False Flag was a book that I was very excited for; I didn’t even bother to read the synopsis, which meant the whole book was a little bit of a surprise for me. Seeing the events of book one from a different perspective was incredibly interesting & I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
I was sent this book to review as part of a blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
You can read my review of book one here.
⚠️ Terrorism, mass murder, violence, war themes & graphic injury descriptions ⚠️
Ketty 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.
The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.
As I said above, I went into this book without reading the synopsis – I loved book one so there was absolutely no need for me to read what book two was about; if anything I wanted to avoid spoilers. So, that meant that I didn’t realise that the timeline of False Flag is almost identical to Battle Ground – just told from a very different perspective. I love it when authors don’t just write a book with duel narratives, but instead write two separate books with the same timeline but from different protagonists… I always feel like you get so much more out of a plot that way & it often leaves the reader feeling torn & unsure of their perspective on the book & it’s characters – & that is exactly what Rachel did to me with False Flag.
Throughout the whole of False Flag I was so unsure of my opinion on Ketty; I felt sympathy for her because she had had a difficult life, however, for me, it was still no excuse for the things she did in the book, & the things she kept quiet about. I like women who stand up for what they believe in – & Ketty isn’t that kind of woman, instead she stays quiet to protect herself & to help her own cause. Don’t get me wrong, I was really pleased to read this story from the perspective of someone “on the other team” as it was really interesting & it gave a new perspective to the events of book one, but Ketty’s morals were really messed up & she constantly made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t like her in book one, but I really, really didn’t like her in book two.
As False Flag follows the same events of Battle Ground I knew what was coming a lot of the time, however Rachel Churcher has given her readers a VIP pass into the enemy camp & even though we get some explanations for things that occur, the shocking scenes from book one were just as hard to read in book two. Despite this, I loved being able to see that not everyone who I thought was awful, was in fact as awful as I initially thought; it was interesting to see what drove the people on the other side to Bex & what affect Bex’s actions had upon the enemy. False Flag also revealed that the government in this series are a lot more twisted than they initially appeared to be, & like with Battle Ground, it was scary how easy it was to picture this as reality.
False Flag basically focuses on Ketty, who is a complicated character that I don’t really like, but respect & sympathise for in strange ways that don’t make complete sense to me. I hate her violent attitude & her selfishness, but she’s strong & determined, & it’s hard not to appreciate that after the childhood she had. Before reading this book I thought I knew how I felt about all the characters, but now I’m torn & unsure, & I’ll be going into book 3 feeling very confused on where my loyalties lie. Rachel has made this series a lot deeper & dangerous by choosing to write book two how she has done, & if anything, it just goes to show how much of a talented writer she is.
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.
You can find Rachel’s blog here.
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