Monday, December 09, 2013

Book Review: Night Witches

Monday, December 09, 2013
Title: Night Witches
Author: LJ Adlington
Genre/s: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, History, Romance
Released Date: September 5, 2013
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A supernatural thriller-romance set in an all-girl teenage bomber-pilot regiment, combining witchcraft and legend.

Rain Aranoza is a teenage bomber-pilot from Rodina, a nation of science and fact ruled by the all knowing Aura, where the belief in witches or any type of superstition is outlawed. Rain's regiment is made up of only teenage girls and their role is vital to the war effort against the Crux, a nation of faith and belief, where nature and God are celebrated and worshipped.

But Rain is struggling with another battle. She's always had a sense that her nature is different from everyone else's, and that a dormant power threatens to burst out of her.

When she encounters a young Scrutiner she falls in love with him, but is torn between what she has been taught is right, and what feels right. As her understanding of her latent power grows, the enemy threatens both her friends and her love. She can no longer ignore the power but she must choose how she uses it ...
But what will she lose in the process?

My Thoughts:

Night Witches by LJ Adlington doesn't need aerial flips and maneuvers to become my favorite. Its spellbinding story, kick-ass female characters, and richly imagined world-building are more than enough reasons for it to land a spot in my favorite book of 2013 list.

Rain Aranoza live in a world where superstitious beliefs and witchcraft are shunned and where science and logic thrive. But war is threatening to destroy her land of Rodina by the sun-worshippers called Crux. So she, along with her cousin, Zoya and other chosen female fighter-pilot must train to defend their motherland. But Rain can feel something different, slowly blossoming in her existence and if the girl who looks just like her is right with her accusations, how will she defend the country that is against what she is? And what will the others do to her, if they find out?

"Flying's easy after all...Wonder what landing's like?."

Rain Aranoza, also known as Pip (short for Pipsqueak) to her squadron, is an easy to relate to character. She was underestimated at first, by other people because she was short and she lack experience in flying a plane but after she proved to them that she was worthy enough to be part of the squadron, nobody ever questioned or doubt her doubt her anymore. In fact, she's the best in their team, ever Marina Furey, the greatest female pilot in Rodina, was impressed with her talent but she didn't let that thought change her. She's very humble and down-to-earth.

"Did you hear about the man who invented the rearview mirror? He never looked back..."

I also love the other characters like, Henke and Rill (even if their appearance were short-lived), Zoya, Dee, Mossie, Ang, Petra, Yeldon, Lida, Marina Furey and Felton. They were all well-devoped characters and their contribution to the story - no matter how big or small - stood out for me.

The romance between Rain and Reef was also well-done. It was slow, sweet and subtle which I think is perfect for the war setting of the story. The world-building was also brilliant. I can picture it clearly in all its glory and how it was slowly ravaged by war. I also love the symbolism of each Nation and why they are in such a conflict.

Rodina was a place where science and logic was the way of life and every decisions was controlled by Aura, an artificial intelligence (or a "hub of collected information" as Steen puts it) that logically calculates, explains and answers everything. On the other hand, the Crux was the place of the god-believers and Sun-worshippers. They were always persecuted by the Rodinans and they had enough of it so they are now fighting back. Basically, it's a war between Science and Religion. Logic versus Faith. Reason versus Emotion. It's a war that is inside each and every one of us, constantly clashing with each other.

"Most will fall and die. Some will root and thrive; some will root and be weeded. That's the way it goes."

And finally, I'd like to thank the author for telling me the story of the brave Russian female bomber pilot who fought and sacrificed their lives for their country. The Author's Note at the end of the book is really sad but inspiring. I salute the author for doing a great job in portraying the loyalty and bravery of all the original Night Witches of World War II.

Overall, Night Witches is an awesome read full of memorable characters, creative world-building, thought-provoking story and has the right blend of science, history and magic. I can't recommend this book enough.

My Rating

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange of honest review. (Thanks, Hatchette UK!)
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