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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, 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.


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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, 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.

30 review for War Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    It reeeeally bums me out to see people give up on War Girls or rate it poorly because they weren't familiar with the Nigerian Civil War and the history related to Biafra. Honestly, this reflects poorly on reviewers as a whole, given that the vast majority of GR reviewers (and reviewers with this particular complaint) are white and Western. We need to do better. If you find yourself confused or disinterested simply because you're not familiar with the Nigeria/Biafra conflict, before you DNF, try: →S It reeeeally bums me out to see people give up on War Girls or rate it poorly because they weren't familiar with the Nigerian Civil War and the history related to Biafra. Honestly, this reflects poorly on reviewers as a whole, given that the vast majority of GR reviewers (and reviewers with this particular complaint) are white and Western. We need to do better. If you find yourself confused or disinterested simply because you're not familiar with the Nigeria/Biafra conflict, before you DNF, try: →Skipping to the end (page 459 in the US ARC) and reading the author's note, which lays out the basics in 4 paragraphs. →Opening a second tab next to Goodreads and reading the first 2-3 paragraphs of the Wikipedia article on the Nigerian Civil War. I'm talking about literally 3-4 minutes learning the names of the nations at play and the premise of the conflict. (To be honest, I think the book reads fine even if you're new to the history. The author tells you who is Nigerian and who is Biafran and what that basically means. He even says in the author's note that this period of history isn't taught very much, so he's clearly expecting readers to come into War Girls with very little knowledge. But if you feel that's an obstacle to your reading experience, fine--that's what the internet is for.) For the record, I loved War Girls, but if I hadn't, it sure wasn't going to be because I didn't put in a minimum of effort. There are lots of reasons War Girls might not be your thing--it's not for everyone. And I still have a few complaints about the writing, so rating it low because the flashback structure wasn't successful or the characters seemed underwritten to you wouldn't be unreasonable. But that's not what I see happening. I see people not giving it a chance. This is where we walk the walk, people. If you say you want diverse voices, if you say you want untold stories, then you have to give them a fair chance. A sci-fi inspired by medieval Italy or the Cold War or whatever has the benefit of your built-in familiarity with the real history (especially if you're European or American). If you actually want marginalized voices, you won't always get that benefit. That's... the entire point. Turning your nose up at putting in 3 minutes of background skimming so you can read an #OwnVoices African-history-based book with the same level of engagement you'd read a Eurocentric fantasy? That really makes it sound like you don't actually want diverse voices, you just want the same exact thing you've always read, just with a person of color in the author's picture. This is what reading outside of your comfort zone means. It means sometimes you have to google the name of that unfamiliar food or country or honorific or object. And it means sometimes... gasp... you won't quite get everything. I think my cursory research was enough for me to grasp the story. Would I appreciate the book more if I had real, deep education on the topic? I'm sure I would have! I'm sure there's a lot of nuance I missed. Would Nigerian readers get more from this book than I did? Very likely. But maybe that's okay. Maybe I need to practice thinking of myself as a guest in the story rather than the primary audience. Anyway... here's my review of the actual book. It's phenomenal, and I'm so frustrated by the number of readers who not only won't give it a chance but will turn other readers away simply because they're unfamiliar with the background. Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing an advance review copy of this title. No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I’m ashamed to admit that I went into reading WAR GIRLS knowing almost nothing about the Nigerian Civil War that ravaged the country in the late 1960s, following a declaration of secession and resulting in the displacement and death by famine of countless millions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I held my breath through much of this book. It’s the story of two sisters, Onyii and Ify, who find each other on opposite sides of a devastating war, and explores the way violence ripples through lives, particularly those of c I’m ashamed to admit that I went into reading WAR GIRLS knowing almost nothing about the Nigerian Civil War that ravaged the country in the late 1960s, following a declaration of secession and resulting in the displacement and death by famine of countless millions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I held my breath through much of this book. It’s the story of two sisters, Onyii and Ify, who find each other on opposite sides of a devastating war, and explores the way violence ripples through lives, particularly those of children — innocents who should never have to watch their families die in front of them or be taught to hold guns bigger than they are. It is brutal, action-packed, and heartbreaking, and it is a masterpiece. It takes an author of great skill to instill such hope, love, and humanity into a topic of such intimate emotional pain, as a child of a mother who survived the civil war that inspired the book. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Please keep an eye out for this book to hit shelves October 15!

  3. 5 out of 5

    TABI⁷ (ᕗツ)ᕗ

    *clutches book to chest and strokes the cover lovingly whilst crooning under my breath all the love songs I can think of*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer

