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What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy? With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca—and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret—her greatest worry is which Destiny she What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy? With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca—and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret—her greatest worry is which Destiny she'll choose at her next birthday. But when she's selected as a candidate for the Succession instead, competing to become Nedé's ninth Matriarch, she discovers their Eden has come at a cost she's not sure she's willing to pay. Jess Corban's debut novel presents a new twist to the dystopian genre, delivering heart-pounding action, thought-provoking revelations, and a setting as lush as the jungles of Central America.


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What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy? With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca—and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret—her greatest worry is which Destiny she What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy? With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca—and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret—her greatest worry is which Destiny she'll choose at her next birthday. But when she's selected as a candidate for the Succession instead, competing to become Nedé's ninth Matriarch, she discovers their Eden has come at a cost she's not sure she's willing to pay. Jess Corban's debut novel presents a new twist to the dystopian genre, delivering heart-pounding action, thought-provoking revelations, and a setting as lush as the jungles of Central America.

30 review for A Gentle Tyranny

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    the thing that kept running through my mind when i read this was the old proverb, ‘power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ whether its a patriarchy or matriarchy, no society is flawless. im not going to lie - i became very wary of this story during the first 100 pages or so. men are essentially enslaved, among other harmful things done to them, which kind of rubbed me the wrong way. i understand that dystopian stories do not shy away from extreme scenarios but, as the story continue the thing that kept running through my mind when i read this was the old proverb, ‘power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ whether its a patriarchy or matriarchy, no society is flawless. im not going to lie - i became very wary of this story during the first 100 pages or so. men are essentially enslaved, among other harmful things done to them, which kind of rubbed me the wrong way. i understand that dystopian stories do not shy away from extreme scenarios but, as the story continued, it seemed a bit much, all in the name of feminism. thank goodness there is some exciting character development and the story progressed in a way where i felt optimistic about the plot and the world-building. i found myself super invested in seeing how the MC was going to shake things up. overall, this book is a compelling example of how a perfect civilisation is impossible, that corruption is not specific to any one gender, and how, ultimately, the person we are is who we choose to be. its a unique coming-of-age story and im very much looking forward to how the series will continue! thank you so much to jess, the author, and to tyndale for providing me with an ARC. ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reads With Rachel

    This book contains racism, racist stereotypes, homophobia, islamophobia, anti-vaxx rhetoric, and evangelizing. Here is my review: youtu.be/sRb_Skyz5W8 This book was deliberately written under a pseudonym in order for the author to distance herself from her other works, which contain blatant homophobia. VIDEO EXPLANATION HERE: https://youtu.be/_7bSbIEXPV4 IF YOURE HERE TO ARGUE WITH ME, SHOO. I read the book and reviewed it. if you liked it good for you but you don’t need to converse with me about it This book contains racism, racist stereotypes, homophobia, islamophobia, anti-vaxx rhetoric, and evangelizing. Here is my review: youtu.be/sRb_Skyz5W8 This book was deliberately written under a pseudonym in order for the author to distance herself from her other works, which contain blatant homophobia. VIDEO EXPLANATION HERE: https://youtu.be/_7bSbIEXPV4 IF YOURE HERE TO ARGUE WITH ME, SHOO. I read the book and reviewed it. if you liked it good for you but you don’t need to converse with me about it. Go away. Bye. If you’re that interested in my thoughts then go watch my review so I can at least get the ad revenue from you wasting my time. You don’t need to speak to me here on goodreads.

