As author Rachel Hawkins states in her acknowledgments for Lady Renegades, the final book in the Rebel Belle series, she writes books about “Ladies Getting It Done.” That is a theme I can always get behind. It’s also the driving force on what makes the Rebel Belle series so badass and entertaining. With Lady Renegades, Hawkins wraps up Harper Price’s adventure, proving that superhero powers aren’t required when saving the day – but infallible determination and a ton of heart goes a long way.
Lady Renegades picks up a few weeks after Miss Mayhem ends; Harper is trying to move on now that David has left town to deal with his overwhelming Oracle powers by himself. She has a job as a lifeguard, spends time with her eccentric aunts and continues to deal with the awkward feelings she sometimes gets around her best friend Bee and Bee’s boyfriend, Ryan, who also happens to be Harper’s ex-boyfriend. Trying to move on proves fruitless since for one thing, she’s still heartbroken and worried about David, and another thing, a bunch of new Paladins are out to kill Harper. The latter is particularly pressing since it seems like David is unintentionally creating more Paladins – superpowered young women that will protect him and his growing Oracle powers. Eventually, it becomes clear that Harper will need to stop David before he turns full Oracle, meaning he will be completely nuts, powerful and dangerous.
There was a surprising sense of finality to Miss Mayhem that had made me question whether or not there would be another book in the Rebel Belle series. The story didn’t feel over, but Harper seemed very accepting of how things turned out. Lady Renegades begins in a similar fashion, but it’s part of Harper’s character (and charm) to always be in control – calm and collected. I quite liked how Hawkins puts that to the test when Harper finds herself having to “take a backseat” and let someone else steer the wheel for part of her journey. It’s an interesting dynamic to explore with a character like Harper, who I very much admire and respect for her “take charge” attitude.
The Rebel Belle series is a supernatural comedy, something that will appeal to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just imagine Buffy and a bit of Gossip Girl with a southern twist, you can get a good idea of what this series’ tone is like. Plot-wise, it’s interesting even though it’s mostly predictable. I saw the ending of Lady Renegades coming from a mile away. The thing is that I didn’t mind the predictability nor how the way magic works in this world seemed too simplified. The characters, Harper in particular, are so charming and entertaining that you mainly want to spend time with them, whether it’s reading about them kicking ass or complaining about plaid. Harper’s smart, snarky and honest. She’s not really there to be your best friend; she’s there to get things done.
That, in turn, is what makes this series so refreshing. In the onslaught of reluctant heroines in YA literature, Harper is different. She may not be happy that her destiny took an unexpected turn and will definitely have a strong opinion about it, but she will deal with it and make sure she does what she needs to do. There isn’t time for pity parties or needless romantic moments. Although, Harper and David’s relationship is adorable despite being far from simple. The romance never turns Harper into a damsel in distress or changes her priorities; it just shows a new tender side of her.
I can go on and on about how much I love Harper Price as a character, but really, you should just give the Rebel Belle series a try, knowing that it ends on a satisfying note.
Series Rating: 9/10
Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins is now available wherever books are sold.