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.
Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, War Girls, and Riot Baby, published by Tor.com in January 2020. He has graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’études politiques with a Masters degree in Global Business Law.
His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Omenana, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, and elsewhere. His non-fiction has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Nowhere Magazine, Tor.com and the Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy. He is the winner of the Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African and has appeared in Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading list.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Connecticut, Tochi is a consummate New Englander, preferring the way the tree leaves turn the color of fire on I-84 to mosquitoes and being able to boil eggs on pavement. He has worked in criminal justice, the tech industry, and immigration law, and prays every day for a new album from System of a Down.
It was better than the first book. And I like how Tocho Onyebuchi includes Today's China. For example, in Xifeng the government treat the Muslims and force them to become "Chineses". Something I liked is the relationship between Ify and Uzo and how they both have each crisis to handle and it can read from each point of view.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*
The sequel to War Girls, five years after the war that took place. Ify is now 19 years old, living in the Space Colonies, working to become a doctor. Back in Nigeria, Uzo, a synth who can't remember who she is, and an aid worker named Xifeng are working to preserve the memories of the lives lost during the war. When a mysterious virus breaks out in the children on the Space colonies, Ify and Uzo's world's collide.
I liked this more than War Girls, but it still wasn't my favourite thing I've read this year. I liked the theme of trying to work past trauma and what that means for different people. I did like how much Ify has grown from the first book but I thought the chapters from Uzo's POV were far more interesting than Ify's, because there was such a mystery behind her character. I like how we slowly learn more about her story as she becomes more self-aware and the story progresses. It took me a bit of time to get invested in the story and dragged quite a bit at the beginning. I read the first book right before this one, which would make you think that I would be able to dive into this one and be fully invested, but alas... that was not the case. The story was also a bit predictable, which was a bit disappointing.
Overall, it was alright, and I enjoyed it for what it was, but I didn't love it.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Rebel Sisters is a story about the importance of the past as we move forward. A central question asked throughout the book, is how do we move on from trauma, from wars, from a world that isn't our own anymore. Onyebuchi presents a clever perspective on the future of connectivity and the dangers it could pose. The ways it can be used for knowledge, but also erasure. At the same time, Rebel Sisters asks us if people can change, if we are defined by our mistakes, and if we can move on as individuals.
Rebel Sisters examines the lies we tell other people, the fake stories we bring forth from the shadows. During the book, it also discuses the role of our past as a person and as a country. How can we strike a balance between recognizing the past, while not being consumed by it? And by our role in the bloodshed. I am consistently fascinated and in awe of Onyebchi's worldbuilding and ideas. Rebel Sisters is no different.
i enjoyed the first book.. no need for this book.. but we’re here.. the 1st to 3rd person back and forth narrative between Uzo and Ify was annoying, confusing and scattered the premise of the story was good however it was executed poorly and as unorganized as possible
notes to remember story: year 2181 4 years have passed Ify and her ‘sister’ Uzo have been apart Ify is 19 years old now, training to be a doctor, living in space colonies a virus has broken out unknown cause..Ify is trying to save the dying Uzo is a synth Who has lost her memory which is coming back slowly piece by piece in a nonsensical way Ify goes to Nigeria Ify discovers that Uzo is the cure to the virus brings her her to space colonies Uzo saves lives and even extends life expectancy itself
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Rebel Sisters is set five years after the events in War Girls, and Ify has fully adapted to her new life in the Space Colonies. However, her old life and her new one begin to intersect when a mysterious virus sweeps through the refugee children that Ify is responsible for.
I found the beginning of Rebel Sisters very intriguing, but the story lost of a bit of momentum for me when Ify went back to Nigeria since it seemed like the virus plot really took a backseat to the rest of the story, which really focuses on memories, trauma, and healing. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how Uzo would fit into the story, but I ended up loving both her chapters and her journey throughout the book. Ify definitely grows and matures throughout this book, but I just didn’t find her chapters as compelling.