  3. 5 out of 5

    hima ♡

    EDIT: so, actually, i take back every somewhat-nice thing i had to say about this book (and i was really scraping the bottom of the barrel lmfao). take a look at this thread for more information about how absolutely vile this author is! i want to start this review off with a (long, but important) disclaimer and a note. (1) i try to meet books where they're at. that is, for the most part, i do my best not to project my own expectations onto stories that never claimed to try and meet them (unless i EDIT: so, actually, i take back every somewhat-nice thing i had to say about this book (and i was really scraping the bottom of the barrel lmfao). take a look at this thread for more information about how absolutely vile this author is! i want to start this review off with a (long, but important) disclaimer and a note. (1) i try to meet books where they're at. that is, for the most part, i do my best not to project my own expectations onto stories that never claimed to try and meet them (unless i believe the subject matter is in and of itself harmful and left unchecked—in which case i reserve the right to be rude). a gentle tyranny came across my goodreads feed with a nice review, the description piqued my interest, and it was listed under teens & ya on netgalley. i picked it up believing it would be a secular book, and if i'd been aware that it wasn't (this isn't explicitly stated anywhere, although it's implied at the very end of the acknowledgments), i wouldn't have requested it. i made a mistake in not googling the publisher beforehand. i want to make it clear i am proceeding through a lens that is antithetical to the spirit of this novel. deliberately. (2) at the end of the book, the author states that fifty percent of the proceeds from a gentle tyranny will be funneled into her own fund, which will then distribute them to various charities, including (although i'm not sure if it's limited to): the a21 campaign, national center on sexual exploitation, and fight the new drug. the a21 campaign was founded by christine and nick caine, who are closely involved with the notoriously homophobic hillsong church; the national center on sexual exploitation's former president asserted that advancing gay rights leads to "the decline of morality ... that is the underlying cause of our modern day epidemic of mass murders"; and fight the new drug's fortify program has a stunning cast of characters on its clinical advisory board, including jason carroll, a byu professor who filed an amicus brief arguing against gay marriage in utah and whose recent publications include such gems as "the fall of fertility: how same-sex marriage will further declining birthrates in the united states"! as an incredibly proud lesbian, i was both startled and horrified by this; if you're also lgbtq, or care about lgbtq people at all, i'd recommend you just avoid this one. so, all that aside, let me get into the actual book. a gentle tyranny is the story of reina pierce, granddaughter of the eighth matriarch of nedé—a utopian society hidden in the jungles of central america controlled exclusively by women. here, male children are turned into docile manual laborers called "Gentles," lest they fall prey to their genetic impurities and become "Brutes"—like those who brutalized women in the pre-nedé world. this is certainly not badly written. i think the prose has potential; it's just kind of... amateur. i know this is the author's debut book. i just feel like there was so much room to create a really lush setting—i wanted something replete with imagery, something vivid, but instead what's there is pretty bland. unfortunately, i also didn't really get along with any of the characters. i found them, for the most part, wooden and one-dimensional, and the relationships between them involve a lot of telling but not a lot of showing. tre, for example, is one of reina's dearest friends, but they don't actually spend any significant time together on the page—not what you'd expect from the synopsis—so most of their friendship is just reina telling us over and over that he's just the greatest. i personally enjoyed trinidad and reina's friendship the most (although its development is also mostly "off-screen.") i never quite connected with reina as a protagonist. in the beginning i found her annoying and inconsistent, especially with regards to her relationship with her mother, whom she resents because of—ironically—a whole heap of internalized misogyny. i understand that she's supposed to be fierce, brave, selfless; i got a mere taste of those qualities when i wanted a whole mouthful. i also think a part of the reason why i wasn't totally into reina has to do with the way this story is structured: the entire first half is dedicated to reina and her fellow matriarch-candidates going to various places and learning various lessons about those places, and i was so irritated by the second half—when things actually start to happen—that i couldn't appreciate any character development anyway. i think that my primary problem is that i don't, and probably never will, get along with any narrative that is premised on an uncomplicated role-reversal of structural power; especially gender, because too often you end up with something unimaginative and trite with little in the way of material analysis of what power really is. i guess i knew this going in but hoped to be pleasantly surprised. i was not. what i want from dystopian fiction—what actually makes it thrilling, gives it its bite—is some semblance of plausibility. i don't want to spoil things, but the way the patriarchal apocalypse necessitating nedé's creation came about is... outlandish and silly. the big reveal(s) overturn this book into moral panic territory; i actually rolled my eyes multiple times, and found the real-world references (you'll know it when you see it) both corny and inappropriate. the world-building is weak—definitely the weakest aspect of this, because it's wholly nonsensical: from the story of nedé's conception, to the ridiculous science and poor use of scientific terminology (there is literal anti-vaccination rhetoric in this, which is hilarious to me because there is also a host of evidence suggesting a lack of knowledge as to what a vaccine even is?), to the absolute refusal to discuss transgender or lgbtq people at all let alone well, to the failed attempt to address race while, um, being racist and also simultaneously excising central american people from the narrative entirely (don't give the setting any merit on this front; you will be disappointed), to the "destinies" straight out of divergent/the hunger games/any other 2009 dystopian ya, to the fact that the whole story missed the mark because it refuses to interrogate or even mildly engage with any actual theories of gender and gender relations. that last point is important, because, here's the crux of the issue: a gentle tyranny tries so, so hard to put together a cogent critique of women's suffering under patriarchy... and fails. miserably. the second half of the book renders every single one of its own efforts incoherent. you're left wondering: so what is the point, actually? what is this even trying to say? what am i supposed to gain from this? reina's encounter with the Brutes actually left me speechless because it not only reproduces and glorifies patriarchy—perhaps without intending to—but also makes it extraordinarily obvious that this book is unable to operationalize patriarchy in even the most basic terms. the story eats itself and becomes this loose, amorphous treatise on how, like, power is bad and stuff, i guess, and also horses are cool. (i did like the horses). (but there's this one line: "She mounts the horse's fifteen-hand height as if it were a pony in a petting pen." fifteen hands is actually barely taller than a pony. yes, this is an extremely important detail). i'm not trying to rip into this book senselessly. there were parts i did enjoy! i liked the whole competition aspect, and i also liked that this isn't a super gory or gratuitously violent book (although there is, obviously, some violence). but i won't pretend i wasn't deeply frustrated and disillusioned by it, or that i believe it achieves what it presumably set out to achieve. 1 star. *arc provided by netgalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess Corban

    Goodreads asks, what did I think? Ha! Well, I thought this book would take me six months to write. Four years, countless drafts, reams of paper, and actual tears later, I am beyond ecstatic to share the world of Nedé with you. I hope the story entertains, the setting inspires, and the characters endear themselves. But most of all, I hope you find yourself chewing on big questions long after THE END. Most authors dream that their words will somehow make a difference in this world, and I’m no differ Goodreads asks, what did I think? Ha! Well, I thought this book would take me six months to write. Four years, countless drafts, reams of paper, and actual tears later, I am beyond ecstatic to share the world of Nedé with you. I hope the story entertains, the setting inspires, and the characters endear themselves. But most of all, I hope you find yourself chewing on big questions long after THE END. Most authors dream that their words will somehow make a difference in this world, and I’m no different. But words sail further when tethered to action. That’s why I’m donating half of all my earnings from this book to the Corban Fund, which supports organizations seeking to end violence against women and promote change, like the A21 Campaign, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and Fight the New Drug. If you enjoy A Gentle Tyranny, I know you'll love the soon-to-be-released sequel, A Brutal Justice. How do I know? Because (maybe authors aren't supposed to admit this, but) it's my new fave! Safety for all, Jess

  5. 5 out of 5

    Salma

    never actually read the book but the author’s a homophobic piece of shit I’m just here doing my part!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Williams

