Elements of Rebellion is an intense, riveting tale with disturbing content many readers may find offsetting. It contains graphic violence and strong sexual content with scenes of abuse that made me wince more than once. I typically prefer lighter fare but this is not your typical novel. This is an outstanding novel that will leave your emotions ricocheting like a stray bullet.
Set in a futuristic world, Elements of Rebellion introduces two wounded souls, each taking a different path toward survival after the Dominion savagely overtakes the gentle Eldari people.
Sindari is captured, enslaved and thrust into a cruel existence by the Domini armies. Taken to a brothel, she is regularly beaten and abused for the enjoyment of sadistic men, forced to wear a dog collar and leash, punished for making eye contact, and traded freely for favors. Through all of this, Sindari refuses to be broken, nourishing her rebellious spirit in quiet moments, using it as strength during times of unspeakable atrocities. When her master decides she is too old and difficult to keep, he sends her to a slave market where she will be sold to the highest bidder. Because of her rebellious reputation, Sindari knows her future is bleak.
Lord Devin is an enforcer for the Domini – a man who strikes fear in the heart of warriors because of his cruel, barbaric ways. As soon as he sees Sindari, he wants her, bidding well over the market price. He immediately has her branded with a “D”, marking her as his property, not caring that she collapses in pain from the searing metal stamp.
But to Sindari’s surprise, he does not seek sexual favors. As they travel across the land to his next post, she begins to see a different side of Devin. He allows her freedom, choices and encourages conversation, even offering her the opportunity to escape. He tells her “Lord Devin” is a character he plays to survive within the ranks when they are in public, and if she stays with him, he will be forced to hurt her. He must maintain the persona.
Sindari refuses to leave. She’s endured horrors from men without honor and she can do it again, knowing Devin will once again become the man she trusts and cares for as soon as they are alone. Watching Sindari and Devin’s relationship develop is like peeling away the layers of an onion, so be prepared for a few tears – but this is what makes the graphic violence bearable. Ms. Moore acts as a puppeteer, manipulating reader’s emotions by taking us to great heights and dropping us to devastating lows.
Sindari and Devin must continue their masquerade at whatever cost to defeat the Dominion Emperor, learning some surprising truths about each other along the way. I’m not sure I’ve ever endured a “black moment” as dark as the one in Elements of Rebellion but by the time I reached the light at the end of the tunnel, it burned brighter because of it.
This is an enduring book. One that will haunt you long after the last page is read.
Elements of Rebellion