Overall, I thought that Onyebuchi did an excellent job examining how history affects us, and the role that our memories of trauma can play in determining our future. It was interesting to see both sides of the ethics of changing memories through Xifeng and Ify’s stories, although I was slightly surprised to see
Rebel Sisters is a thought-provoking book that brings up a lot of philosophical questions. But it still didn’t quite work for me - I wish the virus plot had been more thoroughly integrated with the rest of the book, and I thought the ending came a bit out of nowhere (The way it was resolved is very deus ex machina, which I’m not a huge fan of). And while it is more of a companion novel to War Girls, you definitely should read that one to understand the full context of this one. If you enjoyed War Girls though, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
* I received an advance digital copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It’s been too long since I indulged in some #sciencefiction. I’m really glad this is the title that broke my fast.
Didn’t realize this was a series when I started this read. But having not read the first did not diminish my reading. I do want to read the first one now as well tho.
Good sci-fi uses current cultural and political unrest to create fantasy societies and science that are remarkably relevant.
Rebel Sisters does just that and does it so well! You’re going to get colonization, immigrants, oppression, and war. Plus there are eerie, unsettling moments that you only get with Sci-Fi. The descriptions of a too perfect cul-de-sac gave me chills. Finally, I must mention the women in this book made me feel empowered. Definitely recommend!
I received an early copy of this title from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars. A bit slower than War Girls but I was pleasantly surprised by this sequel. Such a deep dive into aspects of war, healing, trauma, government and identity. I really adored one of the POV’s in this book and they were one of the highlights of this story.
It’s difficult to talk about all the things I loved about Rebel Sisters without going into major spoilers of War Girls.
Rebel Sisters takes place about five years after the events of War Girls. Tochi Onyebuchi does a fantastic job exploring the healing process after war- at both an individual and societal level. How does a country heal? Is it better to forget? Is it better to face the trauma head-on?
This sequel is a lot slower than the first book. There isn’t as much action as the first, and that might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what type of reader you are.
I do want to point out that one of the perspectives in this sequel is told from the first person present point of view, which initially threw me off. It was relatively easy to get into the rhythm after a few chapters.
First thing first, lemme thank Fairyloot and Penguin Teen for gifting me an arc of this wonderful tale. Full disclaimer: this is an honest review, I’m no way bias. True to college fashion, I am posting my review at midnight before release🤫 Anyway let's not waste any more time and get to reviewing.
This is a book that is meant to be savored. I’m a fast reader. It’s very common for me to finish a 300-page book in a day (maybe two). However, every once and again a book comes along that I must force myself to fully absorb. And I am happy to say that Rebel Sisters was one.
If you don’t know, Rebel Sisters is the sequel to Tochi Onyebuchi’s highly acclaimed War Girls. Which follows girl genius Ify and her older sister Onyi through the trials of the Biafran war. Through a series of events, the sisters end up on opposing sides of the war. If you want to read more about it here’s the link
Now, I didn’t like War Girls. There was nothing bad, it was just too character-driven for my taste at that time. There was no exact storyline, the entire book we're just following the journey of Ify and Onyi. Which was fine for the first half of the book, but as soon I passed the halfway mark of the book I started to lost interest. And ultimately I just stopped reading. However, after reading Rebel Sisters, I’m considering going back because this book was simply too good. I truly had a lot of fun reading this book, Tochi killed it.
Like War Girls, Rebel Sisters follows two perspectives; instead of Ify and Onyi, this time around we follow Ify and Uzo, a Synth on a quest to recover her past.
It’s been four years since the Biafran War, and Ify has now taken refuge in a space colony where she is working to complete her doctor training. She is still haunted by the war, she has lost all the people she once called family. Despite being on her own, she seems to have found some footing, she’s a doctor and a damn good one. And she’s determined to do good in the world. But being a young West African immigrant in White ran colony there’s a lot of passive racism working against her. She doesn’t tell anyone about her past, in fact, she’s become deadset on reinventing herself entirely. Only it’s not as easy as it sounds, she can’t escape who she is and what she’s been through. So when a deadly virus attacks the colony she is forced to return to Nigeria and herself. Ify has very much evolved since the last book, wherein War Girls she was very bright-eyed and naive, in Rebel Sisters she’s become more realist. She sees the world as it is and not as she hopes it be. Not only that, but she’s very much come into her power, she’s not waiting for anyone’s approval or affirmation. But most impressively of all, she’s not hopeless. Given all that she’s been through I would understand if she was, but on the contrary, she’s still set on making the world a better place. Which is all she’s ever wanted. If I liked her in War Girls, I loved her in Rebel Sisters.
