Book Review: War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

  • Title: War Girls
  • Author: Tochi Onyebuchi
  • Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy, African fantasy, military fiction, futuristic fiction
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Yes

From Goodreads:

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. 

My review:

War Girls is set on a future Earth, torn by war and devastated by radiation. Onyii and Ify are sisters, not by blood, but by shared experience. They live in a camp of War Girls, girls who are part of the rebel faction of Biafra. War is raging between Biafra and Nigeria, and these girls have no other home. Onyii and Ify long for a free and independent Biafra, a life where they can live in peace. But for now, they must fight. The girls are enhanced by different types of tech, and they are assisted by droids using nanobot technology. They use every resource they can to protect themselves from the radiation that permeates the atmosphere.

When the War Girls’ camp is located and destroyed by Nigerians, Onyii and Ify are separated. Each thinking the other is dead, they go on to very different lives. Ify lives in Nigeria, one of their best and brightest minds, with what appears to be a glorious future ahead of her. Onyii still fights for freedom, and she makes a name for herself as the Demon of Biafra, the most devastating military weapon Biafra has. But the day is coming when each will learn that the other lives, and that will change everything.

I knew almost nothing about the Nigerian War when I read this book. Part of the author’s stated intent is to bring more awareness to that period of history, and it was very interesting to learn about. I’d like to know more.

The story itself is jam-packed with action. There are battles and betrayals, secrets revealed and relationships reconciled. There is also some interesting commentary on what makes us human and what family can really mean. There were some sections where the story got a bit muddled and hard for me to keep straight, and I had to go back and reread a handful of times to make sure I understood where things were heading. But it was good enough to hold my attention throughout, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bookish First. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books that I don’t like.

About bunkie68

Mom to boys. Happily married. Jesus follower. Avid reader. Proofreader, trying to make it an actual paying job. Amateur foodie. Scentsy consultant. I thrive on chocolate and strong coffee, and I need some extra hours in my day.
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