Rebellion (Chronicles of Charanthe #1)

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When her dreams are smashed by an assignment which would leave her trapped in a job far beneath her abilities, Eleanor has nowhere to turn. The Imperial system prides itself on unassailable perfection. In desperation she rejects her assignment and the quality of life she would have been guaranteed - and finds her imagination captured by legends which tell of a secret society of elite assassins.

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Published: Oct. 10, 2010
Words: 142,910
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452385006
About Rachel Cotterill

Rachel lives with her husband in the English Cotswolds. When she isn't writing, she likes to gather inspiration by seeking out life's little adventures: getting lost in as many countries as possible, collecting skills the way others collect stamps, and generally marvelling at the variety the world has to offer.

Also in Chronicles of Charanthe

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Hock G. Tjoa on June 30, 2012 : (no rating)
The writing is good, the characters are well drawn, and the scenes are amazing. Much of the book has to do with the training of assassins and the fight scenes of their (individual and small group) exercises and competitions are as well drawn as any I have read.

But I don't know that Rebellion is the right title even if this is the first in a series. There is a minor scene with some "rebels" mentioned, but mostly we learn that Charanthe, the Empire, is threatened by Tarasanka. One has a lot of rules and seems to believe that its individual citizens must be controlled and manipulated. The other has an "anything goes" approach to governance but includes much thieving and torture. What seems to be the point is that there is mayhem in both societies but it is methodical in Charanthe; I suspect that this is not the author's intention.

Given such over-arching choices, Ellie's sense of aggrievement at the lack of respect she gets as a woman seems to exist in a totally unrelated universe.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Thomas Cotterill on April 20, 2012 : star star star star
Let me make two things clear up front: First, in spite of the shared surname I am not related to Rachel Cotterill. This is not a family-member review. I was attracted to her book by the novelty of seeing my own (rare here in Canada) name on a published novel. Second, don’t let this book’s horrible cover put you off. Yes, I know it looks like some dreary leftist literary novel about Hispanic poverty in the American South-West, but the book is actually a lively fantasy adventure with a mythical setting, an interesting female main character (named simply Eleanor), and a strong martial-arts theme.

Much of the novel’s action – and there’s plenty of it - takes place at what might best be described as a Hogwarts for assassins. These assassins are like medieval knife-wielding poison-toting secret agents who go out on dangerous missions in defence of a shadowy Empire which straddles a forested archipelago. Robin Hobbs’ Assassin’s Apprentice comes to mind. If you liked Hobbs’ book you’ll probably enjoy Rebellion as well. The novel’s pace is fast and fight scenes are abundant. The knife fights are especially good, as are the tense climbing episodes where Eleanor – never short on endurance and courage - scales prison towers or castle walls with only the scantiest of toe and finger holds. Weaponry includes throwing stars and these add a pleasing ninja touch to the young assassins. There are imaginative puzzles to be solved, unusual competitions to be won, occasional glances at Eleanor’s ambiguous feelings towards a young man, and for good measure, some deep-seated grudges among the students which mean scores to be settled. These elements provide more than enough variety to guarantee a good read.

The novel does have some shortcomings. The plot is so vaguely presented that, at times, I had trouble understanding what was going on – or why it was going on. In the early chapters Cotterill seems too focussed on showing us how her main characters try to avoid offending one another - the result of long exposure to political correctness, no doubt – but she does get over this. Then it’s on to flogging the tired old feminist horse. (It is an unceasing wonder to me that the poor beast has yet to expire!) At one point the story dwells somewhat morbidly, but not unrealistically, on torture and being cut. This seems needlessly extended at the time, but turns out to be important in shaping Eleanor’s character and affecting her responses to critical situations later on. There are exceptions, but Cotterill’s depiction of minor characters exhibits an odd juxtaposing of those who are wantonly cruel and those who are ridiculously obliging. What seaside inn-keeper, to choose one incident, would loan his boat to a total stranger, for an indefinite period of time, without asking for some sort of deposit or surety? What is needed is the more typically human – and far more interesting - mix of virtue and vice. People are more often motivated by the realities of basic self-interest (money, sex, prestige) than by the desire to be unspeakably cruel or super nice. Nowhere is this more evident than in simple societies such as those depicted in Rebellion.

Some might question the novel’s implied morality. Eleanor’s values range from astonishingly shallow to questionable in the extreme. The young woman unswervingly assumes that personal need justifies stealing so long as you the keep the thefts small and spread them around (with the occasional grand theft when things get really bad). It seldom occurs to her that she might barter or offer to work for what she wants. I was amused when Eleanor makes a point of conscientiously paying the bill at an inn – with money she has just stolen by the fistful from a jewellery merchant in the marketplace. Why not simply stiff the innkeeper? Presumably, in Eleanor’s eyes, said innkeeper was a nice obliging fellow of modest means while the prosperous merchant was – well – a nasty grasping greedy capitalist oinker; a veritable corporatist in the bud. Perhaps; but on the other hand he just might be an honest lover of beautiful, and beautifully-crafted, things who, through hard work and ingenuity, has found a way to earn his living from the very objects he so admires.

