REVIEW | "American War"


American War by Omar El Akkad is a science fiction novel set in the United States fifty years in the future, where climate change and civil war has transformed society. Due to flooding, the capital has been moved to Columbus, Ohio. Civil war begins in 2075, after five southern states secede due to the banning of fossil fuels.  Told from the perspective of a young, defiant, southern girl named Sarat Chestnut, American War is sinister must-read, a cautionary tale reminding readers that the tragedies humanity faces in the story are not as fictional as they appear. 
Sarat Chestnut has always been a bit of an outlier. Unlike her beautiful twin sister Dana, Sarat is a tomboy who hates to turn down a dare and loves to play in the mud. While living in Camp Patience, a refugee camp, she befriends by an old man named Albert Gaines, a recruiter for southern rebels. 
Sarat’s childhood ends when a Northern militia unit marches into Camp Patience and massacres almost all of the refugees, including her mother. From then on, Sarat joins Gaines’ rebel group and becomes one of the best assassins in the South at only 17 years old. And to no one’s surprise, there is no happy ending. 
Set largely in the south, American War lends the reader the perspective of the “bad guy”: a southern young rebel. In reference to today’s party politics, Akkad urges readers to imagine that if our current path continues, everyone suffers.