‘The Global Defence Organisation is finally falling in Auria, but there are many battles still to be fought to defeat it’
She compresses the trigger without hesitation, without remorse. Her target goes down.
Her audio ’com pings a message — “Report back to base.”
She always complies.
Rage is 12 years old. Will she bring the Resistance down or will Cassia be able to reach her and bring her to their side?
What I thought
In a move that is very unlike me I’m going to start by pointing out this book’s cover. This is the YALC exclusive cover, because between 2016 and 2017 and the second book coming out the publishing house changed the cover. And this is where you know that Josephine Boyce is one of us and even if she wasn’t an author books would be her ‘thing’ and that she’s just as much a geek as the rest of us. She made sure they did a YALC exclusive cover of the second one to match the first so that it doesn’t look ugly on our shelves! Seriously! She understands the pain of the covers changing halfway through the series and the eyesore of mismatching covers. I don’t know if there is a third book or not, or even if she’s going to be at YALC but I hope that there is and I hope that once again she has a YALC exclusive cover so it all matches
Anyway, the actual story; I really like how this book doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war but also tells smaller personal tales. You know that there are other things going on but to try and say everything would be too much, instead it focuses on a small resistance cell and makes it about their story. Where the first book is about Cassia trying to find a way of understanding the oppression and lighting the small flame inside of her, she’s not trying to fight the good fight; she’s simply trying to find her father. This book continues that idea. She’s grown from wanting to help one person to feeling like she can’t not help everyone. It’s like when you notice the spot on the floor looks like a face and ten you are unable to see it as anything else. She’s seen the truth about what is happening and not only is she never able to un-see it she feels like it’s her responsibility to help others, even if they are doing their best to not notice just how bad it is.
The majority of the people don’t find the oppression and instead of it becoming a book about the resistance and over turning the government and all that is bad, it’s about trying to light that flame for the people. It’s about the small resistance actions and the one cell in guerrilla warfare. And it’s difficult. War is never easy anyway but when most people refuse to fight or even acknowledge the war? That’s infinitely worse, there are no clear lines drawn. There are people who aren’t happy with what is going on but most don’t feel it’s bad enough to go to war and potentially die for. And a lot of people fall for the rhetoric and the fact that the media and politicians are telling them that it is all ok. A lot of people are ostriches with their head in the sand. And as much as we might not like admitting it, that’s what a lot of people are like. So, yes the overall goal is to overthrow the government, but first they need people to care.
It also looks into the reality of child soldiers, and not just taking children and turning them into a solider but having a complete recurring training plan. This isn’t a one off, this is something they plan to continue. Hearing about child soldiers always causes someone to bulk at the idea but it can sometimes be understood as it being a one off thing due to the war. Not here. Here this is a thing that is going to be continued for the foreseeable future. This is something to continue even after they have won the war and have all the land they can get their hands on. Rage’s story is a personal one it being so hits harder.
Finally this book also considers the trauma of war and of things happening vs. nearly happening. And most of the time there isn’t much of a difference, not to say there isn’t some difference. But someone nearly raping you? That’s going to screw you up. Especially because the only reason that it doesn’t happen is because he doesn’t have the time. It’s not that she was able to fight and get away, or that someone came to help her. He simply doesn’t have the time.
The human brain has amazing powers of imagination and something like that is not something that is going to disappear. You don’t go, ‘oh that was lucky’, instead your brain will tormet you of the ‘what if’ scenarios. And Boyce shows that. It almost makes no difference to Cassia, that it didn’t happen. She is unable to stop herself thinking of it. And when she might have to face him again? Shudders went down my spine.
Why I read it
I got the first one at YALC 2016 and, when I was unable to go to 2017, I gave my best mate orders to pick it up for me.
This was the only book left from the hoard that she gained for me at YALC 2017 that I hadn’t read which caused it to jump up the TBR. It had gained the status being something I had meant to read for a while and just hadn’t got round to. As I had bought my ticket for YALC 2018 I figured I should jump it up the list.
I was a bit worried going into this as it had been so long since I read the first one and I was worried that I would have forgotten a lot. And yes it took me a bit of time to get back into this world but not that long. It’s a brilliant vibrant world in all the wrong places, in the sense that it rings true and you don’t want to have to think about the images that the words paint but they are done in a way that you can’t ignore them. I got shivers reading this book more than once at the tone that was being set. It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but by making it smaller and more personal you were able to get your head around what was happening as well as the size of it. Saying that they are turning kids into soldiers is not the same as actually seeing Rage and understanding what she went through.
I really hope she’s at YALC 2018 with a 3rd book.
Would I recommend? Yes, but for obvious reasons start with ‘Rebellion’ first.
PopSugar: Meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get round to.
I finished this one on our Brownie residential and the other leaders laughed at me when I said I wasn’t ready to start my other book yet because I needed to digest this one. I mean that is a thing! You need time before you go and dive into another world, especially when you’ve just been a part of a war and trying to free child soldiers!
This is also my last book for May.
P.S The next review is for ‘A spoke in the wheel’ by Kathleen Jowitt