Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review: American War by Omar El Akkad

"American War" by Omar El Akkad
First published in 2017
333 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5

The Short Of It:

An intriguing premise -- the second American civil war -- and pretty good execution.

The Long Of It:
In 2074, the United States of America looks very different thanks to climate change: parching heat, terrifying storms and rising water levels. Vast swaths of the coast are underwater, Florida is completely submerged, and the federal government has relocated to Columbus, Ohio.

Amid high tensions, the U.S. is about to enter into its second civil war, the catalyst for which is a ban on fossil fuels; a handful of southern states refuse to cooperate, once again pitting north against south. Worse yet, the 20-year battle will be followed by a horrific plague that'll wipe out 100 million citizens.

The vastly changed geographic and political landscape is presented to readers in the very first pages -- complete with a helpful/scary map of the country's new geography. And all that chaos serves as the backdrop for what the book really is: a character study of a fiery protagonist, Sara Chestnut, and how the war shapes her childhood and the woman she becomes. The entire war is seen through the lens of her often horrible experiences and her take-no-prisoners, brook-no-bullshit personality.

Too, the book is not so much about the ins and outs of this war, but war in general -- or even, in an allegorical way, the war we're fighting right now, rife with suicide bombers and homegrown terrorists and the lingering fear of biological weapons. It paints a scary picture of how a person who started off good could be pushed to the edge of doing something unthinkable.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, but there were also a lot of times I felt the pacing was too slow and I just wanted the book to hurry up and get finished. And I do wish there had been a little more focus on the war itself, because the idea of it is at once fascinating and scarily plausible.

1 comment:

  1. It was a little slow for me too, but my biggest problem with it was that it was all about Sara Chestnut yet I never felt like I really knew her. I liked the concept and the writing was solid, but it never quite grabbed me.


Thanks for stopping by! Comments make my day, and I read and appreciate every single one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...