Uzo is a mystery, she doesn’t know who she is or where she’s from. All she has is a series of memories that don’t belong to her, a deadly skillset she can’t seem to get a handle of, and the name of a girl she can’t remember: Ify. I absolutely loved reading Uzo’s perspective. I don’t want to gush, but girl was bomb. I will say her mystery was predictable, still it was fun watching her unravel herself.
Unlike War Girls, Rebel Sisters is very plot driven. Ify must find the cause and thus cure for the virus that rapidly killing children, whereas
Again I don’t want to go into the plot because I didn’t read the final version, so I going to speak more on the general theme. This book was a study of memory and trauma. How often we as a society are willing to erase traumatic memories in the aftermath for the sake of appearances. But doing so only hinders our growth. We see that with Ify as she actively trying to erase herself. And Uzo, who has lost her memories and must now spend her life trying to recover.
Also, the aftermath of war, in general, is a heavy theme in this book and it was very heart-wrenching. What does one do after fighting a war for years? What does a country after being war-torn for decades? What is the recuperation period? This is often glossed in fiction, but it’s a heavy topic that I hope to see more of.
Tochi is one of the few writers I have read that has mastered the balance of science and fantasy. Sci-fi as a genre can be very technical at times, all machinery and the jargon can be a headache to keep up with. Yet, not once with Rebel Sisters or War Girls did I feel overwhelmed or intimidated. And understanding how augments and synths work was just
Rebel Sisters is mainly set in a futuristic Nigeria, and thus there’s a prevalent influence of Nigerian culture. Yet, there’s no long exposition on how and why things work. You’re just thrown in, and you just got to roll with. Now, this may be a turnoff for some people, so fair warning; I loved it. I’m not fond of expositional worldbuilding, it can be done well by the right author, but oftentimes it just bogs the story down.
As for the Nigerian influence of the story, I loved being immersed in. When it comes to nonwestern cultures there’s a frustrating tendency, particularly in YA, to over-explain everything; food, religion, clothing, you name it they explain it. It’s the unsubtle othering of Black and Brown culture and it irks my soul, you don’t have to tell me what jollof rice is. I appreciate being given the benefit of doubt.
3.5 stars. This has a lot of interesting ideas about government control of literally what people’s eyes see or what they remember. And we get a lot more of the setting than I remember seeing in the first book. However, this book is really hard to read for some reason. The pacing just makes it difficult to get into. But it’s a very interesting series overall.
Rebel sisters is an epic read following War girls by Tochi Onyebuchi. It was fast paced, heart wrenching and full of twists and turns. I enjoyed this story and the narration just as much as the first book. Powerful and entrancing
In this action-packed sequel to War Girls, Rebel Sisters follows the life of Ify, now a doctor living in the Space Colonies, and Uzo, a young synth helping to preserve the memories of those deceased in Nigeria. Their contrasting lives end up intersecting when Ify has to travel back to Nigeria to find the cure for a virus that is infecting refugee children in her hospital. But when Ify returns to Nigeria, nothing is as it seems.
I found this novel to be more captivating than the first. Onyebuchi has created two main characters who are intriguing in their own right with complex histories. I was interested to see where the novel would take both Ify and Uzo separately and also how they would come together. It's also great to see how much Ify has grown since the events of War Girls. Years have passed and she's been able to make a whole new life for herself while living with the trauma and abandonment of her past. Uzo has a very unique voice. I like how the author evolved Uzo's voice as she became more self-aware, taking in the world around her and grew into her own person.
