Title: Far From the War
Author: Jeffrey David Payne
Publication date: August 6th, 2011
Economic ruin and partisan rancor have pushed America to the brink of a new civil war. Esther is caught in the middle, serving as a page in the United States House of Representatives when rouge politicians and military leaders stage a modern day coup d'etat. When the coup turns violent, she abandons Washington, D.C. for home. She must learn to survive on her own as transportation and financial networks fail, as the war disrupts food and water supplies. The result is a cautionary tale about political extremism and the true cost of war.
Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this review. I expected this book to be a good read, perhaps even average, but I quickly found that it was so much more than that. Far From the War tells the story of Esther, a strong female character and her internship at the House of Representatives as part of her goal to become involved in politics one day. As the government, politicians, and military become completely corrupt and everything pretty much shuts down, Esther's experiences show what an absolutely frightening world this would be and how every person is basically left to fend for themselves with little chance of survival.
With his writing, Payne creates a shockingly complex yet very believable state of the world for the characters. I think it definitely fits into the category of books you could read over and over again and notice something new each time, because there's just so much going on. I was slightly on edge while reading because honestly it frightened me a bit how realistic it all sounded, and how it seemed that we could very easily end up in a similar situation. Many parts of the book were somewhat disturbing and graphic as they described the violence and corruption taking place, and I could feel my stomach turn a few times while reading, but these scenes were necessary to get the point across and not overdone or exaggerated, in my opinion. Just a warning for those of you who may have a hard time reading about such things. The whole topic of the novel is somewhat disturbing, not in an overtly grossed out kind of way but more in a way that really gets you thinking about the state of things and just one possibility of where we might end up if things ever took an awful turn for the worse.
The first chapter was a bit mundane, but after that it started picking up, and I was drawn in. I found many aspects of the book refreshingly unique, such as the setting of Esther's internship and the overall turn of events that took place. I experienced a whole multitude of emotions while reading, from excitement and happiness about the relationships she formed along the way, to fear and horror when everything seemed utterly hopeless, and even tears of joy at the end. It is very rare that a book makes me feel such strong emotions as this one did, and even rarer that a book will make me cry.
I'd go as far as to say that Far From the War has earned a spot among my top ten favorite books, because it was just that amazing. I am very eagerly awaiting the second book in the trilogy, but sadly it's not due to be released until next July. So for now, I will just have to strongly recommend this novel, as I know it's one of those that will stay in the back of your mind and keep you thinking long after finishing it. I don't even feel like my review adequately captured all of my feelings about the book, but if it sounds at all interesting, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.
Overall grade: A+