Cover Image: Rubicons

Rubicons

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. A coming-of-age story of sorts, where young people don't know what the future will hold. This is really a catch-all book that hits at different, important themes that readers of the same age would encounter, with entertainment thrown in.

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A Superhero Saga Redefined: Brett Riley's "Rubicons" Takes Flight

Brett Riley's "Rubicons" is a tour de force in the superhero genre, a gripping exploration of identity, camaraderie, and the tumultuous journey from adolescence to adulthood. Described as "Finding themselves. Fighting together. Growing apart," the novel transcends the bounds of typical superhero narratives, injecting depth, complexity, and a rich emotional tapestry into the lives of the captivating characters that populate Quapaw City.

Set against the backdrop of junior year in Quapaw City, Arkansas, "Rubicons" introduces a new and formidable adversary that even the Freaks, our beloved protagonists, cannot easily thwart—adulthood. As the looming specters of college and careers cast shadows over their futures, the Freaks find themselves facing not only the trials of The Team, a shadowy government agency on a mission to save the world from supernatural threats but also a scaly-winged creature that poses a dire threat to the entire town.

What sets "Rubicons" apart is its exploration of the internal conflicts that arise within the Freaks. As they grapple with the uncertainties of their individual paths, new questions emerge. Can this eclectic group of heroes find common ground when their goals diverge? The narrative skillfully delves into the complexities of their relationships, capturing the essence of growth, change, and the inevitable shifts that occur as each character confronts their own Rubicons.

The introduction of The Team adds a layer of intrigue, highlighting the ethical dilemmas faced by those who strive to protect the world. The blurred lines between hero and villain become increasingly apparent, and the narrative excels in presenting a nuanced exploration of morality and the consequences of one's actions.

Riley's writing is dynamic, seamlessly balancing thrilling action sequences with poignant moments of introspection. The characters are vividly drawn, each grappling with their own inner conflicts, making them relatable and endearing to readers. The novel's pacing is expertly crafted, keeping the tension high and the stakes even higher.

"Rubicons" stands as a testament to Brett Riley's storytelling prowess, offering a fresh and thought-provoking take on the superhero genre. It is a journey that transcends the conventions of traditional superhero tales, inviting readers to ponder the complexities of identity, morality, and the ever-shifting landscapes of friendship and allegiance. If you're seeking a superhero novel that delivers not only pulse-pounding action but also a profound exploration of the human experience, "Rubicons" is an absolute must-read.

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I enjoyed the diversity in this book and the overall plot. I think that this leans more ya and I am more of an adult fantasy reader. Some of the sentence structure and the fact that the plot moves at weird paces sometimes annoyed me at times. Overall though this was an enjoyable book and I think many people will enjoy reading it.

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The "Freaks" of Quapaw City, Arkansas are high school juniors now and maybe being adults is scarier than facing monsters from other dimensions. ... Nope, the monsters are still scarier. But other adults ... such as the clandestine government group known as "The Team" ... are, if not scary, a definite threat to the teens trying to save their families, their friends, their town, and the world (in pretty much that order).
The Team knows that there's something strange - extradimensional? supernatural? - going on, and they a pretty sure the Freaks are involved, but they don't quite trust the Freaks and the Freaks don't trust the team, even though they may be on the same side. But with the newest monster entering their dimension being a dragon, it's going to take all their skills, resources, and trust in one another to be successful in battle.

I've been a bit underwhelmed by "The Freaks" books but I thought that there were some nice touches here. The fight with the dragon is well done. It was exciting and dangerous and it definitely had me turning pages to see what would happen next. It was quite thrilling.

But the 'monster' was such a small part of this book. Mostly this was about relationships, and, being a book of the 2020's era, LGBTQ+ relationships are all the rage and author Brett Riley plays right in to the hot topic.

I think, however, that the book tries to do too much. The relationships take up the majority of the novel. This makes a lot of sense ... high school juniors, really starting to become young adults and now facing things, like adults, for the first time. This is very appropriate for a YA novel.

The dragon is a terrific conflict to intersperse with the relationship drama. It's high energy and demands their focus, which of course is hard to do.

But what's up with The Team? Do we really need this side story? It sort of made sense in the first two books, but it feels completely out of place here. This is a complication that detracts from the other two stories and just slows the reading down. At this point it would be hard to just remove them completely, but they didn't add anything to the story.