    I did read this flaming piece of garbage so others don’t have to. If you want a detailed review that’s articulate and insightful Rachel did an amazing job. https://youtu.be/_7bSbIEXPV4 Jess Corban is a pseudonym for Jessie Minassian, who is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. She doesn’t want people to know that she’s a fundamentalist Christian intent on spreading her views and is donating to anti-porn, Christian organizations and some of them are very anti-LGBT. She’s explicitly claimed not I did read this flaming piece of garbage so others don’t have to. If you want a detailed review that’s articulate and insightful Rachel did an amazing job. https://youtu.be/_7bSbIEXPV4 Jess Corban is a pseudonym for Jessie Minassian, who is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. She doesn’t want people to know that she’s a fundamentalist Christian intent on spreading her views and is donating to anti-porn, Christian organizations and some of them are very anti-LGBT. She’s explicitly claimed not to be homophobic, which is a lie. There are screen shots of her telling a questioning child that homosexuality is a sin and urged said girl to get help to change her attraction. Which is dangerous conversion therapy. She even linked this kid to services that would “help” her, while pointing her to another author more versed in homophobia. She’s trying to delete comments from outting her and her child abuse. This is a common bait and switch tactic fundamentalists do called subterfuge. This tactic enables them to gain access to safe spaces so they can lie and promise things in order to “help”. One of their ways to help includes advocating for conversion therapy. If that isn’t reason enough she’s pretty racist and extremely xenophobic. Jessie still advocates for imperialism, and wrote a book packed with racist stereotypes. Don’t try to interact with her, she only cares about evangelizing, she doesn’t care about you or who she steps on. This woman is lying to gain access to vulnerable people.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Insomnolent Reader °ㅠ_ㅠ°

    Have ya'll seen the video where she was uncovered as homophobic? 😬😬😬 this book sounded promising but nvm. Have ya'll seen the video where she was uncovered as homophobic? 😬😬😬 this book sounded promising but nvm.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josh Olds

    The potential for A Gentle Tyranny’s premise to go horribly wrong is tremendous, but it’s a calculated risk that pays off enormously at the end. I feel it’s only right that I mention that at the outset. With every page that I read, the more I loved the book and the more concerned I became for how the major thematic element—the Big Message™—was going to play out. Let me explain. A Gentle Tyranny is a twist on the YA dystopian genre that we haven’t seen before. In the world of Nedé, women have tak The potential for A Gentle Tyranny’s premise to go horribly wrong is tremendous, but it’s a calculated risk that pays off enormously at the end. I feel it’s only right that I mention that at the outset. With every page that I read, the more I loved the book and the more concerned I became for how the major thematic element—the Big Message™—was going to play out. Let me explain. A Gentle Tyranny is a twist on the YA dystopian genre that we haven’t seen before. In the world of Nedé, women have taken over. In response to an increasingly cruel and male-dominated world, women revolted and for nine generations they have “gentled” the men of their world, changing their biology to be docile and subservient. My fear—and at no point was this ever a point the book was leading toward—was that the conclusion of the book would be that of conservative Christian fundamentalism: Men were made to lead and a world without “real” men, manly men, men of chest hair and testosterone would be an ungodly world indeed. Fortunately, that is not where A Gentle Tyranny goes. Instead, debut author Jess Corban presents a world where both patriarchy and matriarchy have resulted in violence and destruction and the best path forward is humankind working together in a blessed alliance, male and female, to live and lead. But to the story: For generations now, the matriarchy of Nedé has ruled. Men have been safely “gentled” in a worldwide movement of liberation. It’s into this world that seventeen-year-old Raina Pierce is born. At the age of eighteen, the women of Nedé are expected to chose a type of profession—a Destiny—which they then perform throughout their lives. Raina has no clue what she wants to be and, complicating that, her grandmother, Matriarch of Nedé, has selected Raina as a candidate to succeed her. It’s through the competition to become the next Matriarch that Raina learns some of the darkest secrets of Nedé and becomes convinced that she must become the next leader to set things right. One of the most difficult aspects of YA dystopia, particularly now that the genre is utterly saturated, is giving the audience what they want and expect while still telling a new story. Corban takes from the classic tropes: the various Destinies read like the factions in Veronica Roth’s Divergent, the competitive element is somewhat reminiscent of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and when we move into Christian dystopias there’s thematic shades of the Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee Books of Mortals and Rachelle Dekker’s The Choosing. Yet, while A Gentle Tyranny has elements of all these books—because all these books are drawing on the same tried and true formula—it’s also very clearly its own thing and something much different than I’ve seen in the genre up until now. A Gentle Tyranny is a thoughtful take on male/female relationships and leadership, political elitism and the corruption of power, the justification of evil on the basis of an alleged greater good, speaking truth to power, leveraging one’s position of privilege and influence for the marginalized, the appropriate means of the oppressed to fight against oppression, and more. While A Gentle Tyranny’s primary inequality is gender-based—men are “gentled” while women are honored—it’s impossible to read the book without seeing the nonfictional inequalities of our own, both historical and present. You also begin to see the inequalities within Nedé—rural and urban, poor and rich, commoner and elite—and how the elite, Raina’s grandmother in particular is no less cruel than the male leaders of the past that proved the need for male “gentling.” Jess Corban’s A Gentle Tyranny is a masterpiece of fiction. Her sense of world-building is stupendous. Her characterization is rich and layered. The novel’s pacing keeps the story moving even as never rushes over important elements of the plot. The story gives readers story we think we want, one with all the comfortable familiarity of the genre, but then goes beyond that to deliver a thematically-rich and thought-provoking story. Jess Corban has breathed new life into a well-worn genre. I’m reading this in January, but I’ll make the prediction now that this will be one of my favorite novels of the year. I predict some debut author awards coming Corban’s way and it’ll be well-deserved. Now can I please have the next book?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    This was a very interesting dystopia. Normally, in dystopias, our protagonist is actively resisting the government, they're part of a rebel group. Think Legend, The Hunger Games, or Divergent. In A Gentle Tyranny, Reina is much more passive, and while that helped the story in some regards, it also harmed it. Blurb In a society run by women, built off the backs of men, Reina is approaching her 18th birthday. Soon to pick her career, but unsure what to pick, she is tapped by her grandmother to bec This was a very interesting dystopia. Normally, in dystopias, our protagonist is actively resisting the government, they're part of a rebel group. Think Legend, The Hunger Games, or Divergent. In A Gentle Tyranny, Reina is much more passive, and while that helped the story in some regards, it also harmed it. Blurb In a society run by women, built off the backs of men, Reina is approaching her 18th birthday. Soon to pick her career, but unsure what to pick, she is tapped by her grandmother to become the next Matriarch. Before this elevation, her world was black and white. Men must be gentled in order to be safe, and women are superior. As she sees more of Nede though, her beliefs are challenged. Like I said earlier, Reina is a very passive protagonist. She has her beliefs, but she definitely isn't out in the world changing things. I did enjoy this take, because it felt different. I loved how she wasn't fiery, and thought through her decisions. I loved that her entire goal was to become the Matriarch, and institute change through that avenue. Writing a protagonist who is passive is difficult though, because the story can very quickly become boring. In some ways, that is what A Gentle Tyranny suffered from. Simply put, not enough happened. Countless pages of this book are devoted to building a lush and complex world, and while I loved that, only so much worldbuilding is necessary. We're treated to Reina learning and discovering herself, but not much happens. Up until the 50% mark, she hadn't had much significant character development. Once we hit 50%, I was much more interested in the book, but it just took a little too long. The one thing that did absolutely no wrong in this was the setting. As someone who has recently traveled to Belize, the country that inspired the setting, I could picture every scene perfectly in my head. Jess Corban excelled at writing a setting that complimented her story, and I loved the descriptions that accompanied it. From the bright clothing, to the native wildlife, this felt lush and extravagant, while also feeling natural and warm. Although this is nowhere near the branch of dystopian that I usually read, I really enjoyed it! It's definitely a thought provoking read, which is always something I look for. Thanks to Jess Corban and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily Weimer

