War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi left me in two minds. On one hand, it was a decent story well told. On the other, it just felt like it fell short of pulling me in as much as I thought it should have. That sounds paradoxical, but after waiting a day and thinking on it, it’s still how I feel.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d even get through it. It started slow, but chapter after chapter it did finally get moving to where the pace picked up and the meat of the story started unfolding. The Nigerian-Biafran War in the late 60s is one I knew nothing about before reading this. Set in the future, the author uses stories from his family’s history to build a world where the civil war takes place in the future.
Centred around two sisters, Onyii and Ify, fighting for what they believe in. Fighting to bring about peace. Fighting for justice. As characters, they work. They’re well fleshed out with plenty of backstories to make them real, but even still, this story left me feeling like it needed something more.
The world of the future is your typical post-nuclear world with radiation ready to kill you at a moments notice, but also with lots of interesting future tech like battle mechs and the like. Interestingly, I think the progression of the technology felt like it matched a future somewhat closer than 150 years hence.
Narrated by Adepero Oduye who I think delivered a decent performance. Enough variance in characters to tell them apart, but again fell short of something I’d consider as excellent. I suspect it’s largely in part to the story more than the narrators ability.
In short, this was a book I thought I’d really love, one that I tried really hard to love, but ultimately just ended up liking. Will I get the sequel? I doubt it.