Onyebuchi is also a master world builder. I didn’t think there would be a lot of world-building in this novel because it's a sequel, but the author had me in awe of the Space Colonies. I felt like a kid watching Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century again with how futuristic everything was. I was also interested in how Nigeria had changed after the war. While the Space Colonies are positioned to be more advanced than Earth, the technology in Nigeria is still something to marvel at.
Through this novel, Onyebuchi is able to convey how there is no straight and happy line to recovery after war and devastation. The reality is that some can move forward (not without struggle) and others will be haunted. He is able to demonstrate how shared events can lead to shared trauma, but that no one can be expected to react in the same way. He also has brought in elements of white savior-ism and imperialism, and I appreciate how many parallels can be drawn between what western powers have done during times of war in the past and the events in this book.
“If there is no scar, was there ever even a wound to begin with?”
I read the first book in this duology, War Girls, as a part of a special topics in global literature course that focused on African science fiction. Reading Rebel Sisters outside of that context was a different experience. I definitely think I would have enjoyed this book more overall if I had had the same forum for discussion as I had for the first book.
That being said, I certainly didn’t dislike this book. I really enjoyed how Ify came to terms and reconciled with her past throughout the book, and I think Onyebuchi does an excellent job of portraying this journey that so closely intertwines grief, regret, and trauma.
There is no shortage of interesting themes throughout the novel, which is why I would have loved the opportunity to discuss it in an academic setting. The story raises questions about what it means to be to be human, the significance of memory, trauma and grief, the blurred boundary between “good” and “evil,” and so much more.
I think Onyebuchi tackles the idea of how an attempt to do what one believes is the right thing can be blind to the consequences of that action especially well. Xifeng’s role in the story was both surprising and provided an interesting moral dilemma.
There are two main areas, however, that just weren’t it for me in this book. First, the story begins by framing the epidemic plaguing the refugee children as the primary conflict of the story. But as soon as Ify arrives back in Nigeria, it kind of gets thrown out the window. It’s absence does make way for intersecting Xifeng’s plans with Ify’s personal journey, but it felt odd that what seemed so important was suddenly put on the back burner.
I also struggled with the science throughout the novel, but especially at the end. Of course, this is science fiction and only based loosely off of real-world, proven science, but in a sci-fi book the reader should still be able to understand the science that is being put forth. I was definitely confused with the solutions to the problems that Ify figures out, I had to reread and pause a few times and I’m still not sure that I understand, and I don’t recall having that same confusion with the first book at any point. It is a hard line to toe - either risk the reader’s confusion or risk the character not sounding like themselves in explaining the science in layman’s terms.
Overall, I think this book is a really interesting read, but it just didn’t quite grab my attention. I often found myself getting distracted while reading or finding other things to do. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. It’s solidly middle ground for me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a bit of a more philosophical read that poses questions about humanity and technology. I think it’s also great if you want a more sophisticated use of the found family trope.
I am really torn with writing this review. I fully appreciate the insight the author provides, through amazing research, the plight of refugees. Likewise, I concur with the portrayal of the “Powers that Be” that may disregard the pain and suffering of those fleeing persecution and war. The author strives to create an empathy that is solely lacking for our fellow humans that have no safe home country and they gratitude that those who enjoy this blessing should have.
The author also tackles many tough issues like the impact of war on the children, families and environment. An impact that is far reaching and affects lives in ways that we can’t imagine having never experienced it. He also addresses the effects of colonialism along with creating a future where it spreads to space with the same countries marginalizing and disregarded their brown and black brothers. He also caused me to consider what is it that makes us who we are...what is that special something with which humans are imbued. Heavy thoughts indeed!
So there is much to admire about this story of sisterly love born not of blood but bonding and surviving war. However, although I thoroughly enjoy reading about the unimaginable future Tochi created with synths, mechanical juggernauts and augmented or cyberized people, Oynii, by the end of the story, was the Terminator that wouldn’t stop...or the energizer bunny...it was too much. Like the story was the same....it was too long. Ify’s and Oynii’s search for peace and self - acceptance and one another was too drawn out. Each time there was a point the story could have ended satisfactorily, yet another unnecessary challenge was created. The two books could have easily been written as one or spread out to three. My advice regarding this series? Proceed with caution and enter at your own risk.