    I honestly enjoyed this book and am confused by the amount of hate the author is getting. It seems many of the people leaving reviews haven't actually read it, they are just taking someone else's word about it. I would say: read the book and then decide for yourself! It's a work of fiction that has a really unique and interesting premise, and things don't go the way you think they will in the beginning. The female relationships are layered and realistic, whether they are with the main character' I honestly enjoyed this book and am confused by the amount of hate the author is getting. It seems many of the people leaving reviews haven't actually read it, they are just taking someone else's word about it. I would say: read the book and then decide for yourself! It's a work of fiction that has a really unique and interesting premise, and things don't go the way you think they will in the beginning. The female relationships are layered and realistic, whether they are with the main character's family, friends, or enemies. I expect to re-read this book and would definitely recommend it to others.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nickie Greer

    This is a fantastic book, authored by a fantastic author. The ability to craft a world that is the end-all for some and a nightmare for others and explain why the grass isn’t always greener on the other side via narrative is an art form not many have mastered. Very much appreciated this author’s take and couldn’t find anything in the book to which that the cancel culture kids in the comment section referred. Don’t listen to the loud minority—they’ve been crafted to speak before they listen and t This is a fantastic book, authored by a fantastic author. The ability to craft a world that is the end-all for some and a nightmare for others and explain why the grass isn’t always greener on the other side via narrative is an art form not many have mastered. Very much appreciated this author’s take and couldn’t find anything in the book to which that the cancel culture kids in the comment section referred. Don’t listen to the loud minority—they’ve been crafted to speak before they listen and to act before they think.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess Lemus

    Jess Corban is a pseudonym for Jessie Minassian who is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian who is homophobic to the point of supporting what is essentially conversion therapy. There's more which you can look up yourself. I am not wasting my time by reading a book that is trying to sell me her disgusting views. Jess Corban is a pseudonym for Jessie Minassian who is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian who is homophobic to the point of supporting what is essentially conversion therapy. There's more which you can look up yourself. I am not wasting my time by reading a book that is trying to sell me her disgusting views.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Ireland

    *I received this book as a free giveaway* After reading the first few pages I didn't think I'd be able to continue. I am so glad I did! I now understand the shocking beginning. As a mother of a sweet and gentle boy this was sad to read. It shows the lengths people are willing to do to others out of fear. But it also shows the lengths good people will go to to do the right thing. I definitely can't wait to read the next one! *I received this book as a free giveaway* After reading the first few pages I didn't think I'd be able to continue. I am so glad I did! I now understand the shocking beginning. As a mother of a sweet and gentle boy this was sad to read. It shows the lengths people are willing to do to others out of fear. But it also shows the lengths good people will go to to do the right thing. I definitely can't wait to read the next one!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tessa Dysart