    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz I read Tochi Onyebuchi's debut Beasts Made of Night and thought his African focused story was something the book community needed. So when I saw he decided to make the plunge into a sci-fi dystopia type of African story I knew I needed to check it out!! And the cover totally does it justice... its gorgeous!! I'm not a fan of live faces on covers but it totally works for this (even though they could have taken it farther and given of Onyi Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz I read Tochi Onyebuchi's debut Beasts Made of Night and thought his African focused story was something the book community needed. So when I saw he decided to make the plunge into a sci-fi dystopia type of African story I knew I needed to check it out!! And the cover totally does it justice... its gorgeous!! I'm not a fan of live faces on covers but it totally works for this (even though they could have taken it farther and given of Onyii's facial augments too!!) And the title is spot on as well... we totally go all warrior girls for this... The Premise War Girls is a futuristic reimagining of the civil war between Biafra and Nigeria from the late 60s. The author cements this war in real facts and tensions making the divide between Ify and Onyii so wide that I was a nervous wreck!! We see from both sides that civil war particularly is a messy and ugly affair. However, it was hard for me to keep from picking a side. And unfortunately the side I chose is not the side I was supposed to choose. It's really odd to read and want the protagonist to fail. But each page that passed made me believe more and more that Biafra was in the wrong. However the author disagrees!! He explains in his author's note where he was inspired to write War Girls and I can see why he chose to rewrite history. I was really uncomfortable how Biafra acted in the war. The War Girls seemed to have no problem with the ethics of what they were doing. It seems that as long as its Africans who are enslaving a people its an okay practice. In fact the abd were my favorite part of the story, a slave soldier whose history and emotions were wiped. They successfully won my sympathy, particularly Agu. The villain of War Girls isn't clear until much later. Hints are made about religion but it influencing or causing the divide in the country was never brought up. I came to this conclusion due to certain religious mentions, scenes being included and the villains own remarks. But because it wasn't explained how the religious elements influenced each side I wasn't influenced by these very realistic motivations. The fact is I found the villain much more sympathetic than the Biafrans. Suddenly bringing up religion in the twist felt contrived instead of natural. The futuristic, war fraught world of War Girls is pretty incredible though. Augments of arms, legs, eyes, recovery from terrible trauma to the body, new fuel sources that allow for mechs, using bodies to create slave soldiers, a network that reveals how every technology links together... a really rich world with many fabulous ideas that were all necessary and pertinent to the story in War Girls. I just wish I was rooting for the winner of the war and that more steps were taken to show what both sides stood for. My Experience War Girls has a magnificent start... I thought for sure after part I that this would be a 5 star read for me. I totally fell for Ify even with her doing these secretive things behind Onyii's back. And Onyii's love for Ify totally won me over. I was immersed in their war torn, earth ravaged, tech saturated world just from the War Girls camp. When their world was torn apart my heart was ripped out with them. This part felt like the best short story I'd read with a powerful ending about the delicate balance there is in war. Then I started part II of War Girls. I felt like I had to start all over. Yeah, I still loved Onyii and Ify but everything was different. The story had rebooted. And I wasn't as enthralled by their situation. It took a whole new setup for War Girls to capture me again... and I admit I felt like the author jerked me around. Why all the vignettes? Start at the start!! In this "short story" I felt like I was on the wrong side. It made reading War Girls super tiring. The fact is I don’t want to be so worn out reading that I want to stop reading! By the time I started part III I realized I really hated this "short story" part I, II and III format. Not enough was shown to us about the war for us to understand why each side was in the right or wrong according to the author. We were just assumed to be on the protagonist's side of the war. As characters started to die I became really bored. The war ends for a stupid reason. Suddenly characters are acting out of character. Ify became a huge contrivance. The end wasn't satisfying and came too fast. I kept thinking that I wanted to understand and feel the war better. I think its really odd that this isn't a stand alone book!! To see that its the first of a series doesn't make sense since so many characters are dead. And where does the story go from that end?! I didn't feel like much happened in part III. If anything I think the war could have been expanded and the end of the war be the end of book 1. Then we get the aftermath in book 2. Cramming all of this into one book would only work well if War Girls was meant to stand alone. War Girls is a really ambitious futuristic reimagining of the civil war between Biafra and Nigeria... and it doesn't quite work. But Onyii and Ify will surely draw you in!! You'll want to see these sisters reunite and win the war... the pacing is quick and tense so prepare to go on a wild technological ride!! Whether you enjoy the end or not will depend on who you root to win the war... ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building A- Cover & Title grade Thanks to BookishFirst and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions. ______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews... Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Obida

