Penguin has dropped a surprise on us in the form of a triple threat announcement: A cover, excerpt, and title for a new book from Tochi Onyebuchi, author of BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT. His new book, WAR GIRLS, will release October 15th, 2019, and is being pitched as a BLACK PANTHER-inspired YA sci-fi story. Curious? You can check out the excerpt over at io9 and read my own thoughts below!
“The first thing Onyii does every morning is take off her arm.” It’s a simple yet powerful sentence that sets the tone for everything written after. Set 150 or so years in the future, WAR GIRLS takes place on an Earth ravaged by nuclear war and climate change. In war-torn Nigeria, two sisters live as part of a resistance group in the jungles outside the city, hiding from government mechs and drones. In the excerpt, we meet Onyii, a fifteen-year-old girl who has survived her share of combat, albeit at the cost of her right arm. Onyii now has a robotic arm to replace her missing limb, but that doesn’t stop the phantom limb syndrome that haunts her at night.
From the first paragraph on, Onyebuchi let’s his readers know the grim reality his characters inhabit. This is a grounded, gritty sci-fi, with child soldiers who already have PTSD, hiding from governments that will happily drop a bomb on them at the first opportunity. The circumstances that led to Onyii and her sister living with this rebel group are not explained in this brief passage, but it’s clear they’ve been living in such conditions for quite some time. It’s also interesting to note that this group appears to be all female; I expect some heavy sisterly bonding to be explored, bonds forged in the fires of combat.
It doesn’t seem quite right to say I’m “looking forward” to such grim subject matter, but I’ve definitely flagged this book to track. Onyebuchi doesn’t appear to be taking the horrors of war lightly, and I’m curious to see if and how he balances that tone so it’s not completely overwhelming.
What did you think of the WAR GIRLS excerpt? Have you put it on your TBR?