    A Gentle Tyranny is a complex book--it addresses questions difficult questions like equality, power, corruption, and abuse. While one could read it for just the story, you would be missing the whole purpose of the book. As the mother of a daughter and a son, this book gave me a lot to think about. I suspect that regardless of where you stand on the issues addressed in the book, you will find something that you like and something that you profoundly disagree with. I don't want to go into too much A Gentle Tyranny is a complex book--it addresses questions difficult questions like equality, power, corruption, and abuse. While one could read it for just the story, you would be missing the whole purpose of the book. As the mother of a daughter and a son, this book gave me a lot to think about. I suspect that regardless of where you stand on the issues addressed in the book, you will find something that you like and something that you profoundly disagree with. I don't want to go into too much depth, but I do want to provide a warning that this book deals with difficult subjects, including sexual abuse against women. The beginning of the book was hard, as was some information revealed later in the book. As for the writing, I thought that the build up to the main story was a tad slow. This made more sense when I realized that some of the issues in the book would not be fully resolved. I suspect that there will be a book 2, which I would definitely read. Finally, I loved the setting in Central America--great addition to the book! Thank you publishers and netgalley for the free E-Arc in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I won this book in a give away. As a male, I was apprehensive about the setting of the book, where males had been gentled as a result of their aggression toward women. I was appalled by the whole concept. After reading about treatment of the gentled males by the women, I was further appalled and almost stopped reading at that point. Rather than give the book a one star rating, I decided to finish the book, as promised, and provide an honest assessment. I’m glad I did because, without dropping an I won this book in a give away. As a male, I was apprehensive about the setting of the book, where males had been gentled as a result of their aggression toward women. I was appalled by the whole concept. After reading about treatment of the gentled males by the women, I was further appalled and almost stopped reading at that point. Rather than give the book a one star rating, I decided to finish the book, as promised, and provide an honest assessment. I’m glad I did because, without dropping any clues, the story line improved and left me feeling hopeful about a satisfactory conclusion. All the issues are far from resolved by the end of the book, making it apparent that other volumes will be forthcoming. I think three stars is a mediocre book that has some entertainment value. I must admit it was entertaining and kept my attention throughout, even if it was uncomfortable in parts. And so I give it a rather reluctant four star rating. And for those who like to summarize the story like a book report, it’s not necessary. Leave the story telling to the author. You can tell us what you think without revealing the plot line.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (I need all the book boyfriends please)

    In the Monarchy of Nedé the men, also more widely known as brutes, are gentled. This is something the reader will learn much more about throughout the book. Reina, or Rei, is a 17 yo girl living in a finca (a kind of farm or ranch) with her mother and sister and the little gentles that her mother raises with love. However, when Rei is selected as a candidate for the succession to be the next matriarch (a role her grandmother currently fills) all of her plans are put on hold. Her whole life she h In the Monarchy of Nedé the men, also more widely known as brutes, are gentled. This is something the reader will learn much more about throughout the book. Reina, or Rei, is a 17 yo girl living in a finca (a kind of farm or ranch) with her mother and sister and the little gentles that her mother raises with love. However, when Rei is selected as a candidate for the succession to be the next matriarch (a role her grandmother currently fills) all of her plans are put on hold. Her whole life she has been training to be an Alexia, which is a female warrior known for their prowess on a horse while facing down enemies. Rei is kind, open minded and a little badass, which only makes it harder for her to fit in with the other candidates for the succession. The Nedé have a lot of restrictions and rules about society, particularly concerning a woman's destiny. Another restricted area of this place is the gentles themselves, which Rei has a soft spot for. This story immediately captivated me and I though the writing style was well done and very enjoyable to read. My only complaint is that the ending didn't quite live up to what it could have been .

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emily M

    Dystopian fiction isn’t my usual go-to genre (I’m more of a historical fiction fan) but I LOVED this book. Fascinating plot line that kept me reading late into the night; thought-provoking social and cultural constructs; engaging characters and relationships. Highly recommend!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    An interesting take on a dystopian novel but with an unclear message. “A Gentle Tyranny” takes a page out of M Night Shyamalan’s playbook as it seeks to rebuild a society secluded from the rest of the world where reality is what the elders make it and anyone who gets too close to figuring out the truth that lies just outside the walls must be dealt with accordingly. Trigger warning as I was not prepared the book starts with a discussion on violence against women and touches on topics or rape, tr An interesting take on a dystopian novel but with an unclear message. “A Gentle Tyranny” takes a page out of M Night Shyamalan’s playbook as it seeks to rebuild a society secluded from the rest of the world where reality is what the elders make it and anyone who gets too close to figuring out the truth that lies just outside the walls must be dealt with accordingly. Trigger warning as I was not prepared the book starts with a discussion on violence against women and touches on topics or rape, trafficking and pedophilia so if that is a sensitive topic to you please enter at your own risk. The set up of this book is that men have abandoned any sense of self control and surrendered themselves to lust and abuse leaving a coalition of women to start a new order to protect themselves and as the generations progress the methods become more harsh and uncaring towards the males born into this matriarchal society. The construct of finding a new leader was interesting I suppose but I don’t think it accomplished what it was meant to as a lot of what we learned we are able to piece together a handful of chapters in. I’m not sure what the point of the novel is if I’m being honest. One one hand it almost is an attempt to show that having one gender lead is always going to be problematic which is fair but to preface that with this gutting take on abuse at the moment in time where the decision to start over is made makes it difficult to fault the women overall. Yes it is a correction to the far opposite side of the moral pendulum but when staring in the face of true cruelty it’s hard to judge that choice even more so when we meet the others in the jungle who flat out say that to be a Brute is a choice that shouldn’t be taken away. I’m very unsure about this one and not enough that I think that the sequel could help my feelings toward it as a whole but it’s a pretty strong question mark overall as I sit here and try to collect my thoughts. **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara (bookishfairytales)

    Spoiler free review. I really enjoyed the amount of world building this author uses and the way the author really brings out the characters. The way the location is described throughout the story is amazing. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Hogrefe Parnell

