I finally finished it! I started reading this book on December 6th and finished it on December 21st. TWO WEEKS. It took me two weeks to finish this book because A Vow So Bold and Deadly put me in a reading slump! Ugh!
Anyways! Yes, I finally finished Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi. If you haven’t read War Girls yet, I highly suggest checking out my spoiler free review of that book. This review may contain spoilers for the first book though it will be a spoiler free review. I received an ARC from Razorbill through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not impacted my review and all opinions are my own.
Rebel Sisters (War Girls #2) by Tochi Onyebuchi
Published: November 17, 2020
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
In the epic, action-packed sequel to the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.
It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed–the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies.
Back in the still devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened.
Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the corrupt homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.
I loved War Girls and I was excited to see what happened to Ify and Onyii and was immediately heart broken to find out that Onyii is not in this book. We get Ify’s perspective and a new character, Uzo, which I was not expecting. And it actually made me really sad. I really wanted to read the book from Onyii’s perspective and know that she was okay, but Tochi clearly doesn’t want to spare anyone’s feelings for this book.
Off the bat, it was so weird to see Ify all grown up. Five years is a long time and Ify is not only more mature, but she’s almost a different person. Putting aside all of the trauma she suffered in Nigeria, Ify is determined to make a good life for herself in the Space Colonies. She has new friends, including two adoptive mothers who treat Ify like their own, her own place, and a new career as a doctor.
But things from Uzo’s perspective show that Nigeria is healing and the government wants to ensure that no one remembers the war. As a synth, or a human-machine hybrid, she is a Frankenstein’s monster of different parts fleshed together with machines to give her purpose. Unfortunately, her purpose was for war. With no war left, she was abandoned and saved by the same humanitarian that had saved Ify, Xifeng.
Ify’s life is going well, until she realizes that children, especially other synths, are falling into a coma-like state and no one knows why. And nobody even realizes they’re synths. Ify is tasked to go down to Earth, back home to Nigeria, to figure out what is causing this epidemic. Her and her assistant, Grace, head down and that’s when things get crazy.
While I loved this book, I missed Onyii!! I really wanted her in this book and I’m so upset she’s not. It makes me so sad. Plus, Uzo’s narration is really hard to read at times. She speaks in present tense, which is fine, but it makes action scenes and other fast paced moments hard to understand at times. We’re reading it as she’s experiencing it and that means taking the time to fully read what’s happening.
There really wasn’t much I disliked besides Uzo’s narration, though I understand why she speaks that way. I also wished that the middle was a bit more fleshed out. We kind of jump to various plot points with no full explanation at times. While it’s easy to figure out what’s going on, it means that this story is fast and jumpy as we move from one scene to the next. War Girls felt more fleshed out overall and I think that Rebel Sisters wasn’t given the full amount of time to develop.
Plus, this book is completely plot based instead of character based like War Girls, which made the story feel even more detached. It’s definitely not my favorite between the two, but again, I still liked it. I’m excited to read more from Tochi in the future! .75 // 5 stars.