Review: The Always War

The Always War
The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A slim volume,, and it isn’t clear if there will be more in a series, as this one ends like it could be a stand-alone. It is the story a poor girl, Tessa, in a dystopian society in the future, where all resources go to keep the war going – a long-standing war between two countries. One day her childhood friend Gideon comes, and is to be awarded the highest medal of her community for his bravery in bombing a city. But at the last minute he refuses the honor and dashes off stage. Tessa follows, and tries to find out what is bothering him. He won’t really say other than that he killed over 10000 people and they are giving him a medal for that? It seems he hacked into the database and saw pictures of the bombing run that the pilots can’t usually see until some time after – and he had been unaware of the high cost of civilian life in these bombing runs, all in a war over water rights in the war zone between Eastam and Westam. But he wants to make amends, and so he steals a plane and flies out to the place that he bombed, hoping to explain his sorrow and not really caring if he lived or died. HIs best friend, Tesaa, follows him, unaware of his intentions, but determined to try and help Gideon. But once there, things are not as they seem, and with the help of a stowaway kid Dax, they uncover the big secret that has been going on, and that could destroy his world. Fairly simplistic, as hers are for a younger audience usually, and simpler emotions. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Not so many gray areas. But the story is good, well told and with fast action. The characters are likable, if frustrating at times, but then they don’t really know what’s going on and are confused most of the time. Easy evening’s read, escapist fare.

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