    War Girls has lots of potential to be a great book but in my opinion it wasn't well utilised. Despite being a dystopian book, it's the first of it's kind, not only does it has black characters it is also set in Nigeria, that makes it the first dystopian book set in western Africa that I know of. I really wanted to love it but at the end of the day it was just another average book. Here are my reasons -The pacing was terrible, not only was there multiple time jumps of years apart but there was fl War Girls has lots of potential to be a great book but in my opinion it wasn't well utilised. Despite being a dystopian book, it's the first of it's kind, not only does it has black characters it is also set in Nigeria, that makes it the first dystopian book set in western Africa that I know of. I really wanted to love it but at the end of the day it was just another average book. Here are my reasons -The pacing was terrible, not only was there multiple time jumps of years apart but there was flashbacks in the time jump. Why do a time jump when you still have a lot to say about the present time. - Most of the characters weren't memorable, I cared nothing for most of the characters, they were just page fillers. If they were better developed I would have loved them better. Apart from the above the rest of the book was quite enjoyable. Below are the things I love about this book. - Even though this is a dystopian book, the author depicted Nigerians so well, their way of speaking and behaviour, some parts of the speaking wasn't overly done but I don't mind much. - The futuristic technology was not something I thought I'd enjoy but the author did such a good job that it was so easy to visualise. - The protagonists Ify and Onyii are well developed characters, they are not childish at all. Though sometimes I think Onyii is too matured for a teenager, then again war can do that. - The fight scenes and world building were above average, the author did a great job there. The plot is actually a historical event that happened in Nigeria 1967 after independence in 1960. The dystopian elements, cyborg and machinery in no way reduced the horrors of war, instead it made it better. The author didn't shy away from the gruesome scenes either, though it was slightly PG 13. Onyii and Ify are two sisters who were living inbetween the two waring nations. Onyii was a former child soldier. Their neutrality position changed when their home and camp was attacked by Nigerian soldiers and the sisters got separated. Believing eachother dead, they threw themselves into their new lives.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Received through Bookish. com I was so excited to read War Girls. I thought War Girls was going to be a fun, action packed story about two Black girls kicking ass. What I got was a boring repetitive story that meandered and never really accomplished anything. 2 stars because the first 100 pages were great but the book just fell apart after that. No rec.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    This was a book that I thought had a great premise, and I wanted so much to love it. But, there was something about the writing which failed to engage me as a reader. I didn't mind that the chapters are presented in alternating POV's as the two main characters (Ify and Onyii) have such integrated journeys, but I think maybe the present tense perspective did not work well for me. Present tense can be tricky. In theory it can make the reader feel closer to the character, but I find that ironically This was a book that I thought had a great premise, and I wanted so much to love it. But, there was something about the writing which failed to engage me as a reader. I didn't mind that the chapters are presented in alternating POV's as the two main characters (Ify and Onyii) have such integrated journeys, but I think maybe the present tense perspective did not work well for me. Present tense can be tricky. In theory it can make the reader feel closer to the character, but I find that ironically it sometimes it leads to a more limited perception of the character. There is something about the immediacy of events unfolding that can have the effect of distancing the reader. In this book, there were a lot of interesting thematic elements like the trauma of war and the effect on families and relationships, the found families and families of choice that form in the aftermath of violence, and how that violent beginning shapes them. There were also some great worldbuilding elements like the technology of everyday use in both cities and camps, and sophistcated machinery like giant war mechs. The problem is that for me, everything just felt so disconnected. Maybe Onyebuchi's writing is just not for me? I do still want to read Riot Baby though, and if I have the same experience of detachment with that one, then I would say that is it. In his notes at the end, Onyebuchi says one of the aims of this book was to throw open and illuminate a period of Nigerian history that he feels is not adequately represented. While I absolutely laude that effort, unfortunately I didn't feel that the book necessarily presented a story that had its roots in the singular experience of the Nigerian Civil War. As someone who came to the book with almost no knowledge or understanding of the historical conflict between Nigeria and Biafra, I felt disappointed to leave with no greater appreciation of that context. This story succeeds more as pure fiction set against a more commonly understood and generic background of armed conflict rather than one arising from a very specific cultural and historical context. All of that said, these are just my own specific thoughts about the book. I definitely would not steer someone away if it seems interesting to you. I like the ideas in the book and the efforts behind the writing of the story, it just did not engage me as much as I had hoped. It may be just the thing for someone else. One last word about the cover. Although I don't think it represents what Onyii actually looks like, that image of black female power is absolutely stunning and gorgeous. More of this please.

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    29/3/19 A scifi in Nigeria?? About two sisters and their bond?! WHAT?! My heart has dropped! This is freaking awesome, maybe I am biased because I'm Nigerian, but damn! I love how there is so much more diversity coming out in the literary world the past few years. The young girl inside of me that dreamed of reading stuff like is squealing! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website 29/3/19 A scifi in Nigeria?? About two sisters and their bond?! WHAT?! My heart has dropped! This is freaking awesome, maybe I am biased because I'm Nigerian, but damn! I love how there is so much more diversity coming out in the literary world the past few years. The young girl inside of me that dreamed of reading stuff like is squealing! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    In 2167 Nigeria is rent by a new civil war that mirrors the Biafran War of 200 years earlier. Onyii is one of a group of female former child soldiers who oversee a camp of refugees from the war including her adoptive sister Ifeoma (Ify). When Ify accidentally draws an attack on the camp by Nigerian soldiers the whole group is plunged back into the civil war. In this case that means Ify going to the Nigerian side because of her ethnic background and Onyii returning to her life as the dreaded mech In 2167 Nigeria is rent by a new civil war that mirrors the Biafran War of 200 years earlier. Onyii is one of a group of female former child soldiers who oversee a camp of refugees from the war including her adoptive sister Ifeoma (Ify). When Ify accidentally draws an attack on the camp by Nigerian soldiers the whole group is plunged back into the civil war. In this case that means Ify going to the Nigerian side because of her ethnic background and Onyii returning to her life as the dreaded mech pilot known as the Demon of Biafra. This draws from a series of horrific real world events across sub-Saharan Africa including the conflict over mineral resources in the Congo, the original Biafran War and the way that child soldiers are used in those conflicts, and places them in an ultra-futuristic setting with space stations, robot AI, mechs and nanotech. The story itself centers around the intertwining of grievance and family between Onyii and Ify and a Nigerian brother and sister Daren and Daurama and their complex interrelationships that ends up reenacting the overarching civil war and writing it small between these four characters. Onyii's spiral into violence and drug abuse after losing Ify is a bit hard to read about, and Ify's rise with the very unsympathetic Nigerians at the same time provides a harsh mirror, but it's still a good read. And even though the Nigerians are presented very poorly in terms of greed over resources in Biafran territory as well as ethic cleansing, the Biafrans aren't shown as being much better with atrocities being committed all over the place. As you would expect on a book with this subject matter, it can be very hard to read in places, even though in plenty of other places its about giant robots smacking each other around. It's a complex novel that I have complex feelings about, and I have absolutely no idea where the next book is going to go.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ✨Brithanie Faith✨

