This is the sequel to Churcher’s novel ‘Battle Ground’ (which I previously reviewed here). It’s not a sequel in the normally understood sense, as it actually runs concurrently with the first novel and is written from the perspective of one of the other characters.
I was unsure at first whether this was clever or somewhat lazy but on reflection, have decided that it actually fits very well with the overall ‘theme’ of this series; that there are usually two (or more) sides to every story and that things are often less black-and-white than they seem.
The protagonist and antagonist in this side of the tale are reversed from those in the first book, and this means that we are unsure, really, of where our loyalties lie; as readers, we tend to support the protagonist – whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ does not factor much in that – but having already read these same events from that other viewpoint, makes it difficult to dissociate from the dislike of this character that the first novel engendered. I think that was intentional on Churcher’s part; cognitive bias and dissonance play a large part in our understanding of the world, and how we react to it, and Churcher has used this to play with the reader’s understanding of – and reactions to – the world she has created.
I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first, but I am not certain if that is because of the sense of divided loyalty, as mentioned above, or because that tale was, of course, essentially the same.
However, as I said in my review of ‘Battle Ground’, anything that engages the young with politics and philosophy gets much admiration and respect from me – and this novel has only increased that.
Once again, for the intended target YA audience, this one gets 5*.
Ketty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.
I do not get paid for reviews or blog tours and this is my honest feedback.