    Corban’s dystopian tale opens in a lush, futuristic setting that appears to be a utopian paradise governed by women. The Nede is a place where women rule, and men or “Brutes” have been “gentled” so that they can never harm women again. Her vivid descriptions and detailed world-building made me feel immediately part of this world, where I also instantly suspected that all was not “virtuous.” Reina is the Matriarch’s granddaughter who knows little about the true workings of her world and is just a Corban’s dystopian tale opens in a lush, futuristic setting that appears to be a utopian paradise governed by women. The Nede is a place where women rule, and men or “Brutes” have been “gentled” so that they can never harm women again. Her vivid descriptions and detailed world-building made me feel immediately part of this world, where I also instantly suspected that all was not “virtuous.” Reina is the Matriarch’s granddaughter who knows little about the true workings of her world and is just about as clueless regarding what destiny or career choice she will make on her eighteenth birthday. When her grandmother asks her to compete in the Succession that will determine the next Matriarch, Reina discovers the cruel realities about her world—and grandmother—she had never imagined. She believes she can make changes when she’s chosen as the next Matriarch, but how low will she have to stoop to compete? Corban did a masterful job with Reina’s characterization. She is a teenager who doesn’t appreciate what she has until she loses it and doesn’t understand her mother until she grows wiser herself. I saw some reviews that complained about her pivotal choice at the end of the story. Although I don’t like her choice any more than other readers, I do appreciate that she didn’t receive what she expected from making it. (I’m being vague to avoid spoilers.) Perhaps the author’s intention is to show that doing the wrong thing for the right reason is not a wise choice. Regardless, I am also sympathetic toward Reina, because she was placed in a difficult situation and forced to make a split-second decision. Her story doesn’t end with this book, and I expect we’ll see some redemption for her in the sequel. All that to say, I’m not deducting a star for her choice, because I think young adults need to see the consequences (and hopefully redemption that is possible) when they make poor choices. Speaking of which, I’m so glad A Brutal Justice releases soon, because I’m eager to watch where Corban takes this story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of A Gentle Tyranny in exchange for an honest review. A gentle Tyranny takes place on a dystopia island where 200 years ago, a group of woman fed up with societies mistreatment of woman formed a new society with men (now called 'Gentles') far below women in the social hierarchy. We follow Reina after being chosen by the island's leader, The Matriarch (who also happens to be her grandmother), to compete as a wildcard for the change to become the island Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of A Gentle Tyranny in exchange for an honest review. A gentle Tyranny takes place on a dystopia island where 200 years ago, a group of woman fed up with societies mistreatment of woman formed a new society with men (now called 'Gentles') far below women in the social hierarchy. We follow Reina after being chosen by the island's leader, The Matriarch (who also happens to be her grandmother), to compete as a wildcard for the change to become the island's next Matriarch. As a dystopia, I really enjoyed this. It's the kind of feminist fic that flips the script to showcase how sexism may look if men were seen as the inferior gender and Corban's narrative style is wonderful for the genre while also unique enough to add a lot of atmosphere and keep the story sounding unique. A few things were quite predictable, but in my opinion that's a lot better than having never set up any of that. Even outside of the social commentary, this is still a good 'corrupt government' book. My only issues come down to some world building things. This takes place about 250 years in the future, 200 years after the island's been formed. There are a few references to what seems to be an all encompassing religion on the island which threw me a bit because the book makes it very clear that the original inhabitants came from diverse backgrounds and were allowed and encouraged to let their cultures thrived. I don't see every other religion dying out or even really a new one being able to form over a 2 century time span especially since it seems like the life expectancy for women is near or beyond 80 and it made it harder to conceptualize when this takes place. This next part may be a spoiler but I don't think it hurts anything plot wise but feel free to stop reading. Basically, to make the men more docile they apparently remove their testosterone. I'm not a scientist or doctor or anything, but I know low testosterone in either sex is a health risk and would imagine removing it all together just wouldn't be viable. This book does stress that men die earlier because of it, but the protagonist takes the time to mention that she's never heard of 'testosterone' before in a way that seemed to imply its been completely eradicated on the island so do the woman not have any too and if so, why is their quality of life not also hindered? How are some of them casually pumping out 10 kids each while missing a hormone that helps with reproductive organs and fertility? Or do the woman keep their testosterone and the MC just doesn't know what its called and that was a weird throwaway line? If so, the society's clearly decided that getting rid of the gender with more testosterone will solve all conflicts but what happens with woman like the Matriarch who at the age of 76 actually has the potential of having higher testosterone levels than men in the same age bracket? It may seem like I'm nitpicking, but the book makes a huge deal about testosterone and I kept getting more and more confused.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    A Gentle Tyranny is set in a society created as a reaction to systematic oppression of women. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of an imbalance of power, regardless of which group wields the power. The story follows Reina, a seventeen year old girl, as the truth about the founding of her society and cruelty with which it is sustained is revealed to her. Many of the issues with the functioning of Nedè should be obvious to at least the scientists within the society and to most of the A Gentle Tyranny is set in a society created as a reaction to systematic oppression of women. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of an imbalance of power, regardless of which group wields the power. The story follows Reina, a seventeen year old girl, as the truth about the founding of her society and cruelty with which it is sustained is revealed to her. Many of the issues with the functioning of Nedè should be obvious to at least the scientists within the society and to most of the founding members. The founding of this society was emotionally driven and not well sought out, dooming it to failure before it even began regardless of the social structure. The book presents the issue of re-population of a single sex society as a matter of just too few pregnancies due to willingness of potential mothers, but this is a minor problem overall. It can be pretty safely assumed that the gentles do not have reproduction capabilities so the society is entirely dependent on the sperm stores in the bank at the time of the societies founding. This means there is a finite number of generations before the society runs out of the necessary resources to continue. Due to the lack of forethought on the part of the supposedly intelligent founders, a functional Nedè was always going to be forced to choose between dying out, or bringing back the brutes to restock supplies. Overall I think the story has potential and is relevant to issues of inequalities in today's society. I hope the conclusion to the series successfully sends a message of equality and unity, inspiring us to be better. I received a copy of this book on Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen Clements