Looking for a good book? Rubicons by Brett Riley is a YA dark fantasy, the third book in a series, that spends more time with earth-bound, human relationship concerns than it does the extra-dimensional threats.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Sadly this book did not hit the mark for me. I was expecting this amazing story about a group of misfits that get to become heroes but most of the book felt like they just kept reminded themselves how they were not fit and I didn't like that. It made it really hard to get through the book.

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I found this to be interesting exploration of how misfits struggle to find their place in the world . Overall an interesting reading experience.

Thank you for the arc .

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My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)

I absolutely loved the characters and their different journeys. The thoughts they had, how others influenced them, their conversations and interactions with each others. So bloody good!
I almost cried because the one cute and quite innocent one. It was devastating what happened to that character and how the other characters made that happen. My heart broke a little.

The topics this book handled, were amazing and I was really into them. Love that these kind of books are available for younger people!

This was definitely a character heavy book which was done so well, but how the plot was done is what dropped my stars.
Even though this was a part of a series I haven't read, it was easy to read through and understand.
Might have to read the whole series now.

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I've enjoyed how far the main characters have come in this group of what has felt like misfits from the beginning. How each one has progressed and their different opinions when it came and how to feel about the dragon. It ended also on a good note that I feel if the author were to continue of do a spin off about Micah as a continuation because I can see him turning evil with all the stuff that's happened with him. The narrator is on point as usual, I read the book and listened to the audio so when listening to it, it felt like I was transferred into Quapaw City.

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“Rubicons: A Freaks Novel” by Brett Riley presents readers with a mixed reading experience. The novel explores the challenges of young misfits navigating their powers, forming an unlikely team, and confronting villains. However, the execution falls short, particularly in terms of the heavy-handed inclusion of “woke” content and the uneven pacing of the story. The character development of Kenneth stands out as a positive aspect of the book. His journey and growth are portrayed well, capturing the struggle to challenge ingrained beliefs and evolve as a person. The exploration of the daily lives and development of the teenage characters is also commendable, offering relatable experiences and maturation.

Unfortunately, the heavy-handed presentation of the character development detracts from its impact. The incorporation of hot-button topics feels overbearing and takes away from the overall enjoyment of the story. The narrative would have benefited from allowing characters to learn, grow, and change organically without overshadowing the plot. The introduction of a new creature in the story feels random and convenient, serving as a plot device to create conflict within the group. While the inclusion of supernatural elements has been refreshing thus far, this particular addition feels forced and lacks the same depth and creativity seen in previous installments.

Additionally, the revelation that the story will continue beyond this book may disappoint readers who were expecting a more conclusive ending. It becomes evident that this installment serves more as a bridge to the next book, leaving some readers feeling unfulfilled. On a positive note, Brett Riley skillfully weaves layers and messages into the series, addressing heavy topics such as race, racism, bigotry, LGBTQ+ issues, and more. These discussions add depth and complexity to the story and characters, prompting reflection and empathy.

Despite its flaws, “Rubicons: A Freaks Novel” still offers an engaging premise, relatable characters, and a balanced blend of supernatural and realistic elements. The plot maintains a well-paced rhythm, leaving readers intrigued and invested throughout the book. Considering the strengths and weaknesses, “Rubicons: A Freaks Novel” earns a rating of 3 stars. While it falls short in certain areas, it still manages to provide an engaging and thought-provoking reading experience. Fans of the series may find enjoyment in the continuation of the story, but those who were let down by previous installments may choose to discontinue their journey with the Freaks.

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We're back with the freaks and their supernatural powers fighting more of today's cultural problems, secret agents, and a new threat. It felt a little different this time. There was still some character growth, but the story felt tired and repetitive to me. The audiobook was well done, but the novel just lacked the same level of excitement as the first two books in the series.

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Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My thoughts: There are so many topics tackled in the book! Set in America current times.
Riley tackles all of this in my opinion with a kind of raw grace that is sure to encourage lots of conversation.
A blend of reality and pure fantasy fiction had me immediately submersed in this story, and I seriously couldn’t stop reading.