    3.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐.5 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Set in a futuristic, Black Panther inspired Nigeria, War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi is the story of two sisters, Onyii and Ify, who- despite being torn apart by war, dream of peace and a future where they can be together, and they're willing to do just about anything to make that happen! This novel wastes no time jumping straight into the action! When it comes to the first book in a series I'm usually not the biggest 3.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐.5 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Set in a futuristic, Black Panther inspired Nigeria, War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi is the story of two sisters, Onyii and Ify, who- despite being torn apart by war, dream of peace and a future where they can be together, and they're willing to do just about anything to make that happen! This novel wastes no time jumping straight into the action! When it comes to the first book in a series I'm usually not the biggest fan of that, but I had no issues whatsoever following the plot of War Girls, and I thoroughly enjoyed Onyii and Ify's point of view's alike! While I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where the story goes- I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending! In fact- up until the final quarter of this book I was unable to put it down, and then (for reasons I am unable to get into because of spoilers) I started to lose interest! That being said- I did come to care for the characters by the end, and I do think the sequel has the potential to be even better!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Monica **can't read fast enough**

    With strongly developed female characters, world building that is readily imaginable, and a plot that keeps the reader engaged War Girls is a tale that I would have loved to have read as a teen. ***I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*** Where you can find me: •(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)• Twitter: @monicaisreading Instagram: @readermonica Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase With strongly developed female characters, world building that is readily imaginable, and a plot that keeps the reader engaged War Girls is a tale that I would have loved to have read as a teen. ***I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*** Where you can find me: •(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)• Twitter: @monicaisreading Instagram: @readermonica Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    War Girls is s five star novel. It has a great plot, great theme, great everything. The novel was awesome and action-packed. I feel there should not be a book 2. The novel shouldnt have been a series. I liked how it ended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  With an awesome cover and cool premise, I thought for sure that I would love this one.  Instead it was very uneven. The story is a dystopian sci-fi drawn from the Nigerian and Biafra civil war of the 1960s.  It takes place in 2172 after the planet has been decimated from climate change.  The lucky ones have made it to space but the rest are back on Earth, struggling to survive.  At first the two main characters, Onyii and Ify live in a hidden camp of girls in Biafra.  Ify's Ahoy there me mateys!  With an awesome cover and cool premise, I thought for sure that I would love this one.  Instead it was very uneven. The story is a dystopian sci-fi drawn from the Nigerian and Biafra civil war of the 1960s.  It takes place in 2172 after the planet has been decimated from climate change.  The lucky ones have made it to space but the rest are back on Earth, struggling to survive.  At first the two main characters, Onyii and Ify live in a hidden camp of girls in Biafra.  Ify's family was originally Nigerian but Biafra has adopted her and considers her family.  However Ify is taken by the Nigerians in an attack and the sisters are split on either side of the divide. Onyii was a former child soldier of Biafra who gets involved in the war over losing Ify and quickly rises through the military ranks in her quest for revenge.  She be a fierce fighter.  Ify loves education and learning new technology.  She grows to love and support Nigeria even though she misses Onyii.  The book switches back and forth between the two perspectives.  Both girls are basically prodigies of a kind but I didn't mind that so much. I loved that this book was #ownvoices.  I loved learning about the Nigerian civil war.  I actually stopped reading early on so I could research background on the real war before finishing the book.  Nasty and heart-breaking.  It is a disgrace really how Nigerian territory was set up and how much other foreign nations interfered.  I loved how the sister's relationship changed over the course of the novel and how both are used as weapons in their own fashions.  I thought the commentary and metaphors around the use of child soldiers was well done.  I loved that women had such respect, strength, and high roles in the world. There were several major problems with this book.  The mechs, bionic implants, and other technology in the world really didn't make much sense.  It sounded cool but there were never good explanations for how the giant robots or neural networks really functioned.  It felt more like magic.  Also the book could have used a lot more description overall. The plot was extremely problematic.  The book was split into parts and jumped around quite a bit in time and place.  While part one was excellent, the story wasn't very straightforward after that.  The pacing was slow and I found so many parts to be either confusing or somewhat boring.  I know ye were supposed to root for Biafra but it was very hard to do so because the people were so brutal to both the Nigerians and their own citizens in their zeal to win the war.  I do understand that the brutality comes from the historical sources. I thought that the book could have been shorter and needed some serious pruning.  At times there was too much focus on action scenes which lead to a disconnect to the main characters for huge swathes of the book.  Many characters die and other characters don't get enough backstory or drop out of the book altogether.  There is good writing in this but it didn't always work.  And the ending was both kinda abrupt and unsatisfactory. Honestly I feel like book would have been better with a lot more editing and if it was a standalone.  I don't know if I would read the sequel but the author has talent and I would be interested in more of his future work.  Arrrr!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    "We have tried peaceful protest,” Ngozi continues. “We have tried marching. We have tried registering even those Igbo in the hinterlands to vote in the elections.” She speaks not like she’s reciting from an article or from some downloaded history but from life experience. She speaks like someone whose parents argued politics over the table at family dinners, like someone who was carried in her father’s arms during those peaceful marches. She speaks like someone who knew a period before war. Befo "We have tried peaceful protest,” Ngozi continues. “We have tried marching. We have tried registering even those Igbo in the hinterlands to vote in the elections.” She speaks not like she’s reciting from an article or from some downloaded history but from life experience. She speaks like someone whose parents argued politics over the table at family dinners, like someone who was carried in her father’s arms during those peaceful marches. She speaks like someone who knew a period before war. Before it all turned to violence." War Girls is the first installment in Tochi Onyebuchi's series of the same name. Having read Onyebuchi's adult science fiction novella Riot Baby earlier this year, I knew I would be reading more of his work sooner, rather than later. Especially after realizing that the sequel to War Girls, Rebel Sisters, comes out next month! The story is told in 2172 Nigeria, drawing on the actual civil war that took place between 1967-1970 when the Biafran's attempted to secede from Nigeria. The conflict was a result of much turmoil, including a series of massacres against the Igbo people. The war was brutal and there were an immeasurable amount of casualties, both military and civilian. War Girls takes what happened in real life and explores the question of what would transpire if it were in the near future. Told through alternating POV's over a span of multiple years, War Girls follows two sisters, Onyii and Ify. Onyii is a badass 15-year-old Augment with a bionic arm, after having lost it in battle as a child soldier. She oversees the entirely female camp made up of former child soldiers like herself, including her adoptive sister Ify. Ify is younger and a tech genius. She has created an Accent, which is a piece of technology that allows her to hack into operating systems and take control over them. War brought these two together, but as it rages on, it also threatens to tear them apart. "The world comes to Onyii as though she's wrapped in gauze. The sounds are muffled, the shapes blurred together, so that it's all colors swimming. The screams and the explosions sound like they're happening on the other side of the forest. But the pain. The pain is immediate." Advanced robotics, giant mechs, nanobot bees, carnage and queer rep. OH HELL YEAH! I've always been a sucker for coming-of-age stories and found family. War Girls is about both! Onyii and Ify have this similar vibe to T'Challa and Shuri from Black Panther. One a badass fighting machine, the other a brilliant hacker. Tackling the issues of climate change, colonization and the injustice of war. I truly felt as though I were experiencing the effects of war on these young characters - their vulnerability, how they were used as pawns and weaponized. Skillfully guiding the reader through the complex story, Onyebuchi has crafted something special with War Girls. Not only is it deeply character-driven, but the worldbuilding is deliberate and thought-provoking. Enormous plot twists aren't being thrown at every turn; rather, the strength of the characters will keep you interested, page by page. War Girls is a strong opener for what should be a ridiculously thrilling series with more than a few sneaky emotional gut-punches! I'm eager for the sequel! PS. How stunning is the cover by Nekro, designed by Kristin Boyle and Tony Sahara?!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter

