A separate story arc of the Thieves series, the first in Outlaw is emotional and intense. The Thieves series already has another story arc, "Hunter" which I really enjoy. Is the Hunter series over? Because now, this new book, it starts a totally new chapter in the Thieves world and it is transitioning to focus on the next generation. The parents must now hand the reins over to the kids. Whilst this could be a standalone, I don't recommend reading this book first. I recommend reading all the books in Thieves series including the Hunter story line prior to reading this one.
In this case, the kids of Zoey and Kelsey are no longer the young preteens. A dozen years have passed. They may be in their early twenties and some barely 18, but they have lived a lifetime of training to survive as the most wanted "criminals" of the supernatural world. With a story summary like this, how could I resist?
With in the first few chapters of this story, whilst I am actively engaged, I'm wondering if perhaps I made a mistake reading this book. Why? Because I am really starting to loathe Zoey. I admired her previously even if she is a bit of a drama queen. However, the way she is behaving in this story makes me want to smack her around a few times. She is incessantly whiny about losing the 12 years of her children's life - the formative years. Since I have never had children, I don't think I can sympathize or empathize with Zoey and her regret. For a character who focused so much on solving the problem, her response threw me off. I understand why Ms. Blake used this plot device. It does also build into what happens near the end of the book, but did it have to go on so long? The amount of emotional damage Zoey visits upon her beloved children is a bit brutal to witness. The fact that she felt righteous the entire time is probably the saddest part. Even realizing that what she wants to do to "fix it" is not the answer, she seems to still kind of miss the point of why her kids are so hurt. It is as if she doesn't understand her behaviour is not really too different than Declan, her brother in law's stance.
Based on how Zoey acts in the first half of the story, I am about a 2 star here and debating if I can go on. Fortunately the kids: Rhys and Lee save the day. I want to see more of Rhys and Lee. Lee does have a special spot in my heart because he is so irreverent and clever. His years apart from his parents and becoming the man he is today were tough, cruel, and yet he thrived and became better. I loved meeting this older Lee who is not perfect; he's more intense and merges his younger playful self into a refined lethal adult. His twin, Rhys is just as delightful. Neither brother receive enough time in this book. Of course, it is called the Rebel Queen so it is really all about Zoey. Hopefully this story arc will switch over quickly to the children's perspective. Because they have grown to become impressive warriors with strong bonds. Just thinking about them makes me want to go re-read passages where they are featured.
I am excited with how this storyline is headed. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. The bonds of family and friends are highlighted so well and thrills me. Relationship building is always one of the biggest selling points by Ms. Blake for me. Her stories create amazing characters who are three dimensional and create such amazing strong friendships through all their adversity. Love it! This paranormal novel is recommended to readers who root for the underdog and yearn for the love of a parent.