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Rebels of the Heavey Kingdom by Katherine Paterson [book review]

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Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom by Katherine Paterson

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My rating: 4.5 stars because I loved this book and it was a well written plot, but there was one inappropriate paragraph at the end that totally shocked me (not a Paterson thing I thought). Because of that and much violence in the book I'd say this book is only appropriate for readers 16+. Even then use caution.

Genre: Historical fiction, Taiping war, religious, political,

Newbery Medal author Paterson presents the story of Wang Lee, the young son of starving peasants in 1850's China. Seized by bandits and carried away from home during the Taiping Rebellion, Wang Lee meets Mai Lin when members of her undercover society save him from his captors.

Carried away by bandits, Wang Lee is rescued by the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace and he joins the group's leader, Mai Lin, in the battle against betrayal, oppression, and tyranny. Reprint. AB. PW.

My review and thoughts:

I couldn't find many good reviews on this book, so I used two up above. 

This book was a mixed up one for me, so my review and thoughts will be one.
After I was half way through this I realized that most of the important characters were real and that the main plot was a true historical time ( the main characters were fictional ).
Wang Lee expects nothing more than his hard life. An only son like him has no time nor chance for an education. His life is lead for the purpose of not starving.
But that all changes when he is kidnapped then sold - to a soldier of the Heavenly Kingdom.
What follows is a drastic life change. Wang Lee becomes a free man, a scholar, and a child of a God he cannot understand. A God that has a beautiful book, beautiful words that could indeed make a peaceful world.
But is the the path to peace littered with corpses and blood?
Does this God choose leaders that separate men from woman, husband from wives, children from parents in order to make the world better?
Maybe the price to Heavenly freedom is high.
Wang Lee must not think treacherous thoughts. He does things he never would have done before for the Greater Good.
Paterson has taken a tragic tale and painted a bitter-sweet yet beautiful story for her readers. This story centers around a questionable time in history, but it is really about the people and what they had to go through to find real peace, inner peace.


  1. Nice review, Keturah! I'll have to keep an eye out for this book. I read one novel about this time period, but though it started out well, it lost momentum part way through. It's always fun to read a fictional story about a time period I've studied, because you experience another person's viewpoint of the historical figures and events.

    1. Yes, I know what you mean. This book definitely never got boring but was pretty fast paced :)


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