Author: L.J. Adlington
Release date: September 5th 2013
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
A supernatural thriller-romance set in an all-girl teenage bomber-pilot regiment, combining witchcraft and legend.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.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?
Teenage fighter pilots. Did you read what I just wrote? Because I’m not kidding here: Teenage. Fighter. Pilots.
Can I end my review here?
Because really, those three words should be enough to make any living soul desperate to read Night Witches. Teenagers are flying planes and fighting wars, people, facing enemies both human and supernatural. For those of you who don’t know, night witches were Soviet female military aviators in World War II. L.J. Adlington, inspired by their story, created a whole new world in which teenage girls fly military airplanes against a dangerous enemy.
Rodina is a nation willingly lead by an artificial intelligence, Aura. It is the source of all knowledge and the only real decision maker in the country. Not connected, the citizens are lost since they rely on Aura for everything. They are proud of themselves for shedding the confines of religious beliefs and turning entirely to technology. But at night, when no one is listening, there are whispers of witches just beyond Rodina’s borders. There, the Crux reside, a far more primitive, superstitious nation, and the war between the two is brewing.
Rain Aranoza is a girl who is constantly underestimated – by her parents, her cousin and everyone else who matters – until she is invited to take part in a new fighter pilot program. Suddenly, Rain is flying Crux airplanes and discovering new and shocking truths about herself. During this time, she meets Reef, a silent and competent Scrutiner (kind of a law enforcement) and even though he’s dangerous for her on many levels, she finds herself unable to stay away.
It’s easy enough to draw a parallel between Rodinians and their connection to Aura and our own dependence on the internet. The world Adlington created is a great analogy for our world, and the advantages and flaws she skillfully pointed out can easily be applied to us. The paranormal element, which I won’t go into for fear of spoiling things, is just as fascinating.
Night Witches is elegantly written and gorgeously atmospheric. Adlington’s descriptions are minimal, yet vivid and strong and beautiful. She is prone to stringing very short sentences that give her narrative a staccato rhythm, which, instead of making her prose seem choppy, makes it fluid, distinctive and unique.
I strongly recommend this for those of you who occasionally like to step away from tropes and expectations. Night Witches is a gorgeous story and one I’m sure you won’t regret reading.
L.J. Adlington will stop by The Nocturnal Library in October to talk about the dark Russian mythology she researched for her novel.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.