Synopsis: 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.
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Sci-fi
grahpic violent scenes,child soldiers,slaves, physical and mental trauma,drug use,children used as weapons,brutal war descriptions
War Girls is a dystopian sci-fi which is set in the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War and it is a story about two sisters and the way the war affects their life. It is also a social commentary on the atrocities of war and the way war affects generations.
War Girls had a very varied and distinct characters. The two main characters are Onyii and Ify. The story follows their journey and how the war that has ravaged their country affected them for years to come. Onyii is a soldier and fierce brave woman. One of her hands is also Augmented. Reading about Onyii will fill you with pride, sadness, heartbreak and her journey will definitely leave you with tears. Ify is Onyii’s younger sister and a curious person who loves studying coding and algorithms. She is smart and her character development was wonderful to read.
Ify and Onyii’s love and loyalty towards each other and their responsibility and country is thoroughly tested. Their story is at its essence about the bond which they share and how war affects their lives which you will consistently notice while reading. The other characters are their sisters from the War Girls group and who play an important rule in taking the story forward. Most of the characters are morally grey and even though you know who the “bad guys” are, as a reader you will always be aware of the morality of the actions of all the characters.
The story is set in the backdrop of Biafra-Nigeria war. It is based on the different wars which have been going on in the country since a long time. It shows how gruesome war is and the effects it has not only the people involved but also for the coming generations. The story is set a century later, in 2175 after a calamity destroyed the earth. Part of the earth, mainly the US AND UK, live on a planet in space whereas the other nations are on earth. Its inspired by Black Panther in the sense that they have super cool technology and protect themselves from radiation outside with a scientific dome. There are comms, mechs, augments, bionic implants and advanced machinery. The story is technologically centered and hence can get very intense with this.
The story alternates between Ify and Onyii’s POVs and also shows how the war has destroyed so much of the country and it’s people.It is divided into three parts and personally I found the 2nd part a little boring. It has also affected both of them and their struggle for survival is emphasized throughout the story. I do not want to say much with the fear of spoilers but War Girls is a book about two sisters stuck in a war and how their fight for survival and hope is tested. This book also focuses on how war affectd everyone from the soldiers to the youngest civilians.
The Setting and World Building
The world as described in the synopsis is Black Panther inspired and is set in the future. The main backdrop is taken from the Nigerian Civil War which ravaged the country in the 1960’s. Climate change, political unrest and nuclear attacks have destroyed the country. I absolutely loved the world building. The descriptions of Biafra and Nigeria are beautifully written and as a reader you can definitely see it playing in your head. If you’re a fan of Black Panther then you will definitely be able to picture it easily and will also enjoy it.
The Commentary on Social Issues
This book talks unapologetically about the horrors of war and the repurcussions of which destroys the lives of millions. It talks about how children are forced to draft into armies to fight, forced to kill from a young age, the mental and physical changes they go through and the untimely deaths which await them. Based on the horrific Nigerian war, the author does not shy away from the difficult talks of revenge, guilt, peace and family. It is brutal, action-packed and honest. It is the kind of book which makes you wonder and question and it will stay with you long after you have finished reading.
This book does not have romance but just small mentions of it. Both the relationships hinted at are f/f. The book ended so well and I am very excited to find out how Onyii and Ify’s stories continue.
The only problem I had with the book was that I found myself losing interest in a few parts. It gets too detailed at times which made me feel as if it was dragged. But then the good parts came and it would go back on track. But this little detail proved to be a downer for me.
Overall, War Girls is a brutal, heartbreaking, beautiful and impressive sci-fi and dystopia. Onyii and Ify’s story will move you and will stay with you long after. If you’re fans of Poppy War by R.F.Kuang, then you would definitely like War Girls too. So if you’re looking for your next sci-fi read, War Girls will be perfect for you.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for an advance eARC. All opinions are my own.
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