January 9, 2017

Book Review: Lawless by Tarah Benner

Lawless (Lawless Trilogy Book 1)Lawless by Tarah Benner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seem to be on a streak of reading dystopian novels with strong female leads, but when Amazon recommended yet another one... Naturally, I bought it and couldn't put it down.

Lawless follows Lark, a woman who was on trial for murdering a man who was trying to rape her. Instead of taking her chances with a jury, she takes a plea which allows her to serve her sentence in a prison colony where the inmates work together to support the prison population. Lark is enticed by the promise of living in the open air with no walls or cells holding her in.

But it's still a prison. Lark finds her place in the women's colony hierarchy, but gets into fights trying to protect her friends. She spends most of the book bruised and bloody from one altercation or another.

The book also follows Soren, an inmate in the men's colony. He's found a way to spy on Lark through the fence separating the men and women and starts sending messages to her. When he notices that the number of guards watching the exterior walls keeps dwindling, he decides to use this as his opportunity to escape.

I really loved Lark's character. She's fiercely protective of the people she loves and is a capable woman. Soren seems to be the male version of her: also resourceful and very protective of his group of friends. Their relationship grows slowly over the book, but they had a 'star-crossed lovers' vibe that I wasn't too fond of. Still, I found myself rooting for them through the book.

The story doesn't turn dystopian until the very end, and that part seems a little tacked on. The story could have finished right after they tried to escape, but I understand the author's decision to set up the hook for the next book in the series.

My favorite part was the setting. The prison was carefully thought out and the society formed by the inmates felt authentic. None of the inmates were convicted of violent crimes (except for Lark) and their ability to work together and get along was believable. The author did a lot of research, and it really shows in the dynamic world she's created.

If you're a dystopian lover like me or just want a good read, I highly recommend Lawless. It was a fun read with enough depth to keep me engaged. I'll definitely pick up the next book in the series.

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