CSFF Blog Tour – Outcasts by Jill Williamson, Day 2


Second Books

Most fantasy series are actually one story told in multiple books. The Safe Lands series by Jill Williamson is no different. The story opened with Captives, continues with Outcasts, and concludes with Rebels, due out this summer. Which makes the January CSFF Blog Tour feature the second book in the series.

More often than not readers find second books to be a bit of a let down. In writer parlance, some suffer from “sagging middle” syndrome. Often times the pace seems slower, with nothing of particular note taking place, and/or a “been there, done that” feel to the plot.

For example, the second book in the Hunger Games series, once again threw the heroine, Katniss, back into the games she had just conquered.

None of this is so for Jill’s Outcasts. This book two is a different story while still moving toward a resolution of the greater question.

For one thing, the protagonist is a different character. Yes, there are multiple points of view and the same characters that appeared in Captives are also in Outcasts, but this is predominantly the story of a different individual than was the first book.

In addition, there isn’t any territory covered in the first book that’s repeated in this one. Sure there are similarities. After all, the story is about escape, and there are many people who need to get away. But the circumstances are different, the people are different, the methods are different, the dangers are different.

In short, rather than sagging, this second installment of the Safe Lands series ramps up the tension. I haven’t gone back to compare ratings or comments with the reviews CSFF participants gave Captives, but the comparatives I’m reading would indicate that Outcasts is an even stronger book than Captives.

Here’s a sampling:
* “Outcasts is a first-class dystopia – realistic characters in a riveting but believable world that brings all sorts of ideas into play against each other. I am planning to continue with the Safe Lands series; this is a world still to be explored – beginning with what, exactly, it means to be liberated.” Shannon McDermott

* “If Outcasts is any example, this series should end in a fantabulous manner. . .” – Meagan @ Blooming with Books

* “I actually really like Mason, Shaylinn, and even Omar, as well as the rebel Zane–so much that I actually very much care what happens to them, something I don’t feel at all in maybe half the books I read.” – Julie Bihn

Clearly, there’s no drop off with Jill Williamson’s book two. Readers are in safe hands!

But again, don’t take my word for it. Check out what the other tour participants are saying. You might want to read Nissa’s insightful comparison between The Safe Lands series and Hunger Games.

Or how about Julie Bihn’s revelation of Safe Land SimTag technology, or something quite similar, in existence today.

There are others (see all links at the bottom of my Day 1 post) you won’t want to miss.

You also might enjoy exploring the Safe Lands site. Lots to see and do.

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm  Comments (6)  
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  1. This book 2 was definitely not a let down in any way. The action and drama definitely are ramped up and I love the better tech too.

    Thanks for the mention! 😀


  2. I’m glad I avoided the middle book! Each book, for me, has almost felt like a new storyworld, since the characters discover a new aspect of The Safe Lands. Now if I can only finish well. 🙂


    • Interesting. I read one of our participants, Meagan, I think, postulate that a different brother appears on the cover of each of the books. I hadn’t thought about it until someone else said they though Mason dominated Captives and Mason, Outcasts. So can we expect a lot of Levi in the next one? 😉 All that to say, I can see why you felt as you did. Each book does have a different feel and a different character at the focal point. So maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe it’s that you write an organic story based on who you’ve made these characters to be.

      Whatever might be the reason, I think the CSFF participants pretty much agree this book is a huge success!



  3. I tweaked my rating system for 2014, but Outcasts earned a 4.2 and Captives a 3.8. Probably the main differences are that I made “world building” a category (which Williamson excels at that here) and “suspense” (ditto). I thought the writing was stronger here–even as I got a bit lost in a few parts.

    Anyway, I think you’re right–I imagine most people who liked Captives will like Outcasts at least as much, if not more.

    Thanks for the shout-out!


  4. Thanks so much for mentioning my humble blog post! It’s a real help to this über-insecure writer. I loved Outcasts so much, it certainly was not any sort of ‘sagging middle’. I wish I had managed to post more in the blog tour but my chronic health issues were acting up. I just can’t wait for the third book to come out.


    • Sorry you had to deal with the ongoing health issues, but I’m glad you were able to write that great post. I think it helps readers put Jill’s work in perspective. I want the word to get out that this (and other current speculative fiction) is right up there with the books that have taken society by storm.



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