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Literature / War Girls

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War Girls is a futuristic reimagining of the Nigerian Civil War, taking place in 2172. Onyii and her adopted younger sister Ify live in a Biafran refuge camp, which gets attacked by Nigerian soldiers. The two are separated, with Onyii becoming a Biafran soldier while Ify has settled into a life studying in Nigeria. Written by Tochi Onyebuchi, this book was published in 2019.

This work contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Near the beginning, a suicide bomber starts the attack on the War Girl camp.
  • Amazon Brigade: The War Girls, a group of female soldiers that includes Onyii.
  • Artificial Human: The Biafrans construct synthetic soldiers or “synths”. One is assigned to work with each War Girl. They are known as abd.
  • Child Soldier: The abd are children, and Onyii started fighting in the war when she was eight.
  • Combat by Champion: When Onyii attacks the Nigerians alone, Daren challenges her to a fight to the death. Onyii wins.
  • Cyborg: Onyii has a robotic arm and eye.
  • Death Faked for You: When Ify is sentenced to death, Onyii replaces the lethal serum with one that merely knocks her out, then rescues her from the morgue.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Ginika dies, her abd Golibe shoots himself.
  • Explosive Leash: During a hostage situation, the War Girls strap C-4 to the hostages and threaten to detonate them if the Nigerians attack.
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  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: While both sides have sympathetic characters, both sides also commit rather reprehensible actions.
  • Hostage Situation: The War Girls capture several traders helping the Nigerians, and negotiate for their release.
  • Humongous Mecha: Both sides of the war use giant mecha suits to fight.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Biafrans win the war, but the War Girls have trouble rejoicing after so many of them have died.
  • Revenge: Onyii’s main motivation for a large part of the book is to avenge Ify, because she thinks the Nigerians killed her. When Ify learns that Onyii killed her mother, she goes on a revenge quest.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the War Girls kill Daurama, Daren disobeys orders and kills several of them and their abd. Later in the book, Onyii goes to fight the Nigerians on her own after they attack her city.
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  • Shout-Out: Many story elements are reminiscent of Gundam and indeed, Onyebuchi pitched the book as "Gundam in Africa".
  • Uncertain Doom: The last time Chinelo is seen, she’s in a coma, and it’s never made clear whether she survives or not.
  • You Killed My Father: Ify learns that Onyii killed her mother, and decides to take revenge.

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