    LOOK AT THIS GORGEOUS COVER! This is going to be fucking amazing!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Thank you to the publishers for providing a free copy of this book! 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, it’s like a futuristic version of Black Panther inspired by the Nigerian civil war. Reading the author’s note at the end made me feel truly touched by his intentions, and I think that a lot of the metaphors (about how the children basically become machines used to kill, much like how child soldiers were forced to fight in real life) worked out well, and of course the struggle with loved ones being Thank you to the publishers for providing a free copy of this book! 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, it’s like a futuristic version of Black Panther inspired by the Nigerian civil war. Reading the author’s note at the end made me feel truly touched by his intentions, and I think that a lot of the metaphors (about how the children basically become machines used to kill, much like how child soldiers were forced to fight in real life) worked out well, and of course the struggle with loved ones being on the opposite side of a conflict. If you are not familiar with the war, I didn’t find it too confusing however, as mentioned above, the author includes a historical note at the end which gives background on the conflict. It shows how the creation of territories with no regards to the people who actually live there and their own groups can cause lasting damages for generations and centuries, I had no trouble believing that this would be the case still in this futuristic setting. The book is incredibly action packed and I enjoyed Onyii and Ify and their sisterly bond, and showing how complex some of these relationships can be when you love someone who either is or should be on the other side of the conflict. I also thought that the tech was very imaginative. However, my main issue with this book is that there’s a lack of description. I can understand the war metaphors but considering that it is futuristic there is very little description of the technology, where people are physically located and the characters’ appearances beyond the machine elements of the war girls. Ultimately, while this book was fascinating and had a lot of potential for setting and atmosphere, it fell short. I am still planning on reading the sequel, and hopefully that is something that will improve!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received a teaser of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. ***TEASER COPY - NOT FULL BOOK REVIEW***. From the short teaser I read, the book sounds quite confusing and very tech filled. I enjoyed the full cast of females who seem to be warriors and am interested in how the book will progress, unfold and lead to. I'm curious to know if there are any males in this book and why there isn't if there is not. This is a book I want to read all of just the fi I received a teaser of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. ***TEASER COPY - NOT FULL BOOK REVIEW***. From the short teaser I read, the book sounds quite confusing and very tech filled. I enjoyed the full cast of females who seem to be warriors and am interested in how the book will progress, unfold and lead to. I'm curious to know if there are any males in this book and why there isn't if there is not. This is a book I want to read all of just the find out these things at some point.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    It took every fiber in my being not to yell ‘Wakanda Forever’ while reading this book. When a book is toted a Black Panther inspired Nigeria, I just can’t help myself. Black Panther is one of my all-time favorite movies. War Girls has a futuristic setting with the inspiration for the plot is being pulled from the savage civil war that was waged in Nigeria during the 1960s. That being said, you don’t need to be well versed or even have prior knowledge of this war to appreciate this beautifully spu It took every fiber in my being not to yell ‘Wakanda Forever’ while reading this book. When a book is toted a Black Panther inspired Nigeria, I just can’t help myself. Black Panther is one of my all-time favorite movies. War Girls has a futuristic setting with the inspiration for the plot is being pulled from the savage civil war that was waged in Nigeria during the 1960s. That being said, you don’t need to be well versed or even have prior knowledge of this war to appreciate this beautifully spun tale by Onyebuchi. This story follows Onyii and Ify, two sisters living in a refugee camp for girls who managed to escape the clutches of the brutal war, which has left a wake of nuclear destruction, famine, an political unrest in its wake. In this camp the girls are self sufficient. In addition to maintaining their studies they also train in weapons handling and combat. Most of the girls have augments; nanotechnology infused limbs or organs. Everything changes when the camp is raided, and Onyii and Ify are captured and separated. They now must face their new lives and roles on opposing sides of the war. Onyii and Ify were both fierce and independent characters that I could get behind. Onyii has been a child soldier for most of her life. She became an expert marksman when guns were bigger than her. Equipped with a mechanistic arm that is infused with advanced nanotechnology, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Ify may not be the killing epert that Onyii is, but her technological abilities allows her to control entire data networks, which means she gains access to everyone’s secrets and can bring down entire systems. As someone who absolutely loved Black Panther, it was easy to imagine this futuristic world that these girls lived in from the mechanistic limbs and flying suits to Ify’s kimono beads that allowed her to tap into intricate networks. I loved every single second. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this trilogy has to offer. Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing an ARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    Beautiful cover but this book wasnt for me. I loved the beginning of the book. I liked the idea of the book. Set in the future there is a war going on in this country. I liked the female cast of soldiers and the fighting. But there came a part of the book where I just got to confused with what was going on and eventually lost interest. I was really disappointed. Wanted to love it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. This was a difficult book to get through. Tochi Onyebuchi tells a story of female child and teen soldiers against a backdrop of a brutal war in the future between Nigeria and Biafra. The author uses the actual war that occurred in the 1960s, and his family’s experiences to flesh out this story. The story is told through Onyii, a terrifying Biafran teen soldier, and Ifeoma, Ify, her younger, adopted sister. There is plenty of violence throughout the story, and we see people on both side 3.5 stars. This was a difficult book to get through. Tochi Onyebuchi tells a story of female child and teen soldiers against a backdrop of a brutal war in the future between Nigeria and Biafra. The author uses the actual war that occurred in the 1960s, and his family’s experiences to flesh out this story. The story is told through Onyii, a terrifying Biafran teen soldier, and Ifeoma, Ify, her younger, adopted sister. There is plenty of violence throughout the story, and we see people on both sides committing atrocities. It’s difficult to get a handle on Onyii, and I suspect that’s because of her long years as a soldier under terrific stress and in terrible situations. She cares for her fellow soldiers, and loves Ify, but everything feels muted and broken in her. Ify never fought, and has an intense curiosity and love of learning, and despite growing up around the war girls, and experiencing awful things, has a lightness to her. I couldn’t help but feel a certain blackness as I read about how the awful actions by one character precipitated and perpetuated further brutalities by other characters, until war became just one long terrible cycle of violence. (And profits for the Western nations manipulating sides for their own ends.) And just when I thought that this story would be nothing but violence, I found myself tearing up at the end because of a final act of love and generosity from one sister to another. This was not an easy or enjoyable book to read, but it got me thinking a lot about the costs of war on children.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amber (The Book Bratz)

