What if your one chance to change the world means you have to leave everything you love behind? In the not-too-distant future, math genius Doro Campbell is introduced to the Seneca Society: a secretive, technologically-advanced subterranean utopia dedicated to inventing and perfecting the most effective ways to benefit our planet. But there’s a hitch. Like all that have come before her, Doro is given the ultimatum: Stay in Seneca forever, or leave now with no memory of the place, its goals, and its inhabitants. She stays. Her ideals are shattered when, together with biotechnology whiz, Dominic Ambrosia, Doro uncovers profound deceptions beneath the surface of this all too-perfect community. Will one teenage girl have what it takes to go up against swarms of drones, psychological manipulation and biological attacks, to uncover the truth and change the trajectory of the world?
An Excellent Edition to the Sci-Fi Genre
What I Loved:
SENECA REBEL by Rayya Deeb is a fast paced futuristic sci-fi read that will have you on the edge of your seats from start to finish. SENECA REBEL starts with a bang and doesn’t let up until the very last page where the cliffhanger will leave you begging for more.
We first meet Dorothy “Doro” Campbell on her way to be introduced to Seneca- an underground society built to house exceptionally gifted individuals in various fields who live and work together to help build a better future. Easily Deeb’s strongest work is in her world building. Every detail of Seneca is written in perfect detail with strong visual descriptors. Seneca feels like it could be a real place.
Doro is a fantastic narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold through her eyes. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time. She’s smart but also has a tendency to make decisions without all the information. She’s a kind and loyal friend to the few friends she’s willing to let in.
The action in the novel moves at break-neck speed and there’s very little downtime between major events. This kept me turning pages because I just had to know what happened next.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Doro is immediately smitten with a boy named Dominic “Dom.” Their relationship felt a little one sided to me and I would have appreciated more interaction between Doro and Dom in dialogue. Most of what we learned about Dom comes from Doro’s internal dialogue when she catalogues how great he is but I wanted to hear straight from him more often about what he was thinking and feeling- not just about Doro but also about the events happening to and around him.
Seneca Rebel is a fantastic addition to the science fiction genre with its own unique additions. The plot twists and turns in exciting ways that make it impossible to put down. It’s vivid descriptions of the world of Seneca will pull you deeper into the story and leave you wanting more. Highly recommend for fans of the science fictions genre and a great introductory read for those who are not.
Sci-Fi Done Right
Seneca Rebel by Rayya Deeb is one of those rare books where all the elements come together to form a work of near perfection. It is a futuristic sci-fi look at what the United States of America could ultimately become. Certainly, this story will be compared to other series that have been successful in this genre recently, such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner; yet, not only can Seneca Rebel hold its own in comparison, it also has so much original material to offer.
Unlike the others, an apocalyptic event has not caused society to break down and build back up in a convoluted way. Sure, the state of the environment, economy, education, and transportation are not ideal, but the America in Seneca Rebel is not unfamiliar. What instead is remarkable is the existence of an underground society, Seneca, located on the east coast outside of Washington D.C., where exceptionally gifted individuals in all fields are invited to come and improve the future.
The author does a great job at world building here. I genuinely feel as though I can picture all of Seneca, exactly the way she describes it. This makes the book much more thrilling and exciting since I can create a visual reference in my mind. Also, the characters are wonderfully complex and seem to function in a believable way in this world. For instance, Doro is a brilliant mathematician and tech expert. However, she can also be sullen, delinquent, and challenging, qualities that both hurt and help her in the long run. Reba, Doro’s friend, is an upbeat, positive, and incredibly lovable character, but he has old scars from being bullied and abandoned, which in turn makes him fiercely loyal. Blue Combat Boots, or Dom, is introduced in such a fun and wonderful way, but he too is presented as complicated from the onset. As a result, it is easy to want to know more and more about these people.
The only criticism I have for this particular book is that sometimes the end of the chapters feel a little clipped, as if they finish too abruptly. A few more sentences regarding what is happening in that moment would have just rounded it out better, allowing the meaning to truly land on the audience. The way it is written now, I am already onto the next plot point before I can care about what has just transpired. However, with that being said, this particular style keeps the book moving at a fast pace and in essence, mimics what Doro is facing, never having the chance to grasp what is going on before something new is thrown her way.
Overall, Seneca Rebel is an incredibly addicting story that is nearly impossible to put down. It will have readers gasping in shock, shouting in frustration, and swooning over the romantic bits. This book is certainly a must read that will delight and surprise those who are familiar with the sci-fi genre and even those who are not.