5* Review: Outland – Kristin Keppler and Allisa Bahney

Book 2 in The Badlands

Breaking out of the gates at a hell for leather pace, Outland is an action packed, full throttle sequel to the authors’ debut novel, Wasteland.

As the plot thickens and tensions rise in both the Resistance and the NAF, lines are drawn and irrevocable choices are made. The battle for control of the Badlands continues to rage, and Dani and Kate must rely on the fledgling trust between them, if they are to find common ground and achieve the seemingly unachievable. But to trust each other, however incompletely, is to question where their loyalties really lie and whether the ’cause’, or each other takes priority.

I found that I enjoyed Outland significantly more than book one in the series; in so much as being the second book and therefore a continuation of the story, I felt I really knew the characters and because the story picks up exactly where book one finished, the action and depth flows from the outset.

Where as book one focuses a little more on Dani’s back story, I was pleased to find that Outland delves deeper into Kate’s history, in particular, the strained if not none-existent relationship she has with her mother, General Judy Turner. The authors do a great job at portraying Kate’s turmoil as she tries to align her morals with her actions, and her anguish as she considers that to align the two may ultimately mean betraying both her family, and the ’cause’; leaving everything she’s ever known behind could prove to be the point of no return.

When it comes to Dani, the authors let us glimpse the buried side of her personality, the one filled with rage and rash decisions. As she fights to keep a level head, her return to the Resistance is not quite as she expected; Dani’s been out of the game a long time and the people she once idolised and held in high esteem are no longer who she thought they were.

“Sometimes, someone can appear suddenly, and you know in an instant that your soul has known them in every lifetime before this one. And sometimes, you can know someone your entire life, and in a single moment, realise you never really knew them at all.”

Outland, Kristin Keppler and Allisa Bahney

This time around, the focus is on the intricate relationships between the Badlands many inhabitants, from enemies across the line, to friends, lovers and familial ties, the authors explore the stresses, joys and struggles of living, loving and fighting in a dystopian world. As the plot progresses and each side continues to up the ante, both Dani and Kate are forced to explore their inner turmoil over their thoughts and feelings not only for each other, but their comrades and their ’cause’; tough decisions are made resulting in ramifications no one could have foreseen.
As Outland draws to a dramatic close, the authors leave no doubt that this is just the beginning of the ultimate war between the Resistance and the NAF, and with emotions already running high, book three is sure to begin with a bang!

I received an ARC of this book from Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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