Tuesday, May 29, 2018

American War - Omar El Akkad

American War
Title: American War
Author: Omar El Akkad
Publication Date: 4/4/17
Pages: 352
Genre: Dystopian / Fiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 5/8/18

Summary: The United States has ceased to be united. Facing increasing environmental disaster, disputes over consequential policy decisions led the South to secede once again, launching a new Civil War. The novel follows the story of how one girl's live intertwines with the events of that conflict.

What I Thought: I really wanted to like this book. The premise is fascinating to me. As we currently stand at such a fraught point in our history, the idea of another civil war doesn't always seem so crazy. Particularly since El Akkad wisely had the country split over environmental concerns and scaling back the use of fossil fuels. If and when America does ever get to that point, the fight will likely be enormous. 

The book is set up as a decades-long story following the path of one southern girl in particular. Sarat Chestnut and her family end up at a camp for refugees after the war breaks out in 2074. It is there that her fighting instinct is ignited and nurtured. She goes on to be a key player in the war itself. 

El Akkad inserts historical record items in between each chapter. They range from interviews to news articles to other reflections on the war (as though the story is being told years after the war's conclusion). As much as I usually love story-telling devices like that, they just didn't grab me in this case. I was more interested in Sarat's story and felt the in-between pieces did not fit with the tone of the rest of the book, although they did provide important contextual information.

Overall, I wanted this book to be better than it was. It was fine, good even. But I wanted to be captured, and I wasn't. Still, there's enough good here that I know others will be far more engaged than I was. 

This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
If You Liked This, Try: The Dead Lands / The Wild Shore / Gold Fame Citrus

A Reduced Review: The fascinating premise of a second American Civil War was middling in execution. 

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