    The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I received an ARC of WAR GIRLS are BookExpo 2019! I met Tochi ass BookExpo this year and though I wasn't familiar with his previous works he was incredibly fun to talk to and was down to earth. He was also super excited to talk with everyone who was on his signing line and made sure that everyone was able to have their moment to talk to him. I didn't know about War Girls until the cover reveal and ever since then I KNEW that I just had to rea The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I received an ARC of WAR GIRLS are BookExpo 2019! I met Tochi ass BookExpo this year and though I wasn't familiar with his previous works he was incredibly fun to talk to and was down to earth. He was also super excited to talk with everyone who was on his signing line and made sure that everyone was able to have their moment to talk to him. I didn't know about War Girls until the cover reveal and ever since then I KNEW that I just had to read this book. Though I didn't love War Girls as much as I hoped I was going too, I still did enjoy the story can't wait to see where Tochi is going to take these girls next. I read a lot of science fiction and having a person of color as the main character isn't something I have seen often, so it was really nice to see the representation in this novel and I hope it is something we start seeing more of in science fiction. Some of Tochi's inspiration for War Girls came from the Nigerian Civil War. I admit, I know almost nothing about the Nigerian Civil War and this novel opened my eyes to a horrible period of time in the worlds history. I enjoyed most of War Girls but I do feel like there were things that could have used a lot more development. The novel takes place in a ravaged country in 2172, there has been nuclear fall out, war, famine the landscape is radically different as well as technology. War Girls falls heavily on technology and the advances it makes in becoming one with humans. Every concept in War Girls was interesting and cool but I had a hard time picturing it. I feel like there needed to be more description and explanation to what things are. I went back a few times to make sure that I didn't miss a description, but there really wasn't one. There is a lot that I wasn't to talk about but I can't because I don't want to spoil any of War Girls for those who are looking forward to it. Though I did have my few issues with War Girls I did really enjoy Onyii and Ify's story and can't wait to see what Tochi has in store for these girls next.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    4.5 stars. Review originally published at Fantasy Literature. Onyii is a battle-hardened soldier, weary of war. She’s 15. Her adopted sister, Ify, is even younger and a budding tech genius. The two live in a rebel compound of Biafran girls, hidden by a signal dampener from the Nigerian government. Tochi Onyebuchi gives the reader a little quiet time in the camp, to meet the characters and learn about the technologies they use — and then the camp is discovered, and a riveting battle scene begins. On 4.5 stars. Review originally published at Fantasy Literature. Onyii is a battle-hardened soldier, weary of war. She’s 15. Her adopted sister, Ify, is even younger and a budding tech genius. The two live in a rebel compound of Biafran girls, hidden by a signal dampener from the Nigerian government. Tochi Onyebuchi gives the reader a little quiet time in the camp, to meet the characters and learn about the technologies they use — and then the camp is discovered, and a riveting battle scene begins. Onyii and Ify are separated, swept apart into two very different lives on opposite sides of the war, each believing the other dead. They will meet again four years later, as enemies. War Girls (2019) is based on the real-life Nigerian Civil War, but moved forward into the 22nd century. There are cybernetic body enhancements, maglev cars, and giant battle mech suits. But one thing never changes: war is hell. Onyebuchi skillfully explores the way war changes the people who fight in it: the way people dehumanize the other side, the fact that even people with admirable goals might still resort to unethical means to achieve them, and especially, the effects of the war on the child soldiers expected to be war machines when they’re really just kids. War machines in the literal sense, in this case, because some end up with bodies more mechanical than human. Their minds and hearts are still human, though, and it’s bittersweet but beautiful to see how love, in various forms, still asserts itself among these young people who have been shown so little of it. This is pretty heavy stuff for YA, but I’d say that older teens who can handle books like The Hunger Games can probably take War Girls too — though its grounding in real-world events makes it harder to detach from. There are a few places late in the book where the narrative logic seems a bit shaky. This is particularly the case with (view spoiler)[the girls’ rescue by Xifeng; I was left wondering both how she physically managed it, and how she happened to be there at that exact moment in the first place. (hide spoiler)] This feels like a deus ex machina, and I reread the scene a few times to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Overall, though, War Girls is an excellent book, both exciting and thought-provoking. There are intense battle scenes and