Defiant by Mara Li


byMara Li, Jen Minkman, Lis Lucassen

Kobo ebook | March 26, 2015

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What can you do when your whole life turns out to be based on lies? When the society you live in isn’t as good and grand as people want you to believe? For Emma, Leia, and Justa, there is only one way to survive – by being defiant.

Three young adult authors from the Netherlands (Mara Li, Jen Minkman, and Lis Lucassen) use their storytelling talents to explore worlds where nothing is as it seems and no one is truly safe.


The Red Messenger

Some things are better left unsaid – or unquestioned.

When Emma Petrova finds a mysterious note in the pocket of a coat that once belonged to her twin sister Sophia, the words written on it won’t leave her alone: “The Angel has come”. But angels are a part of forbidden folklore, remnants of the old Jewish religion that was banned by the all-powerful Realm long ago. Sophia had secrets she never shared with Emma, and those secrets demand to be unraveled. Now, Emma’s quest will change her world forever.


The Island

Leia lives on the Island, where children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are only ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. No one wants to – because the Fools living in the west, behind the wall, are deluded and believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.

But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?


The Tribunal

When Justa is summoned for jury duty in the Tribunal, she is sure of one thing: she needs to stick to the rules in order to get her best friend’s murderer convicted. In her society, jurisdiction is infallible. The choice ahead of her seems clear – but soon, Justa is forced to choose between justice and lies, between knowledge and trust. Will she use her head over her heart, or will Aron, the accused who dares to look at her with such disdain in his eyes, change her world for good?


The Readers’ Favorite review service awarded ‘The Island’ 5 stars in 2014!

Title:DefiantFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 26, 2015Publisher:Storm PublishersLanguage:English