    At first glance, this seems like just another teen dystopian novel, but this one has a twist—it’s a matriarchy, and males are present only as “Gentles” who are meek and submissive. Reina Pierce is seventeen, approaching the time when she must choose a “destiny” for herself, and while her mother would like her to be a Materno birthing and raising strong women for their country of Nede, Reina has other ideas. She wants to be part of the Alexia, warrior women who protect the country and its ideals. At first glance, this seems like just another teen dystopian novel, but this one has a twist—it’s a matriarchy, and males are present only as “Gentles” who are meek and submissive. Reina Pierce is seventeen, approaching the time when she must choose a “destiny” for herself, and while her mother would like her to be a Materno birthing and raising strong women for their country of Nede, Reina has other ideas. She wants to be part of the Alexia, warrior women who protect the country and its ideals. Before she can make her choice, however, she is summoned to her grandmother, the Matriarch of Nede, who needs to choose an Apprentice to take her place. The usual practice is for each province to send a candidate to compete for the honor; however, the Matriarch may choose one additional candidate. Reina finds herself pitted against other women who have been preparing for years to vie for the honor of succeeding as Matriarch, and her position as the fifth candidate stirs resentment. As the women train together, Reina begins to see flaws in her country that escaped her notice before. She discovers that the legendary “Brutes” Nede’s founders sought to eradicate are neither extinct nor as horrible as described. What else will she learn? Can she win the right to succeed as Matriarch and set everything right? Really glad the sequel is out next month, because I’m anxious to see how it all turns out! Recommended

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    This book is what you would get if you combined the gender-segregated society of Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country with the capital extravagnce and high stakes competition of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. Which is to say that this book is more than a little derivative. Is it still worth reading? Yes. Corban takes the ideas behind these two books and runs with them, adding in descriptions of the jungle setting that are beyond lush. Reina's naivete at the beginning of the book was This book is what you would get if you combined the gender-segregated society of Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country with the capital extravagnce and high stakes competition of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. Which is to say that this book is more than a little derivative. Is it still worth reading? Yes. Corban takes the ideas behind these two books and runs with them, adding in descriptions of the jungle setting that are beyond lush. Reina's naivete at the beginning of the book was troublesome to me, but Corban places her in situations that force her confront her own lack of knowledge and gives her the motivation to overcome it. Reina's growth is realistic and believable in a way that many authors can't pull off. And we learn that her ignorance isn't entirely due to her sheltered upbringing or her own passivity. There are things in her society that are just not talked about, and which will probably turn out to be its downfall. We'll have to wait for the sequel to find out, though.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    A dystopian read that imagines a futuristic feminist society where men have been "gentled" and women work together in a collaborative under the rule of Matriarchy. But things are not as they seem. Reina has lived her whole life knowing that she was different, daring to question the way things are, and dreaming of being an Alexia. Over the course of the book I came to admire her for her strength, strong resolve, and willingness to sacrifice. A dystopian new world that imagines feminism and masculin A dystopian read that imagines a futuristic feminist society where men have been "gentled" and women work together in a collaborative under the rule of Matriarchy. But things are not as they seem. Reina has lived her whole life knowing that she was different, daring to question the way things are, and dreaming of being an Alexia. Over the course of the book I came to admire her for her strength, strong resolve, and willingness to sacrifice. A dystopian new world that imagines feminism and masculinity taken to extremes, as Reina finds her eyes opened while fighting for the honor of Matriarch. I liked getting to know the other girls, as well as about the world around them as well as the differences between the provinces, though at times it felt heavy on the information dumping, and took a while to ramp up. Overall, this was an intriguing read, though slow to start, I found that I had grown to care about the characters over the course of the book. While a work of speculative dystopian fiction it felt at times that the seams of the world were a bit rough. I loved Calisto, as well as Reina's brave gentle friends, I am interested to see where this will go. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Higgins

    After a slow start, this turned out to be a story that I really enjoyed and can’t wait to see what comes next. A new look at the popular YA Dystopian genre that so many readers love. A Gentle Tyranny sets up in the world of Nede where women have taken over and have “Gentled” the men. It has taken years of research and testing to be able to tame these men and set up a new hierarchy that on the outside seems tame, but on the inside, nothing is as it first seems. Raina Pierce is seventeen and has be After a slow start, this turned out to be a story that I really enjoyed and can’t wait to see what comes next. A new look at the popular YA Dystopian genre that so many readers love. A Gentle Tyranny sets up in the world of Nede where women have taken over and have “Gentled” the men. It has taken years of research and testing to be able to tame these men and set up a new hierarchy that on the outside seems tame, but on the inside, nothing is as it first seems. Raina Pierce is seventeen and has been selected to compete for the apprenticeship of becoming the Matriarch of Nede. Her grandmother currently holds the position leading some to believe that Raina is the obvious choice. The trials she must go through show Raina that all that she learned growing up was only part of the story. The world is not what she expected and not so gentle after all. Will she be selected to take over and make the changes so desperately needed? Or will she even be alive to see who wins? A Gentle Tyranny started really slow; I almost gave up on it but am glad I stuck with the story. It was hard to picture the new world and connecting with these characters was difficult. In any new series, especially a dystopian such as this, the world building takes time. About halfway through, things started to pick up and catch my attention. Once I felt the connection with the characters, I was more invested in the story and couldn’t wait to see how it played out. I really enjoyed Raina in the forest and her interaction with the men, so different from what she was led to believe. As a debut novel, Jess Corban finally found her footing and took off. While this isn’t my favorite of the year, I will definitely be giving the next in the series a chance. Hopefully now that the world is built, the pace will be quick and the enticing characters will continue to engage the readers. I recommend this to fans of dystopian that are willing to be patient and let the story go where it will and be happy with the payout at the end. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Based in the wilds of South America, A Gentle Tyranny puts a unique spin on the dystopian genre. A Gentle Tyranny takes place over two hundred years in the future, after illness wipes out most of the population. Nedé is a female-dominated society served by “gentled” men. The women of this society are able to choose their “destinies” (career paths). A few days before Reina chooses her destiny, her grandmother nominates her as a candidate for the next Matriarch. Over the next month, all of the can Based in the wilds of South America, A Gentle Tyranny puts a unique spin on the dystopian genre. A Gentle Tyranny takes place over two hundred years in the future, after illness wipes out most of the population. Nedé is a female-dominated society served by “gentled” men. The women of this society are able to choose their “destinies” (career paths). A few days before Reina chooses her destiny, her grandmother nominates her as a candidate for the next Matriarch. Over the next month, all of the candidates basically job-shadow the Matriarch before she chooses a woman to succeed her. During this time, Reina discovers that Nedé is not what it seems. The “gentles” are abused, their leaders are corrupt, and she’s pressured to commit terrible crimes in the name of Nedé. What I Liked... The Premise: We see so many dystopian novels that focus on male-dominated societies. So, feminism gone wrong? Yeah, I’m game! I feel like this spin is much less popular and I loved it. The Alexia: The whole “destiny” concept is cool, but the Alexia was certainly my favorite. Think Dauntless Equestrian Amazons. The Middle of the Book: Usually the messy middle is boring. For this book, that's where I was truly engaged. I enjoyed the plot twist and characters introduced here. This is also where I started to feel connected with Reina. Things I didn't like… Some of the Plot at the Beginning and End: It started out slow and slowed down quite a bit in the last 20%. Also, in the beginning, there were a few holes that didn’t make sense to me. For example, Reina’s resentment for her mother. If her mother was more forceful or flawed I could understand it. Or if being a Materno wasn’t such a highly-regarded destiny with so many benefits, I could understand why she would resent her mother’s choice. I Couldn't Connect with MC: Maybe it’s her mama issues, maybe it’s because she came off as a little passive, but I just did not connect with Reina. Sometimes It Felt Preachy: So, before purchasing this book, I had signed up to review the sequel and didn't notice that it was Book 2 of the series. I bought A Gentle Tyranny to get myself up to speed. That's about the time I stumbled on the Goodreads drama. Yikes. While I disagree with most of the comments about this book, I do think there were a couple “preachy” parts. This was mostly at the end of the book, when the history of Nedé is revealed. Would I Recommend? I sort of struggled with some of the plot and really struggled with Reina, but overall I enjoyed A Gentle Tyranny. To me, this book is kind of a Circle Series (Ted Dekker) meets Hunger Games meets Divergent. If you love clean/Christian science fiction, it’s definitely a good find!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thu NB

