A Reluctant Warrior by Kelly Brooke Nicholls
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
*** 3 Cranky Stars ***
Forced to flee her village from paramilitaries, Luzma and her family head to Buenaventura to stay with her Aunt. There, she encounters a city torn apart by the army and drug lords.
Her brother Jair becomes an unwitting pawn for a drug lord and when he uncovers a plot that implicates powerful people, he sets off a chain of events. With a death sentence hanging over them, Luzma's one hope is Rafa, an American human rights activist and the possible intervention of international agencies.
Sometimes, you read a book with great writing, but it's thin on plot. Other times, you find a great plot that needs further work on the writing. A Reluctant Warrior is the latter.
This has the potential to be a fantastic work. It's timely, political and gives a fascinating insight into a country riven with civil war and cartels that deal in death.
The statistics at the end of the book in the Author's Notes is sobering reading and I have to admit, confronted by them it made my heart sink.
My main issue with this work is that the writing is clunky and needs to be polished in order to make the fantastic plot shine. It bogged down the pace of the novel and the adjectives and speech tags dragged me out of the work. Told from multiple points of view, we often head hopped from one character to the next and also, time jumped without any indication by section break or new chapter.
These are all small things that can be corrected, but when they're littered throughout a work, it detracts from the overall quality.
In saying that, this book was an eye opener and I commend the author for her humanitarian work in what must be a heartbreaking and at times, soul destroying area.
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