Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Battle Ground Series by Rachel Churcher

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

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(I received complimentary copies of the books for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Battle Ground

Book 1

battle-groundSixteen-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.

My Review:

I enjoyed this first book of this new series. A dystopian story set in the not too distant future of the UK. It’s aimed at Young Adults, but perfectly suitable for older readers too.

Bex Ellman and her friend, Dan are conscripted into the army, while their other friend Margie has disappeared along with a teacher to join the ‘terrorists’. As recruits Bex, Dan and other teens are put through a harrowing training regime, merely to be shown off to the public to prove that they are safe from attack.

With propaganda, misinformation and rumour it’s difficult for the teens to decide what the truth is and whos side they should be on.

The characters are well-rounded and most have a back story which helps you get to know them. They’re not perfect, they’re flawed and make mistakes like all teenagers.

The story moved along at a good pace and in today’s climate the plotline was plausible and believable! I look forward to reading the second book of the series.

 

False Flag

Book 2

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

 

Darkest Hour

Book 3

Darkest HourBex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

My Review:

In book one of the series, Battle Ground, we witnessed a sequence of events as experienced by Bex Ellman. Book two, False Flag, saw the same events but from Ketty Smith’s point of view. This book follows on from those events and this time we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

I like the strong and loyal female characters that take the lead in the books. Whether rebel or army neither side has much control over their own life. Both girls are simply trying to do their best to protect their friends and/or accomplices and fight for their beliefs.

Darkest Hour is my favourite book so far, of this fascinating series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment.

 

Fighting Back

Book 4

Fighting BackBex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

My Review:

Fighting Back is the penultimate book of the five book Battle Ground Series. The story continues on from book three and once again we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

Both girls are still struggling to come to terms with their losses, and trying to do the right thing, while realising that they have no control of the events or their part in them.

This series goes from strength to strength as the story reaches its climax. While, once again being well-written and steadily paced, this book had a feel of being the lull before the storm and I’m looking forward to reading the final instalment.

 

Victory Day

Book 5

Victory DayBex Ellman and Ketty Smith meet in London. As the war heats up around them, Bex and Ketty must learn to trust each other. With her friends and family in danger, Bex needs Ketty to help rescue them. For Ketty, working with Bex is a matter of survival. When Victory is declared, both will be held accountable for their decisions.

My Review:

Victory Day is the final book of the five-book Battle Ground Series, and what a great way to finish.

The final battle is coming, but not quick enough for Bex and her friends. They need to fight now, to save the government prisoners from execution.

Ketty and Bex meet face to face during the final battle, and while Ketty prevents Bex from being killed, she still has an agenda. She needs to survive the outcome, no matter who wins.

Victory Day is action-packed and thrilling, keeping me in suspense from start to finish.

I have enjoyed the series and will keep my eye out for future books by Rachel Churcher.

 

The Author:

Rachel ChurcherRachel 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.

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