I'd strongly recommend reading War Girls before this follow-up or else risk playing catch-up for most of this futuristic novel, set in 2181. Nineteen-year-old Ify Diallo is poised for a successful medical career in the Space Colonies where she helps other refugees chart their own future. But when several refugee children in the hospital fall into comas, Ify must return to her Nigerian homeland to find the cure or the cause. Her trip causes many traumatic memories to revive, and she is gutted with what she remembers. Her path crosses that of Uzo, a young synth, whose job involves assisting an aid worker, Xifeng, in recovering images and details from the violence in Nigeria years earlier. This futuristic world boasts individuals whose memories have been completely erased as well as a governmental cover-up of the violence that occurred during the war. Instead, natural disasters have been blamed for any destruction that is still visible. Thus, painful memories and trauma no longer bother Nigerian citizens since no one remembers what happened, and yet, that also means no remembering the individuals who lost their lives during the conflict. The world in which the story takes place is one totally reliant on technology, which makes life easier and more efficient, but it also opens up the likelihood of government spying and recording of someone's every move. I did enjoy the book eventually, but the fact that the passages featuring Uzo were written in present tense with other distracting features made those sections in particular hard to slog through. The introduction of Peter, the refugee boy being adopted by Ify's friends only added to the confusion for me since he appeared sporadically, and it was hard to get a handle on his character. The book raises important questions that are well worth exploring, but I wish they'd been easier to unravel.
Almost DNF. I got about 1/3 of the way through and had to put it down… for 6 months. Only through force of will did I finish, hoping some part of the story would be okay-ish.
I loved the first book. My absolute least favorite character from the first book, Ify, is the main character of this one, so that didn’t help my dislike for it right away. I kept trying to tell myself that maybe she would change and I’d eventually like her more. Never happened. I know she supposedly changes in the story, but it doesn’t actually FEEL like she changes. Like, I’m reading the words but they don’t have any meaning behind them. She’s contradictory with everything she does, says, and believes that it never feels like she’s growing as a person.
Throughout the entire book the chapters alternate between the voice of Ify and then the voice of Uzo (constantly in present tense). It’s jarring to switch back and forth between the two voices, especially given how short the chapters are. I never felt like I got in a good groove.
I also felt like there were so many missed opportunities, sci-fi elements that could’ve enhanced the story but were just left off to the side and forgotten about. Even though it felt like the longest book while trying to finish, there were too many parts of the story that felt like they were fragmented side stories and never fully developed, to where I was hoping for more. Also, there were missed opportunities emotionally speaking. This could be because the switching of voices so frequently made me never have a real connection to any of the characters, which I felt was imperative considering some of the heavy material trying to be covered, with the affects of trauma being the biggest one.
Honestly, I wish I had only read the first book because reading the second book did such a disservice to the overall story.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
DNF at 25%
There are some very important, timely themes in this book as it deals with the fallout of war and refugee crises, as well as privilege.
However, I just couldn't get into the plot. The main issue was that the second of the two alternating POVs was in first person while Ify's POV was in third. The constant first-third switch was so jarring, even though I knew what was coming. Plus the two POVs were not linked - I have a suspicion of how they might become linked by the end, but I wasn't going to read to the end to see whether and how they did connect.
Then there was the prose style of the second POV - it was in present continuous tense, lots of gerunds. I am doing X, I am making. He is [verb]ing. I think it was a deliberate choice to separate the synths from the human characters, but it feels really passive and removed from the action. It was like have a massive sheet of glass between me and the character because there was this -ing verb strucutre that meant I couldn't get into their head, just observing - which is very rare in a first person set up.
This -ing issue also combined with the fact that I think this character was able to absorb memories? I'm not sure exactly what was happening, but I think some of the things they saw were other people's memories? As you can see, I couldn't work it out, and it meant that I couldn't tell if the action was real or other's memories.
