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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: This is W.A.R.


This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa's initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.

This was more of a 2.5 since three chapters in I knew who had killed Willa, guessed at the motive and thus the book lost a lot of the tension.  It wouldn't be fair to say that the Roeckers gave away too much so much as they followed some very predictable tropes.

Willa was the most interesting part of the story in my opinion.  The brief moments from her (third person) view and the stories told by the girls all paint a picture of girl who was struggling just as much as everyone else to figure out what's important to her.  That's a bit hard to remember at times as what people say about her outside of the group varies from "She deserved it" to "Poor poor innocent lamb".  You'll be vilified or martyred in death no matter who you are, remember that.

Here's the thing: the living really should have at least been memorable.  I read this book (at the time of this review writing) a little under three weeks ago.  I can't remember anyone's names but Sloane's and I did not like Sloane (I'm never a fan of girls who pretend themselves into stupidity).  

Part of my absentee memory may be that the set-up is a little outlandish.  Even being a (semi) devotee of the ABC show "Revenge" I found it utterly unrealistic that the Gregory Family is so very influential that they're practically dictators.  Its one thing to get away with murder, that unfortunately happens to the rich, poor, young, old.  Its totally another to apparently have everyone so cowed that the police can do little more then nod sympathetically at the victim's parents when the Gregorys are involved.

But hey I don't hobnob with the rich and the ultra rich, so maybe I'm wrong and this is common place.  The point is that the Roeckers don't make it seem a natural part of the world the story exists in.  Which brings me to the next point, the girls are out for revenge against James Gregory as the killer of their friend.  Sort of.  It gets a bit murky as the girls each recount ways the Gregory family rubbed them the wrong way.  

In the end this wasn't as satisfying or as tension filled as I hoped.  The ending is anti-climatic (though the last chapter, which reveals what really happened to Willa that night, is interesting...it would have been moreso if the identity of the killer had been more ambiguous or the motivation less cardboard) and there's a false sense of 'change'.  Decent for the Gossip Girl crowd, mystery or suspense fans won't be as entertained.