- Tochi Onyebuchi
- 3rd Novel; Book 1 of a Duology
- Genre: YA Fastasy
- Heritage/Background: Nigerian-American
- IG: @treize64, twitter: @TochiTrueStory (his cover photo is hilarious and brilliant); www.tochionyebuchi.com
- Release: 10/15/2019
- Publisher: Razorbill Books
- Favorite Character: Chinelo! I love how playful and funny she is but also how serious & kick ass she could be. I also loved how grounding she was for Onyii and how she complimented her. Chinelo is definitely “bout it, bout it” (TM Master P & Silk The Shocker).
- Favorite Quote: “But Onyii, I already get high marks. Let me sleep-oh!”-Ify… Ify is me and I am Ify! I felt this quote on a spiritual level! I feel it every single morning, only I’m not in school anymore but I stay busy working/adulting/wishing I was a kid again.
For months, I’ve been trying to get my hands on the arc for War Girls. I kept missing it *hangs head and shakes slightly* and lightweight tantrummed about that fact around anyone who would listen (including Tochi but at least he knew I was serious about reading his book) when I would miss it yet another time (seriously, it happened on like 3 or 4 different occasions)! I had resigned myself to having to wait until Onyii was unleashed unto the world but fate smiled down on me at Brooklyn Bookfest when I answered book trivia questions at the Sneak Peek Panel! I was so excited to show Tochi that I got it (and there was a mini celebration had, at least in my mind there was) when I took it to him to sign! And you know what? War Girls was worth the effort and wait to obtain (I’m waiting to receive my finished copy because I believe in supporting authors)!
There was a panel (*taps chin* I think at Bronx BookFest, *cues TuPac* I get around-I’m not ashamed *shrugs*) where Tochi said “Onyii bodies EVERYBODY!” with great fervor. I believed him but I seriously underestimated his statement. Onyii seriously DOES body everybody…imagine an augmented Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale walking away from a burning car (Google for that gif/visual) but envision a mech…yea, she’s even more badass than THAT! She’s intense, loyal, a fierce protector and she will come for anyone that steps to her & her home girls sideways. I feel like Onyii is an awe-inspiring literary personification of what a Black woman is and a doper version of the Terminator had he been Black and female! I bit my nails A LOT while reading in anticipation of what would happen next, thought “What Would Onyii Do” (WWOD) and how she would body anyone who would dare challenge her. Seriously, Onyii was Ev.er.y.thing…a futuristic Oya really (Google her, she’s a badass Orisha that you would NOT want to go into battle against) and I’m here for it & her and all the souls she snatches throughout this book!
When I think of Ify, Onyii’s sister, I couldn’t help but think about Shuri from Black Panther…Shuri is my forever favorite of the characters I’ve experienced in the MCU thus far (I’m not a comic person so I have to say the movies but I’d wager that my feelings would would remain the same if I did read them). She’s extremely brilliant, talented, has a big heart for others and is slightly mischievous; which is a solid recipe for a great character, IMO. I loved how resilient she was though she was a bit naive at times (before you come at me, I know no character is perfect, I still love her like a sister from another mister). She had a rough time in this story but she handled so much of it like a G…other times, I wanted to shake her & scream to wake the f**k up because reasons… Ify’s still a teen so I had to show some compassion in those moments since our girls, real or fictional, deserve that. I couldn’t help but admire her tenacity, her fighting spirit, her magic, traits she definitely shares with her sister.
Something that I really appreciated about this book is that the war girls always felt present in the story, whether any one of them were in a scene or not. It could be in a memory or a situation that happens but no matter what, they aren’t forgotten. They are more than secondary characters…they are each other’s driving force. The war girls are a family brought together through war but also through Spirit and purpose. This group of warrior women not only fought for freedom, they fought for & beside each other, which is also a beautiful notion. They always had each others backs and were seriously about that life….they ARE #BlackGirlMagic! Onyii and her crew, her fellow war girls (and later, abd), were a reminder that family isn’t always people connected by name and blood line but also by commonalities such as the desire for the betterment of their nation, their fierceness, the blood they shed and the peace they really wanted. The war girls rode for each other until the wheels fell off or rather the mechs went down & their comm systems went black (read the book to learn about that) and even then, they didn’t abandon each other. They gave me just as much life as they took throughout this book! It truly spoke to the Spirit of a People who will fight to the very end for the preservation of their history & the longevity of their people (which remains true to this day).
Speaking of mechs, the setting of Nigeria in the future was brilliant! I felt drawn to the descriptions and felt like I was experiencing what the future could be…and it would be quite incredible (sans war but judging how the world is looking right now………..*sideeye emoji*) but equally as scary because of the reality we currently face. I also feel like so much of the advanced structures & systems are absolutely possible because well…Black people are amazing (all my bias is showing *shrugs*)… There are so many talented people in Africa (and around the world) that I believe can bring to life the tech in War Girls (and if not now, there will be). Though… I’m not found of the idea of mechs being used like common household appliances… so to the future geniuses that will make the advanced tech in this book possible, please create responsibly, thanks!
War Girls was an experience from start to finish… it was seriously one hell of a roller coaster that seemed to change its tracks at the most unexpected of moments! My eyes really stung at parts (okay, they leaked too)…which, I did not expect to happen. I felt the emotions the characters experienced and I felt invigorated & powerful as well. I hope that anyone who experienced the Nigerian War (or any sort of war, really) reads War Girls feels seen & validated that their history will not be ignored and their story will be told. Go pick up War Girls and launch yourself onto this roller coaster ride of an experience…it’s definitely worth your time and your coins!
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