After the events of War Girls, Ify seems to be conforming to the environment that is the space colonies, putting all her effort into forgetting her past, her people, where she is from and what she endured; her vengeance, and the ones who meant so much to her and fought for and with her.
But even in the colonies where borders and differences should not hinder the acceptance and incorporation of refugees into the communities, familiar racist, prejudicial, ignorant, oblivious white privilege and practices are very much still present.
When Ify is sent back to what remains of Nigeria, political machinations that threaten the collective remembrance of the citizens are in play: erasing memories and rewriting the loss of lives and the course of history, but she is not ready for the level of vulnerability that she believes she is immune to.
Onyebuchi has written a story of family, a dying Earth, privilege and social standing all very reminiscent of the world we live in today even centuries into the future. It is clear that human nature will remain the same until individuals make a concerted effort to change. Change in thoughts, our perceptions, harmful rhetoric, and broken communities.
The dialogue is rich and the experiences of our characters reach from page to mind and heart, a reimagining of a war that tore a country apart and shone a light on perceived differences that only serve to enrich our environments.
We never know as much as we think we do or we think we should. #RebelSisters is that story.
War's lingering effects infuse Tochi Onyebuchi's "Rebel Sisters," the second in the War Girls series. Ify survived and thrived when her sister Onyii sent her solo as a castaway to a space colony dominated by old-world structure. But she never really fit in even though she was just weeks away from becoming a full-fledged doctor. Her world had been shaped long ago by brutal war and ethnic conflict in her native Nigeria in the latter part of the 22nd century. So it's with something like dread that she returns to investigate the causes of hundreds of refugee children to fall into comas. What awaits can't be pretty. And the solution to her patients' issues doesn't reveal itself quickly. She stumbles into a country trying to erase the devastation of its recent past. She also meets again with some of those she had hoped to leave behind. Meanwhile, Uzo attempts to come to terms with what it means to survive as a child of war and regain her already tenuous tie to humanity. The two protagonists allow Onyebuchi to present the trauma and suffering of survivors. And possibly find a solution. He somehow ties all that together in a way that makes total sense. And his concepts of technological advances and cyberized humanity sound quite possible. But frightening. After reading a book every few days, this took two weeks. It's a lot to process. Sometimes I found it hard to read. However, Onyebuchi's a fantastic writer, and I don't believe I will forget any bit of what he wrote. At least the intent of his writing.
There are some sequels that can function as stand-alone novels, in my opinion Rebel Sisters is not one of them. Potential readers definitely need to have read and remember War Girls, since much of the plot is about characters dealing with the emotional and physical fallout from the events in the first novel. Ify is now a medical professional in the Space Colonies, working with the refugee population. A mysterious illness has struck refugee children, leaving them comatose and their bodies failing. She is sent back down to Nigeria, where she encounters Xifeng, an aid worker trying to preserve the truth of the Biafran War, and Uzo, a synth developing a sense of self.
Rebel Sisters makes use of both Ify and Uzo as narrators, which can cause a bit of whiplash for readers. Uzo’s narration is stilted, and while it makes sense in the end, it can be difficult to switch back and forth. It’s a very solid sequel, and I enjoyed reading it - once I reread the first book in the series to remind myself of who everyone was and the details of the plot. A reminder that the wounds of war aren’t healed magically by a cease-fire, and full of relevant commentary on the refugee crisis, climate change, racism, and nationalist movements around the globe. Not a particularly happy story, but there are moments of hope.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
I usually don't leave reviews, but I felt bad leaving a rating this low without an explanation. I read through a lot of other reviews for this book and they were all pretty positive, so it might just be that this book wasn't for me, but I'm going to share my thoughts either way.