My Review: Let me just say I am addicted to this series now! I had absolutely no clue when I requested to read this as an ARC that it was actually the third book of the series! But let me tell you! This did not stop me from diving head first and being able to follow the story from page one!
I want to go back to book one and get the whole story, but golly gosh, I am hooked!
Arsis absolutely broke my heart, and the “freaks” are just so loveable, each and every one of them.
There is mention of same-sex couples and non-binary characters which I think was fantastic!!!
A great read for any month, but especially Pride month.
Rubicons is coming to you 1st of August this year, so you still have time to read the first two books

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Unfortunately, this was a major miss for me. The previous installments had their fair share of "woke" content, but the plot and action was solid enough that it still drove the story and kept me invested. This one, however, was basically just one long rant with a little bit of plot thrown in. It was a big letdown, and it ruined my enjoyment of the story. I want a solid story about misfits getting powers, becoming an unlikely team, learning to grow and adapt together, and taking down some villains, not constant, over the top reminders of hot-button topics.

There was solid character development with Kenneth that I appreciated, but the way it was presented and verbalized was way too heavy-handed. Just let characters learn, grow, and change without making it into a huge spectacle. Other characters had interesting developments as well, and the focus on the daily life and development of teens was done well.

The new creature in this one really came out of left field to me, and it seemed like it was used just because it was the most convenient plot point to create a rift within the group and set up a larger, more sinister plan. It was just super random overall, but I guess in terms of supernatural elements, nothing's really been stereotypical up until this point.

I also thought this one would be the last in the series, so finding out that it continues was just meh. This whole story was just a filler bridge to get to the next installment, but I won't be reading the next one after this experience.

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The characters were well developed and dynamic. It is rare to find that in most books. I guess since this is a sequel, it helps the author have a strong grasp on their characters. I loved each of them and the book was a ton of fun.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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There's something about Brett Riley's books - they're *almost* the best, you know what I mean? The plot is interesting, the writing is well done. What is it that is makes the reader lose that important reader-to-book connection? I'm not quite sure. I really want to like these, and maybe I'll try reading again in a few years.

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Riley has done it again, Rubicons by Brett Riley is book three in the Freaks Saga and what a fun story this was.

Freaks and Travelers we're both great books and it was no different with his newest one.
An interesting and honestly fun take on the superhero story.
I was pulled in almost immediately and once I sarted I couldn't stop. The pages just flew by.
It was awesome being back in Quapaw City, Arkansas and I had the best time with The Team again.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank you to NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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4/5 stars! The cover of this book was great and raised my interest in reading it. I found the story to be entertaining, with depths of layers and intrigue. It was a lovely addition to the series and I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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This is the third installment of the Freaks series and if you haven't picked the previous books up yet, what are you waiting for?

These books are getting better with each installment. All of the main characters are given so much time to shine and we get to see all sides of their personalities. Kenneth's journey in this book was amazing to read. He's really trying to grow as a person and it was written so well. He hasn't just woken up a new person one morning, you can see him struggle with the lessons he was taught and how he is starting to challenge them. All of the characters are growing and maturing and it happens naturally. We get to see their growth (and their mistakes) as we follow along this story. All of the characters are simultaneously going through the same experiences and radically different ones at the same time. They're dealing with everyday teenager struggles, on top of all the chaos brought on by being secret, teenaged superheroes.

Brett has masterfully created a story with so many layers and messages that these books almost demand to be re-read to try and pick up on subtle messages you may have missed out on the first time around.

All the books in this series deal with heavy topics, especially Rubicons. There is discussions of race and racism, bigotry, LGBTQ+, family, friends, growing up, mental health, an so much more. But it is not overwhelming and it only adds so much more depth to the story and the characters.

This is a fantastic series and I have high expectations for where the story is going to go next.

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Brett Riley has done it again. Excellent story , and I'm looking forward to the next in this series. I love how he combines mythology and current social issues into a pageturner. Thank you for the privilege .

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Although it is possible to read this book as a standalone, it's very clear that to be a part of this gang, it does help to at least know of the history. They are all "freaks", with special powers of some sort and being hunted, when you actually get to know the individuals you can see that each has something different and special to offer and together they make one unit. If reluctantly on a few parts. At a time when they are growing up, developing and maturing, they may face the toughest test of all, finding themselves and figuring out what direction their lives will take. A compelling story that leads you on a journey of discovery and their most dangerous foe yet.

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This is the third installment to the Freaks Trilogy, in which the characters are experiencing another wild adventure to which they are to save the town, this time from a fire breathing dragon. The characters are more developed, and while the plot does seem fast-paced, if you can keep up, you’ll enjoy this book.

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