Outcasts / by Jill Williamson. (The Safe Lands, 2) 1.28.2014

Zondervan ISBN 978-031072424-7
HS Grades 9-12 Rating: 5
Pre-publication copy reviewed

Award-winning author Jill Williamson returns with Outcasts, the second book in The Safe Lands series, picking up where Captives left off. The three teen brothers make decisions how they will live in a land that is not their own, one where pleasure is valued more than human life, a land that makes it difficult to stay true to their faith in the face of so many temptations.

In Outcasts, three brothers grow up and try to adjust to the mantle of leadership thrust upon them following the death of their elders as the villagers were captured. Each one makes a decision that affects the other captives. Omar becomes a vigilante to compensate for his earlier betrayal of his people, Mason works to find a cure for the disease afflicting native residents of the Safe Lands, and Levi focuses on a way to free the remaining captives from their homeland. Relationships are affected by choices made by each brother. Will their actions lead to their death?

Williamson, a gifted storyteller, does a remarkable job in creating a believable futuristic world where believers are endangered and life without God is empty. A rich narrative, both plot and character-driven, Outcasts manages to avoid the second-book pitfalls; it is more than a bridge between book 1 and book 3. Captives lays the groundwork for Outcasts, but Outcasts is the better book, and Williamson is to be congratulated on creating a page-turner and making the reader eager for the final installment.

Recommended for school and public libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer, worthy2read.wordpress.com

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