Tuesday, February 25, 2014

War Brothers

Today I'm going to be reviewing a very sad book about the child soldiers in Uganda. The name of this book is War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay and Daniel Lafrance. It's about a Ugandan boy named Jacob who is abducted by the LRA, aka the Lord's Resistance Army, and forced to become a child soldier. The rest of the book is about the horrors that he sees and how he escapes. There are very depressing parts as well as very touching parts. It's one of those books that makes you feel really grateful that you live where you live.

The art in this book looks something like the art style in The Walking Dead but with color. Whenever Jacob is at home, the pages around the panels are white. Whenever Jacob is in the LRA camp, the pages around the panels are black. This really helps to convey the level of danger the characters are in. When they're at home they're relatively safe, but when they're with the LRA they have so many dangers to face. I also really like how well the art conveys emotion. When characters are scared, they're really scared, when characters are happy, they're really happy, and when they're guilty, you can feel their regret.

A scene I really like is a scene where Jacob is at his home talking to his friend, Tony, about how their boarding school is getting a lot more guards because the school board had heard that the LRA had been abducting children and turning them into soldiers. It's clear that Jacob and Tony don't know the full story, but also that they know more than the adults tell them. It really explains how dire the situation is and how much fear it brings them. What really makes this scene work is how the previous scene takes place with the LRA attacking a truck full of schoolchildren.

This book is most certainly not appropriate for all ages. It is extremely violent. It has scenes of soldiers killing children and parents. The violence is more implied than explicit but it is is still very much there. If it was a movie it would definitely get a PG-13  rating, maybe even an R. I would suggest this book for ages 13 and up. Even though it is very violent, it's also very good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would give War Brothers 8 stars out of 10. 


  1. While my two boys are too young for this book, which is why I read your reviews, I will keep it in mind for them to read in the future. As always, I love your reviews and your take on the books. Keep up the good work!

  2. There are so many global issues where children are forced into very grown up situations and I am glad to hear that something was written for kids about what other kids around the world experience. Milo, your review was very insightful. I look forward to your next review.

  3. Milo - This is your finest review yet! Your command of language is so strong, and you captured every element of war brothers perfectly. I agree with your assessment of the book - very sad, and a good reminder that we're lucky to live where we do. Well done!

  4. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I love these graphic novels that portray global issues. Kind of falls into the vein of Persepolis.

    Great review. Thanks for the warning about the violence. So long as its non-gratuitous I can usually handle it.

    How long of a read is it?