I hate leaving such low ratings because I know every author puts a lot of time and effort into their books, but I do want to be honest whenever I finish a book:
Rebel Sisters was a let down after War Girls. I remember really enjoying War Girls when I read it, so this book was very disappointing in comparison. First of all, the plot was scrambled and moved incredibly slowly. I had a hard time understanding how different side plots fit into the story and a lot of the characters motivations. It seemed like there wasn't very much reasoning behind some of the things that happened and I would have loved more detail about Xifeng's mission along with Ify's. Second of all, I didn't like the cast of characters. Ify lost a lot of her edge as well as her confidence and nerve which gave a lot to her character, so she ended up becoming pretty bland and hard to sympathize with. Uzo, on the other hand, was just annoying. I didn't enjoy reading her chapters because, as interesting as she was, the language she used and the way her chapters were formulated were hard to read and comprehend.
I really wished I had enjoyed this book as much as the first one.
This story took place five years after the Biafran War, and we can now see Ify as a high-ranking medical officer who dedicated her life, helping people rebuild the colonies. She was doing fine and all until she has to face the fact that she must go back to the place she has sworn she will not see again to help find what is causing the virus outrage and the cure. It is true that no matter how much you tried to move on and escape the hardship of the past, it will find its way back to you, and this is a perfect example of that belief. I mean, if it’s not the war we have to deal with, it’s a mysterious virus…sounds like a Deja Vu. Anyway, Ify will cross path with Uzo, who lives in Nigeria and coping with the war’s result. I am mesmerized that even though this book falls under science fiction, there’s also many historical facts. So while we were relearning history and all, we are also presented with innovative probabilities. And the author once again has proven that imagination is endless and powerful. The characters are likable; the plot is brilliant. This is one of those sequels you cannot miss!
Thank you so much Penguin Teen / Penguin Young Readers for my review copy in exchanged for my unbiased review!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this great book! Rebel Sisters is the sequel to War Girls, and it continues Ify's story after the events in the first book. Ify is now living in the Space Colonies, and she is struggling to deal with her past in the Biafran War. Ify's story alternates with the story of a synth named Uzo who is living in Nigeria and dealing with the aftermath of the war there. The two storylines converge and the characters are intertwined in some interesting and unexpected ways. As in the first book, the worldbuilding is incredible, and in this one, I especially thought that the world of the Space Colonies was incredibly well designed and fleshed out. I enjoyed continuing to get to know Ify, and meeting other characters who were also dynamic and sympathetic. I love the ways that the science fiction elements are intertwined with the real historical elements in this series, and I think it is a great way for readers to learn about the Biafran War, while also enjoying a cool science fiction universe. Highly recommend!
Publisher's Description: Sequel to: War girls. It's been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she's always dreamed of--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 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 homeland she thought she'd left behind forever.
Rebel Sisters checks all the boxes for a basic sci-fi story. Even though I barely remembered the events of War Girls it was easy to fall into this one. I was quickly compelled by Uzo and the writing effortlessly drew me in. But the further I read the more I felt like things were repetitive and nothing was really happening. Except for the rare moments of action, that were so fast-paced and jarring compared to the pacing of the rest of the book. Rebel Sisters was the kind of book that takes you out of reality but then shocks you back into it by being so real. The major things the narrative explores are, the effects of war, colonization, immigrants, oppression, healing from past trauma, and what it means to be human.
Overall, I didn’t really feel shocked or impressed with anything. The plot was pretty predictable as was the ending. And as much as I tried, I just couldn’t connect to any of the main characters. There was just this remove in the way they were written, as if they were all incomplete in a significant way.
Thank you to penguin teen for giving me this earc for an honest review. After the Biafran war, Iffy is a high ranking medical officer living in the space colonies and is in charge of curing a deadly disease that has put hundreds of people into a coma. Uzo is a synth in Nigeria helping Xifeng collect data on the Biafran war. Their paths end up crossing when Iffy is sent back to her homeland, searching for the answer for the cure of the disease. This book realistically discusses trauma and dealing with the past. The way this book brings in old characters from the first book and connects them into this book in an intricate web is impressive. The strong female main characters that are both complex and well developed make the story even better. The only problem I had while reading this was the pacing felt a bit off and was hard to follow sometimes. Overall I found this book enjoyable and it was a great addition to the story that was started in War Girls.