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The Rebel: A San Angeles Novel

Publisher: DAW Books, Inc.

Ever the reluctant, yet capable hero, Kris has had a very dangerous and exciting life so far. In the first two books in the San Angeles Trilogy, we see Kris go from a street-smart bike courier to anti-corporation corporate agent, but after the events at the end of the second book, Kris finds herself in league with insurgents, who are anti-corporation, but who are also poorly organized and not very efficient.

In Gerald Brandt's final installation of the San Angeles series, The Rebel, Kris has other things to worry about, as well. She's trying to deal with the loss of Ian, keeping her promise to find Doctor Searl's son, Bryce, and trying to figure out how to manage her pregnancy in the poverty-stricken areas of a mega-city in a dystopic future run by corporations at war with each other. Worse yet, as the insurgents strive to become more efficient and organized, they seem to be taking on the traits of the very corporations they seek to overthrow, as all of the poor, unfortunate souls in the lower levels of the mega-city have little to no water (since the insurgents attacked the water supply pipeline) and not enough food to go around, making the already poverty-stricken lower levels even more desperate.

For those following the series, the Ballard/Merrill name thing is addressed in The Rebel and, while it sticks out prominently in the story, I feel that's more because it wasn't acknowledged at all, previously. At any rate, it's not ignored or swept under the rug, so there's that, at least. Also, those following the series will be familiar with Janice, the IBC/ACE agent who took her last mission to kill Kris to heart and now throws herself into that work as a personal vendetta. Well, Janice is back at it and will do whatever she can to finally finish that mission.

The pace is good, with a good bit of action, (despite the fact that Kris is now rebelling for two), and psychological drama, which is to be expected with everything Kris, Pat, and Kai have been through up to this point, leading up to a climactic crescendo near the end. However, the very end of the book is more about reflection. I understand the desire of both the author and the reader to wrap up the trilogy with some sort of look toward the future, since we won't get any further updates, but after a trilogy with so much violence and so many explosions, I think I would have preferred more of an open-ended conclusion, with the hero walking toward the camera as everything explodes in the background or simply walking slowly off into the distance.

If you're interested in the San Angeles series, I highly recommend it, but I recommend reading it from the beginning, starting with The Courier, as intended. While I wasn't thrilled over the very end of The Rebel, it certainly didn't ruin the story and it doesn't detract from the previous books in the series. It may simply be that I want to see what happens to Kris next and that any ending to the series would have been a bit disappointing to me.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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