The Safe Lands series by Jill Williamson

Reviewed by Mary A. Hake, Wagner Community Library

This dystopian trilogy transports readers to 2088 America, where much destruction has devastated the earth and many people suffer from a plague. Citizens ensconced within the area known as the Safe Lands cannot bear unaffected offspring. In fact, their reproduction and child-rearing methods are not what we’d call “family friendly.” The people there pursue pleasure before being “liberated.”

Their only hope is to bring in outsiders who are uninfected. Brothers Levi, Mason, and Omar each play a major role in the story but are often antagonistic to each other. Schemes, betrayal, kidnapping, murder, and advanced technology add drama. Can those imprisoned be rescued or do they even want to return to their simple, old-fashioned lifestyle?

In the second novel, the women from Glenrock have escaped from the harem, including sixteen-year-old Shaylinn, who is expecting twins from the implant procedure.

Mason, Omar, and Levi strive to help their community and plan to free the children who are being held as the “future” of Safe Lands. Mason has discovered something strange going on in the medical treatment for the plague, for which he hopes to find a cure, and tries to uncover hidden history and suspicious agendas in this supposedly “safe” land. Omar can’t overcome his addiction to stimulants, which could compromise his ability to effectively complete his mission. Levi struggles to find his way as leader and in relating to his brothers.

Romantic threads play a role in the unfolding story too. Red wants Omar, but he’s growing tired of her demands. Shaylinn wonders if she and Omar could ever work as a couple, but he now has the plague. Kendall, the former “queen” who recently birthed baby Promise, also competes for Omar’s attention. Mason and Ciddah, his supervisor, are attracted to each other, but this relationship might prove dangerous. Who can be trusted?

Award-winning author Jill Williamson leaves us majorly hanging at the end of the first two books, Captives and Outcasts. The third one, Rebels, released in August, so readers can now devour the entire series without having to wait while yelling at the author for the cliffhanger endings. In the concluding volume, the scattered remnant fights to survive and overthrow the “safe” government. Will this rebellion mean their deaths or the end of the “safe” way of life?

This series is from Blink and available in print and e-book.