Let me introduce you to a new series today with Battle Ground, the first book in the dystopian fiction series of the same name, by Rachel Churcher. Many thanks to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.
Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.
The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.
I keep hearing people saying that they are no longer reading dystopian fiction because it all just feels a bit too close to reality these days, but surely that is why we should continue to read it, to give us a fighting chance against whatever the future holds.
Battle Ground is set in a post-Brexit, post-Scottish independence Britain, and it really does feel scarily near the mark. Nothing that takes place in this book feels outside the realms of possibility with the current political climate here in the UK. Because of this, it is not always a comfortable read, but it is certainly a gripping one. Once I started I just couldn’t put it down.
Adding to the realistic feel of this book is the fact that the teenagers aren’t just naturally gifted with the skills they need to survive in the new world. Everything they can do has been hard won through gruelling training after their conscription into army. None of the characters are natural heroes, they are all flawed, and struggle with the decisions they are faced with. This just endeared each of them to me more. Further to this, the flashback scenes to when Bex, Margie and Dan were still at school added depth to their characters and showed just how quickly life can be turned completely on it’s head.
The brutality shown by the senior recruits is shocking, especially given their age and relative inexperience as well. I can’t help feeling there is more to their story than initially meets the eye and I am looking forward to seeing this other side of the story in book two, which is thankfully coming out soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.
She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.
Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in this blog tour.