Night Witches by L. J. Adlington
Published: 5 September 2014 (Hodder Children's Books)
Format: Paperback (proof)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Hive|Kobo
Source: Gifted proof copy from author. Thanks Lucy!
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
TWO NATIONS AT WAR. ONE GIRL CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE.
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.
I'd been using a Night Witches promotional bookmark all summer after picking it up at Leakycon, so I was really excited when the author got in touch with me after discovering we were both from the same city! She very kindly offered me the chance to read and review the book. Night Witches follows Rain as she trains to become a fighter pilot as the war between Rodina and the Crux intensifies.
The book is told from Rain's point of view and at the beginning of the book we're introduced to her and her family. Throughout the book the story focuses on Rain and her cousin Zoya as the two of them train to become pilots. I loved the relationship between the two of them. They're very different, yet are still able to look after each other in their increasingly difficult missions.
Night Witches is set in a sort of futuristic/dystopian world. Rain and Zoya live in the city of Rodina which has shunned religion and old fashioned manufacturing techniques. Everything is made from a material called Bioweave as opposed to the wood and other materials of the Old Nation. The city is at war with the religious people - known as the Crux - and there are legends of witchcraft that the people of Rodina are either frightened of or quick to deny any belief in. It made for a great mix of ideas and genres. I liked the technology Rain and her people use, such as being able to connect to "Aura" - a sort of online hub of information that everyone can use to message each other. I liked what I learnt of the war between the two sides, but I would love to have discovered more about the city and why things had come to be that way. It seemed like there was a lot of unlocked potential there and Night Witches just scratched the surface.
As well as the relationship between Rain and Zoya, there was also a great camaraderie between the girls and their fellow trainees. I liked the humour and dialogue between the two and how they bounced off each other. I really came to feel for them all as they go through some traumatic times and tense battle scenes throughout the book. I also enjoyed the romantic storyline involving Reef and how he and Rain are drawn to each other in the midst of all this craziness.
The real winner for me in Night Witches was the writing which I found to be beautiful and poetic. I loved the dialogue and the slight dialect of the characters. I just got swept away in the story and the wonderful, haunting descriptions. I'll definitely be reading more of this author's books because I adored the unique style.
All throughout the book there was this hint at something more going on and that there was something about Rain herself that was special. I loved the suspense and tension, and the twist towards the end had me hooked and left me unable to put the book down. I loved how everything came to be revealed.
I think overall I would have liked to know more about this wonderful world and discover a bit more of the history, but what was there was thoroughly enjoyable. I loved Rain and Zoya's story and parts really tugged at the heartstrings. If you like books with action, a touch of sci-fi and a bit of supernatural then this book is for you!
What to read next: The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington
Books like this: Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein