I feel like I learned nothing from Rod Spence’s War World… and in the best kind of way. It was fun, loaded with everything that I like about genre fiction books, and had over the top action.
War World felt to me like a page out of my Jr High library. Specifically, it reminded me of those choose your own adventure books from the late 80s and early 90s. Each CYOA had crazy themes (usually skewing SF/F) and outlandish storylines that somehow worked in the context of that paperback. War World felt like Spence threw some of my favorites into a blender and tapped the button a few times… Dr. Who is another example of these kinds of genre mash-ups (especially Peter Capaldi’s run) and the card game Smash Up is another example of this kind of genre blender.
The tropes are familiar enough to let you envision where the action is headed right away (though it does start off a little more passive than I’d care for, but that corrects itself after the first chapter and a half.)
War World is a sci-fi, but it’s neither hard SF nor space opera… it’s also not straight-up general SF (because it feels like so much more than that so it wouldn’t fit that mold.) I felt the characters were more “everyman” teens, and that is okay in this context.
One thing I especially loved was the format and layout. It really reinforced that feeling of fun I mentioned above. This book reminds me of when I could read whatever fit my quirky moods as a jr high book addict in my school library (back before common core began jettisoning fiction that was creative for sheer creativity’s sake.) If you’re looking for a book that is more like roller coaster rather than a jogging track, this could be a good buy.
I got my copy in exchange for a free review over at Inside the Inkwell blog.