Brutal Justice (Nedé Rising #2)

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter


Brutal Justice (Nedé Rising #2)


Jess Corban



Publication Date:

August 17, 2021




400 pages


Reina Pierce has never questioned her role in the Nedé society. Women are warriors, males must be vaccinated when young in order to become “Gentles,” or else they devolve into “Brutes” that threaten everything peaceful and good. However, her entry into the Succession Competition to become one of the Alexia warriors uncovered some secrets she never expected to find. Now a warrior in training, she discovers that all the things she knows about Gentles and Brutes may be false. Will she have what it takes to reach the truth and act on it? Will the authorities ever let her get close enough to the truth? The cost may be far more than Reina expects.

The prequel book in this series was described as a book that “presents a new twist to the dystopian genre,” and the series seems to be going for the same vibe as The Hunger Games, but with a jungle setting and a vaguely Greco-Roman society (warriors on horseback, archery as the main weapon, etc.). Of course, all Young Adult Dystopian books have a central idea that the society is built around; in this case, the idea matriarchy gone too far, a world where women can’t even recall when men were not slaves or outcasts. The problem is that Young Adult Dystopian novels may not have used these ideas recently, but they are well-worn clichés everywhere else. The “future where the past has been erased and people are shocked to learn things that we take for granted” comes up in the 1968 Planet of the Apes and various other science fiction movies. The idea of a remote, all-female warrior society that enslaves men goes back to the Greek myth of the Amazon warrior women. The idea of an abusive matriarchy trying to figure out “how do we have enough men to reproduce?” has been done in everything from bland 1950s sci-fi films (Queen of Outer Space) to horrendous 80’s exploitation films (The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak).

Since these ideas are so cliché, the author has to really work over-time to make this narrative work. Corban writes well and there are some fun moments and suspense, but there’s nothing clever or unusual about the plot she constructs. This is particularly a problem since the book aims for a “feminism gone wrong” angle to the story. So many post-1970s iterations of this narrative played on that idea, to the point that by the late 1980s it had become a subject of satire. To stand out, this book needs to do something clever or perhaps retro with this narrative. Since it doesn’t, it ends up being a decent but run-of-the-mill adventure story.

An interesting idea that needed more development.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

2 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians who enjoy jungle adventures and dystopian adventure stories.

Christian Impact

The author uses the idea of an abusive matriarchal society to try and create a discussion about male and female complementing each other. This creates some interesting scenes about the bond between parent and child, male and female as both being created by God, and so forth. As noted above, the problem is that it’s become cliché (to the point of being passé) to use this narrative to talk about those ideas, and this book doesn’t bring anything new to that discussion.

A Brutal Justice

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