lots of cool tech, and in between all that, you’ll also find complex relationships and heroic sacrifice, and learn about a period in history that isn’t often taught in school. A sequel, Rebel Sisters, will be released in October 2020, and I’m eager to read it, but War Girls is self-contained enough to stand alone. Definitely read Onyebuchi’s Author’s Note at the end, which further explains the background and suggests some more good books to read. War Girls is a finalist for the 2020 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    Ever read a book that you thought would've been more effective as a movie? That's what happened here. It was mostly action, and I think this story would've been better suited for a visual medium because of that. I'm all for a futuristic Nigeria as the setting. That was pretty cool. Bonus points for incorporating commentary on the Nigerian Civil War. Haven't heard much about that before, so it was interesting to look into it and learn something new. Without a doubt, that historical tie-in was the Ever read a book that you thought would've been more effective as a movie? That's what happened here. It was mostly action, and I think this story would've been better suited for a visual medium because of that. I'm all for a futuristic Nigeria as the setting. That was pretty cool. Bonus points for incorporating commentary on the Nigerian Civil War. Haven't heard much about that before, so it was interesting to look into it and learn something new. Without a doubt, that historical tie-in was the strongest part of the book. Unfortunately, it was the characters that lost me a little. I found it difficult to connect with them. Something about the writing there just didn't click with me. I did appreciate the action of the story though. This had quite a lot happening, so no complaints there. Overall, I think this was just okay. Personally, I don't really I care enough about the characters to continue on with the series. That being said, what didn't work for me could totally work for another reader. I wouldn't shy anyone away from reading this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    What a story. This is a futuristic sci-fi dystopia, but also a bit of historical fiction. War Girls tells the story of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war, but framed in a future conflict. Climate change has wrecked the world, and only the lucky people have escaped to space. Radiation poisons the land, and people commonly gain bionic limbs and artificial organs in order to combat that. Two siblings: Onyii and Ify lived peacefully in the forest, with the other War Girls until they're separated. Onyii What a story. This is a futuristic sci-fi dystopia, but also a bit of historical fiction. War Girls tells the story of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war, but framed in a future conflict. Climate change has wrecked the world, and only the lucky people have escaped to space. Radiation poisons the land, and people commonly gain bionic limbs and artificial organs in order to combat that. Two siblings: Onyii and Ify lived peacefully in the forest, with the other War Girls until they're separated. Onyii joins a military effort, while Ify, who is gifted with tech abilities, goes to a prestigious university. It took me a while to get into and orient myself with the different sides of the conflict presented in this book. It was more complicated than I thought it would be, and the narrator sped up did not say Biafra in a way I recognized it (but that's a me problem). But what I loved about this was the relationship between these sisters, and how much they loved each other, even from different sides of a war. We see what the years of violence and war can do to people, and this trauma is brought several different times. Onyii talks about it at one point about how she has nothing else, she knows nothing else except violence, and that it probably the most severe casualty of war. There was so much going on in this book, and I freaking loved it. I kind of want to reread it, because I'm sure there's a ton of information I missed. If you're new to learning about Nigerian/Africa history, I would highly recommend reading the Author's Note first! It will help you frame a lot of the events in the book. Or google the Nigeria/Biafran conflict. Either works. Ify was my brain child. I loved her yearning for knowledge, I could really relate to it myself as a PhD student in science. She was so curious and it made me so happy. Her relationship with her foster brother, kind of bothered me though. I didn't like he was constantly trying to control her movements, or shelter her from stuff he deemed "too challenging" to her. Onyii is my sword arm. Her physical prowess was nothing short of amazing. But damn did it take a toll on her. Onyii deals with so much, from PTSD, drug addiction to generalized depression/anxiety, and I just wanted to hug her and protect her from the world. I also pictured her as 5-10 years older than Ify, but I'm not certain how much older she is. This book takes place over several years which I really loved, because we got to see a lot of the consequences of war and how it can change a country. There are two really great F/F relationships in here too and my queer heart was super happy. I cannot wait for the sequel!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I never read fantasy but girl is serving boss lewks on that cover 👅😍

