in such dire circumstances, but that’s a small point.
Since this was advertised as the first book in a trilogy I expected a cliffhanger at the end, and we got one. Overall, an appealing story with likable characters and non-stop action. I highly recommend it.