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Review – War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

Tochi Onyebuchi - War Girls for featured image
War Girls
Overall
8/10
8/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Development - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 8/10
    8/10
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War Girls

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi
Description:
Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther–inspired Nigeria.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

Acclaimed author Tochi Onyebuchi has written an immersive, action-packed, deeply personal novel perfect for fans of Nnedi Okorafor, Marie Lu, and Paolo Bacigalupi.”

Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
Release Date: October 15th, 2019

War Girls is the first novel in a new series by Tochi Onyebuchi, and it portrays a futuristic Nigeria that has been torn apart by war.

 

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

War Girls is the first novel in a series by the same name by Tochi Onyebuchi. And you just know that it’s going to be a dramatic and emotional read based on the author and his previous works. Described as a Hunger Games meets Black Panther, this series is set in a futuristic and war-torn Nigeria.

In the future, climate change has already happened and so have several new wars. And yet humanity still hasn’t learned from their mistakes. Now Nigeria is being torn apart by war, due in part to the lack of resources in the area. And that is where the story of the War Girls begins. Onyii took in little Ify as her adopted sister, only for their tale to become so twisted and broken thanks to the war raging around them.

Tochi Onyebuchi - War GirlsThis novel is an allegory for the Civil War in Nigeria. As such, it can be brutal at times – showing us the worst and the best that humanity has to offer. This is a world where hope still lingers, even as the opposition does their best to stamp it out.

 

Writing

Tochi Onyebuchi has such a way of blending science fiction and history into one unique yet cohesive piece. And War Girls is perhaps his shining example in this case. You don’t need to be an expert in Nigerian history in order to follow along with the book. The story is fantastical enough to feel welcoming to all new readers, while still having the heavy and important notes needed for this tale.

The world of War Girls is as immersive as it is dark, and as filled with hopes as it is with doubts. The characters that fill the pages are so full of passion and life, it was next to impossible to remember that there were simply characters, as opposed to living and breathing people. And that’s what makes Onyebuchi’s work excel.

The sci-fi elements added to this novel was an interesting touch. It added a level of separation for the readers, while also adding several layers of complexity. There was plenty to see and think about in this tale, thanks to the technology that alternated between realistic and fantastical.

The tale of Onyii and Ify is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It is a tale we’ve seen before, and a tale we’ll see again. Yet the lush amount of details about their lives really did make it all feel real. And perhaps that was the grounding in reality that gave it that feel. Regardless, it made sure that the impact of the message hit home.

 

Development

War Girls was clearly a carefully planned out novel. It had its ups and downs, just like real life. Sometimes there would be a quieter part in the book, and other times it would be full of action. These alternating moments added a real sense of ebb and flow.

War Girls was a tale split into several parts and perspectives. The novel itself is split into four, all separated by a jump in time. Additionally, there are three main perspectives throughout the novel, which each chapter alternates through. Onyii and Ify were the two with the most focus, but there was a third character that was given a few moments to share her feelings on the matter.

Honestly, it was difficult to do anything but turn the page, again and again. While the pacing did go back and forth, I found myself desperate to see what was going to happen with these two sisters. Their tale managed to wiggle into my heart, and I know I won’t be the only one feeling that way.

 

Conclusion

War Girls was a beautifully written and compelling novel. Onyebuchi laid out a novel that was dense and lush, but also in many ways felt real. Sometimes the reality of the novel made it harder to deal with what was happening. But overall, that was a good thing. In fact, that was likely the goal behind this entire story. To make us feel for what had happened. And to make us look at the history that so many have overlooked.

It will be interesting to see where this series ends up going in the long run. I wonder if the focus will stay on these two War Girls, or if it will switch to new characters with each novel. Either option would prove interesting, so I don’t see fans complaining one way or the other.

 

 

 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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