Other problems include poor handling of time and distance. I was startled to discover that Eleanor’s attempts to find her way to the assassin’s school had taken up an entire year, and at one point she seems to consider recovering some stored possessions in a quick visit to a cave which is actually many days travel away. These minor quibbles and the plot difficulties alluded to earlier could have been solved with a little more authorial narrative aimed at clarifying situations and knitting together story elements into a more cohesive whole.

No work of fiction is perfect. This novel’s flaws impede neither the story’s strong forward momentum nor its ability to sustain the reader’s interest. As they should in a good adventure novel, things start happening right away and they keep on happening. Whether on land or at sea, in foreign parts or at home in the Empire, the story laid out in this engrossing novel is often exciting and never boring. The writing is sound with none of the horrendous spelling, grammar, and English usage gaffs so prevalent in indie novels. Cotterill has real talent. Reading Rebellion will get you in on the ground floor with a young writer who has the potential to become a major player in the fantasy genre.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: LindyLouMac on Nov. 11, 2011 : star star star star
Although Fantasy is not a genre I am fond of I was impressed with the writing and the way that Rachel has created a whole fantasy world in this first novel in the trilogy the Chronicles of Charanthe. It is a strange world but through the protagonist Eleanor you will be able to step into this world where children are taken away from their parents at birth to be educated. Upon graduation the students are awarded lifetime job assignments, but Eleanor’s posting is not the dream job she had always hoped for. The job offered to her is one she feels far below her abilities so she decides to reject the offer. This is where her problems begin as suddenly free for the first time in her life, she recalls the legends which tell of a secret society of elite assassins, who live outside the laws of the Empire and who may or may not truly exist. As she seeks out the truth she has many adventures, of which if you are not a fan of this genre may seem incredibly far fetched, as she cheats, steals and kills her way to succeed. I coped as I liked the way the author portrayed her characters and it was a fast paced read. I did however find the descriptions of weaponry, fighting and even torture a little too much at times, but this was a personal issue and other readers probably love all this fast paced action.
If you are a fan of this genre or someone that likes to stretch their comfort reading zone from time to time than I recommend you try the work of this talented young author. I will also admit that I am looking forward to reading Revolution, which is published today 11.11.11, to see how the story progresses and the characters develop.


For more details about the author and her writing please visit LindyLouMac's Book Reviews
http://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/11/rebellion-by-rachel-cotterill.html
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: LindyLouMac on Nov. 11, 2011 : star star star star
Although Fantasy is not a genre I am fond of I was impressed with the writing and the way that Rachel has created a whole fantasy world in this first novel in the trilogy the Chronicles of Charanthe. It is a strange world but through the protagonist Eleanor you will be able to step into this world where children are taken away from their parents at birth to be educated. Upon graduation the students are awarded lifetime job assignments, but Eleanor's posting is not the dream job she had always hoped for. The job offered to her is one she feels far below her abilities so she decides to reject the offer. This is where her problems begin as suddenly free for the first time in her life, she recalls the legends which tell of a secret society of elite assassins, who live outside the laws of the Empire and who may or may not truly exist.

As she seeks out the truth she has many adventures, of which if you are not a fan of this genre may seem incredibly far fetched, as she cheats, steals and kills her way to succeed. I coped as I liked the way the author portrayed her characters and it was a fast paced read. I did however find the descriptions of weaponry, fighting and even torture a little too much at times, but this was a personal issue and other readers probably love all this fast paced action.

If you are a fan of this genre or someone that likes to stretch their comfort reading zone from time to time than I recommend you try the work of this talented young author. I will also admit that I am looking forward to reading Revolution, which is published today 11.11.11, to see how the story progresses and the characters develop.

For more details about the author and her writing please visit LindyLouMac's Book Reviews
http://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/11/rebellion-by-rachel-cotterill.html
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Librach on Feb. 26, 2011 : star star star star star
I'm usually put off by books categorised as fantasy, but I was assured that this book is non-magical so I thought I'd give it a go. I was hooked from the start. The story is gripping and I found myself losing track of time while I was reading. The characters - especially Eleanor - are amazingly true to life but not in any sense dull or ordinary. I can't wait to read the next in the trilogy.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jeanne Estridge on Dec. 29, 2010 : star star star star
When, upon graduation, Eleanor receives a lifetime job assignment that is far below her capabilities, she decides to try to join a fabled team of trained assassins who live outside the laws of the Empire and who may or may not truly exist. As she seeks out the mythic facility where these assassins learn their trade, she encounters new people, new cultures and new adventures that simultaneously put her life at risk and allow her to grow as a person.

She finally locates and breaches the school, only to learn that they've never in their history accepted a female student. Now she has a new task: to convince the school authorities that a girl can do anything a boy can do, even though she may go about it in a different way.

The tale moves along at a spanking pace, with barely time for the reader to catch her breath before Eleanor's next adventure starts.

Can't wait for the next
(reviewed long after purchase)

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