3 out of 4 stars
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Young Aran ran away from her horrifying home life to live out on the streets. Three thugs corner her in a dark alley and she pulls her knife from her pocket. A fourth man shows up in the alley. A man who is there to help her, even though she was ready to take on all four men. Once Aran and the mysterious man finish off the thugs, he offers her a place to stay, and changes her life forever.
Tribal Justice Book One: A Place for Aran is an introduction to the Arothe Tribe and the fascinating system that they and the other tribes use to live. After Aran is rescued, Bry’n offers her a safe haven, which she happily accepts, and they go into quarantine. The two live together in Bry’n’s apartment in the city as they acclimate to each other and Bry’n teaches Aran the intriguing ways of the tribe. Aran has much difficulty learning structure, though she strives to, and is gradually adapting to loving hugs. Bry’n learns what it must have been like to raise a demanding youngster like himself, in addition to the fact that Aran is a girl.
While Bry’n is in quarantine, the Arothe House is busy as always. They are a mostly self-sufficient tribe who must work together to provide for all the needs of the tribe. They are a loving, but strict group who believe in teaching the importance of working together for the better of the tribe, which very much includes the love and respect of being a family. Bry’n and Aran get many visits from some of the tribal members, one of which is M’Ket, Bry’n’s father figure, who is also a Techie. They discover that Aran shares their gift and brings her a special Techie game where she can interface with nanites; nanites that literally tempt her to play and get her into trouble.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. L. B. Walkinshaw does an excellent job introducing you to the tribes and describing, in detail, the systems they use to keep their needs met. The physical set-ups and the family-like emotional structure provide a steep contrast to the violent gangs that live near the tribes. The characters and the tribes have interesting backgrounds that come together like pieces of a puzzle at the end of the book. I only found two errors in this book, so it appears to be professionally edited.
I enjoyed reading about the characters and watching them grow and change throughout the story. Aran starts out in a home with a violent brother and ends up in a loving home. You get to see her become accustomed to her new life and struggle through her problems. This is often compared to Bry’n’s past in order to help her get through. He does everything he can do to help her with her demons, but doesn’t let her get away with anything either. As you slowly begin to meet all of the tribal members, the colorful cast emerges and you can begin to see why they all thrive together so well.
To contrast the happy Arothe House, there is an aggressive gang that lives close to the city where Bry’n lives. They cause may problems for Bry’n, the Arothes, and the other tribes, and Bry’n sees it all too often. It is not a utopian society, they work and fight for their happy home, and it makes the story that much more real. Many children, like Aran, were rescued from this ugly part of the city, and you can see how much these children appreciate what they now have. Bry’n’s protectiveness over Aran and the Arothes made him my favorite character. There is nothing he wouldn’t do to keep his people safe.
My only issue with this book is that it got to be too graphic for me towards the end. I felt that this detracted from the story because I felt that the point the author was trying to make had already been effectively made, but the details just got more gruesome. I had thoroughly enjoyed the whole book until I had to put it down, briefly, because it went a little over the top.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about rescued runaways, self-sufficient communities, and a little bit of magic. This book contains sexual conduct and grotesque scenes, so I would not recommend it for young readers.
Tribal Justice Book 1: A Place for Aran
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