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anja H.

    "Black Panther–inspired Nigeria." ... ... *adds to list*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tilly

    2.5 stars I wanted to love this book. Strong african women and sci fi?! It's on to a winner! But sadly War Girls fell short in execution for me. Things I liked: - I love fictional stories that bring attention to real life situations and War Girls certainly does that. The book is based in war torn Nigeria based on the Nigerian Civil War which began in 1967. - Strong women of colour. YA fantasy doesn't have enough African characters and so having the leads to be 2 strong and very sufficient women was 2.5 stars I wanted to love this book. Strong african women and sci fi?! It's on to a winner! But sadly War Girls fell short in execution for me. Things I liked: - I love fictional stories that bring attention to real life situations and War Girls certainly does that. The book is based in war torn Nigeria based on the Nigerian Civil War which began in 1967. - Strong women of colour. YA fantasy doesn't have enough African characters and so having the leads to be 2 strong and very sufficient women was a breath of fresh air. - There were a few battle scenes and sci fi ideas that were brilliant and unique. Things I didn't like: - The pacing. The book felt incredibly rushed at the start which meant the world building and explaining just wasnt there so I was confused for a lot of the first half. It was also rushed at the end and inbetween many parts felt slow or over thought and too wordy. This may be why I felt myself from the outside looking in rather than being fully immersed in the story. - The jargon. Use of jargon is fine, but explain a bit about what it all means or your readers will be left not being able to picture most of the technology in sci fi book! - I hate saying this but the writing just wasn't for me. I didnt find it flowed very well and it was often way too detailed and dare I say it....boring. - I didn't connect with the characters. Not enough back story or even dialogue between characters was there to gain a sense of their personalities aside being killing machines. It lead to me feeling disconnected. Although I enjoyed parts of it, there wasn't enough there to make me want to continue this book. Thank you to Darkroom tours and Razorbill for gifting this book in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    I received an ARC from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. War Girls follows Onyii and Ify two sisters in a war torn world. The book takes place in 2172 where there was a nuclear war. I honestly had such high hopes for this book, especially because the cover is so beautiful and looks promising. I didn’t like this book as much as I had hoped. I love anything and everything fantasy, and I was very excited to read about a futuristic world that has been through so much. I honestly had so ma I received an ARC from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. War Girls follows Onyii and Ify two sisters in a war torn world. The book takes place in 2172 where there was a nuclear war. I honestly had such high hopes for this book, especially because the cover is so beautiful and looks promising. I didn’t like this book as much as I had hoped. I love anything and everything fantasy, and I was very excited to read about a futuristic world that has been through so much. I honestly had so many moments where I had no idea what was going on. I wish there would have been way more descriptions and how exactly the technology worked as well. I couldn’t picture anything, it sounded cool, how people were made with machines, but it never really says how the technology actually works. I kept getting sidetracked because I just couldn’t immerse myself into this world. I have to say I know nothing about the Nigerian Civil War and maybe if I had researched more about that, I would have understood better what was happening. Don’t get me wrong this is a promising book, I just really couldn’t immerse myself because I like to know more background information. I did really love the bond between the two sisters that this book follows, and how they will stop at nothing to help each other. I mean even the bond the War Girls have with each other was awesome. Another aspect I enjoyed was how it was action packed from chapter one. I really think this book will be spectacular in most people’s eyes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    War Girls is one of those books which builds up with an intensity. From the beginning I was hooked, but as I kept turning the pages, I fell more and more in love with the story and the characters. War Girls is a story about the consequences of war and the road to peace. War Girls is, unsurprisingly, a story about war. The children who look up to the sky and see the shadows of drones. Built on the historical conflict of the Nigerian Civil War, War Girls is a powerful book that refuses to let us w War Girls is one of those books which builds up with an intensity. From the beginning I was hooked, but as I kept turning the pages, I fell more and more in love with the story and the characters. War Girls is a story about the consequences of war and the road to peace. War Girls is, unsurprisingly, a story about war. The children who look up to the sky and see the shadows of drones. Built on the historical conflict of the Nigerian Civil War, War Girls is a powerful book that refuses to let us walk away. Told over a span of years, Onyebuchi refuses to give us easy answers about guilty, revenge, and peace. A conflict over minerals, over the ground they walk on, turns into something more - a rhetoric that pits neighbors against each other. That twists the metal beating underneath our skin. From the beginning I fell in love with the science fiction elements. Told from the perspectives of Ify and Onyii, the two main characters, War Girls is a story that examines these two girl's lives. Not only that, but their relationship, their sisterhood, their love. Their lives, even while they are just individuals, play out across screens and distance. What is the truth in war? It isn't as concrete as we think, malleable in warm hands and shadowed in the daylight.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    I truly loved this novel. I reread it multiple times. I hate books that in any way deal with war or soldiers but this was so elegantly done. Be familiar with the Biafran War before you read this. I loved Half of a Yellow Sum by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie so I had a passing familiarity. Even the wikipedia article will be enough but try to understand what happened historically before reading this.

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