    this book gave me kidney stones. thanks, jess.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Doswald

    This story is told entirely through the eyes of a 17-year-old girl living in a matriarchal society. Her grandmother is the Grand Matriarch of the society of women and has asked her to compete for her position. The journey takes Reina into the discovery of her society's past that is dark and sinister. She has to summon the courage to decide what to do. I read this book in 4 days. I was awake into the deep of the night. I recommend this book for anyone who ever wonders, why things are the way they This story is told entirely through the eyes of a 17-year-old girl living in a matriarchal society. Her grandmother is the Grand Matriarch of the society of women and has asked her to compete for her position. The journey takes Reina into the discovery of her society's past that is dark and sinister. She has to summon the courage to decide what to do. I read this book in 4 days. I was awake into the deep of the night. I recommend this book for anyone who ever wonders, why things are the way they are. It is full of adventure and thought-provoking. I think this would make a very good movie. I can't wait for the next installment. If book 2 is half as good as book 1, it will be worth the read. I loved this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

    8/4/2021 Update: in light of revelations that Jess Corban is a pen name for Jessie Minassian, I will be removing my rating as I do not support the author's beliefs when it comes to conversion therapy. Growing up, Reina always wanted to be an Alexia and protect Nedé but her grandmother has other plans for her when she nominates her to be the next monarch. Pitted against four other women, Reina suddenly has to navigate the political elite and show the Matriarch she's the best candidate. In the late 8/4/2021 Update: in light of revelations that Jess Corban is a pen name for Jessie Minassian, I will be removing my rating as I do not support the author's beliefs when it comes to conversion therapy. Growing up, Reina always wanted to be an Alexia and protect Nedé but her grandmother has other plans for her when she nominates her to be the next monarch. Pitted against four other women, Reina suddenly has to navigate the political elite and show the Matriarch she's the best candidate. In the late 21st century, Tristan Pierce established Nedé as a safe haven for women. The men are gentled from birth while women are allowed to pursue a life free of fear and oppression. In order to assure this, Nedé's men are unable to grow much hair and muscle, making them weak and short lived. Shortly after birth, they are separated from their mothers and raised to be servants. They are only allowed to perform society's menial tasks while being forbidden from forming any sort of relationship with the women around them. Corban does a brilliant job describing men's lives under this regime, which rightly makes certain passages uncomfortable to get through. Even Reina, who grew up on a more tolerant farm where the men are allowed to have names, doesn't question this subjugation until later on in the novel. Reina was an interesting character. I found her grating in the beginning as she dismissed her family's chosen careers but I was happy to see her grow out of that. As she learns more about those destinies, and her family in particular she not only comes to appreciate them, but they help fuel her determination to change Nedé for the better. She also started out very naïve. While she maintained a secret friendship with a gentle, she still held firm to Nedé's constitution, until the selection process challenged her core beliefs. I appreciated that Corban didn't make Reina a rebel from the beginning. Given the setting, it's expected that Reina would agree with the status quo, which makes her rebellion all the more poignant. A Gentle Tyranny was fun well balanced. Once the selection begins, the book flowed well and I had no trouble getting through it. I liked that Reina is slow to change her ideas as it's hard to rebel against one's upbringing from one day to the next, and this was reflected in the book. My one complaint is that I don’t think Corban developed her world enough. Some of the secondary characters are lacking, whereas the worldbuilding is confusing at times, particularly when it comes to the Brutes. As this is the first book in a series, there's more than enough potential to grow and I look forward to seeing what Corban does in the sequel. A Gentle Tyranny by Jess Corban was an interesting study in what a matriarchal dystopia could look like. Corban's character arcs are well crafted and the slow build of a rebellion fits Reina's mindset. The lack of a romantic element was a welcome surprise as well, even if I do like the hints of a future relationship. This book is for older readers as it contains violence and on-page depictions of executions.

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