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Job ! It was a pretty good book actually.. I personally never read short stories but it was truly a great experience. The stories were very well written, beautiful and ...simply perfect. No unnecessary sentences, no lengthy descriptions, perfect amount of emotions and events taking place. I would rate all three stories individually with a perfect 5 stars :) It is the first time i read a book by Mara Li and Lis Lucassen. Both the stories by these authors were very interesting. I have read Jen Minkman before. And i would really appreciate the efforts of Author Jen Minkman who translated these beautiful stories in English and provided us to read :) I really like this author for her writing skills and now for this new translation skill is like an extra gem in her :) Great efforts by Jen Minkman
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'm impressed! The dystopian stories in this volume are set in a future in which life is dominated by rules and restrictions. The main characters have had enough of this and do what the title suggests: they revolt. This book was created through a writing contest by Storm Publishers, the publishing house which also published one of my stories ‘Droomliefde’. Because of that, I know the writers personally, but I tried to let it not influence my opinion on the stories. 'The Red Messenger' by Mara Li should have been an entire book, if you ask me. The story about a world in which World War II ended different, with all the consequences, was so well put together that I was sorry when it was off. A girl loses her twin sister and goes out to investigate. She ends up with the resistance, with a perilous adventure as a result. There was a constant menace, exactly that what makes a dystopian story good. In 'The Island' by Jen Minkman people follow rules which they do not even know who ever invented them, but they do not know better. Children are leaving the house when they become ten years old. When people actually get a chance to take a look at "The Book" and there is contact with the people on the other side of the mysterious Wall, the Islanders begin to understand something of their history. A bizarre plot twist follows, but the story remained very credible because it is so well constructed. ‘The tribunal’ by Lis Lucassen was strict, cold and ominous. In the sector of society everything is controlled to perfection. If Justa has to appear for the Tribunal to judge in a court case, she has difficulty putting her personal feelings aside. With the murderer of her best friend in front of her, it’s impossible to remain objective. Eventually things change completely and her whole world is upside down. This book did not fail to fascinate me until the very end, every story was exciting in its own way. Although I am not very familiar with this genre, I absolutely liked this book. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2015-03-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3.5 stars 3.5 stars Happy Release Day! This is one book, filled with three short stories. One of these short stories just happens to be one of my favourite short novels. So I may be just a *tad* bias towards the second novella story ¯\_(ツ)_-¯ The Red Messenger: 2 stars Now now, settle petal. I didn't like this first novella much. The storyline wasn't actually bad. It was extremely well written, and I did enjoy the parts I could concentrate on, but I found myself skipping full paragraphs, and getting distracted. The story wasn't long enough for me to be able to connect with Emma, which was a downer. She has potential. The story was a race sprint to the finish line. It was plot point after plot point, and then an abrupt finish. It was hard for me to keep up, and I needed to go back a couple of pages to understand what I had just read. The Island: 4 stars Another home run by Jen Minkman. I have read a few pieces by Minkman, and she continues to impress me. There was just so much going on, I got lost in the story, and then it ended all too soon. I want more... Hopefully *fingers crossed* we will get more in the near future! I am a sucker for Star Wars, and the references were too much to handle! My house keys even have C3PO and R2-D2 on it...! Leia (the heroine) and her brother Colin, moved out of home at 10 years old, as that was the cultural belief of the town. Although the pacing issue came up again in this story, it was a much more enjoyable read. The Tribunal: 4 stars The fire between Justa and Aron and all of the plot twists just kept the pages turning. I didn't want this to end, and I still wanted more. I honestly don't have much to say, other than I didn't like the ending. The story was fantastic, but the ending ruined the chance of a five star worthy rating. Other than that, I have absolutely no complaints! It can be fairly hard to review short stories sometimes, because they can be completely different, and one can ruin it for the book as a whole. Each unique story was a different experience to read, and although I wasn't particularly a fan of certain aspects of the novellas, I enjoyed reading them. I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Release date: March 26 2015
Date published: 2015-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 3 great stories 3 stories, all show escape from corrupt authority in dystopian worlds. All stories are similar in the fact there are the privileged and the ghetto dwellers-fools and Stateless. Society leads the privileged to believe that the other side a are wild lawless and low class. Truth be known they are free from dictatorship. The first story, would be the only exception to this. The red messenger, shows of uprising and rebellion against the privileged. The island, can you imagine a world where you are forced to become an adult and leave your parents at age 10? A very story that very much shows a cult like existence. The Star Wars references are fantastic, especially since our family are very much 'geeks' The tribunal, a corrupt society where the stateless are considered guilty for simply breeching the wall. First time on the tribunal teaches Justa much more about her past than she expects and that the Stateless are not all what she has been lead to believe. 3 great stories. Thanks for the opportunity.
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent collection! It is always difficult to review a collection of short stories: usually some are better than others, but after all you are reviewing them all together. So the final result is the media of all of them. Not this time: the subject of all of them is very similar, but treated in a different manner. Each story has its own unique style. How is the dystopian society of each? Without any doubt discovering the truth of how it really functions is disappointing for their characters! Some spoilers ahead!!! RED MESSANGER by Mara Li Mara Li explores the results of alternative history. What would have happened if Nazis won the war? The world separated by a huge wall, Siberian camps, people disappearing without any trace. If I had to complain about something it would be the lack of psychological depth: some of the characters were to easy to convince to act, to trusting. I seriously doubt that in a society where you don't know who is an enemy and who is a friend, that would be much more difficult to achieve. THE ISLAND by Jen Minkman An isolated society divided into two groups that don't want to have nothing in common with each other. Children fighting to survive away from their parents. A mysterious history that lead to these strange habits. What really happened in past? What do the Book and the Force really mean? One could not be more surprised by finding first the bases of the strange religion they live by and then finding the REAL reasons for it. I definitely want to know what happens next! THE TRIBUNAL by Lis Lucassen In a perfect society there are only perfect citizens: blond, tall with blue or green eyes. There is no room for anyone different. The gates separate the sectors from the Stateless. And the Tribunal takes care of maintaining the order. Or... does it? Justa is about to discover how far her world is from being perfect. When the time comes, will she know what to choose? I couldn't be more impressed. All the stories fit in together perfectly. The reader feels the stress of the main characters, their desperation, their hope. The authors paint pictures of dystopian world that we can only pray never to experience!
Date published: 2015-03-26