ARC Review: War Mother

War Mother by Fred Van Lente

Release Date: March 13, 2018.

Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors.

Page Count: 121.

Genres: Sci-fi, graphic novel.

I received a free copy of War Mother from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

War Mother is set 2000 years in the future. Earth is unrecognizable from what it once was – a harsh, deadly landscape is what remains after centuries of war. Ana is a War Mother, a person bioengineered to excel in battle and protect her tribe. Her tribe lives in an enclave called “The Grove” that bioengineers everything they might want – except for technology. Ana must travel outside The Grove and scavenge for everything her home cannot create for them.

My favorite things about War Mother were the characters and the world. Ana is a strong female lead –as War Mother, she ensures that her tribe will not only survive, but thrive. This leads to some interesting interactions between her and other characters. The gender roles are reversed between her and her husband, something you don’t see much of. In one scene, her husband expresses frustration at always being saved, instead of being able to save or help her.

I also particularly enjoyed the interactions between Ana and Flaco – her sentient sniper rifle. Flaco is a piece of sentient machinery created by the enclave. He’s “born” in the beginning of the novel, and slowly learns more about the world along the way.

War Mother is set on Earth, but it’s so far in the future that it’s nothing like it once was. Most of the humans are bioengineered in some way, so much so in fact that in one part of the story they talk about how humans have evolved into a different species, sharing little DNA with humans in our time. I think this is an interesting concept to explore in sci-fi that isn’t considered enough, because if you get far enough in the future, humans would absolutely have to evolve in order to adapt to new environments.

Earth in War Mother is a very harsh place. Ana’s tribe is in the middle of a dangerous jungle, full of unrecognizable monsters that will kill at first sight. But Ana’s tribe luckily lives in a sanctuary – The Grove. The Grove is an interesting concept – it’s one of the last places where humanity’s scientific knowledge was stored. But more than that, I loved the concept of it being like a living thing, that could create whatever the people needed.

One problem I had with the world was that it is so different from Earth that if I hadn’t read the synopsis, I would’ve figured it was set on another planet. I think it should have been clear from the beginning that it wasn’t set on Earth.

The plot during this volume mostly entails Ana going on scavenging excursions, and then trying to find a new place for her tribe to live. It was very fast-paced and action-packed. I think the story could have benefitted from more “cool down” time – the plot goes so quickly from one action-packed point to another, that I had a little trouble following what was going on. Despite that, it was a really exciting and fun read, and I was cheering for Ana throughout.

One last thing I’d like to mention is the artwork, which I thought was excellent. Ana is like a punk-rock warrior queen, I loved her character design. It was also easy to tell the other characters apart from one another. The landscape was wonderfully rendered, the artist really captured that lush jungle feel. The colors are vibrant and chosen in such a way as to set the mood for any particular scene.

Overall, I would definitely recommend War Mother, especially to established sci-fi fans who enjoy stories set far in the future, or stories with strong female leads. I don’t know if I would recommend this to people who don’t usually read sci-fi or graphic novels, however. Because the plot was a bit choppy, and because I found the setting a bit confusing at first, I went with a rating of four stars.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What about you guys, do you think you’ll give War Mother a read when it comes out? Do any of you enjoy reading sci-fi? Thanks for reading!

xx Zoë

Other Stories Like War Mother:Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – Ana TOTALLY reminded me of Furiosa the whole time I was reading. Mad Max is set far in the future, after Earth has been decimated by nuclear war. Furiosa is part of a tribe, and her job is to drive the War Rig, (a suped-up semi truck) to trade for supplies with other tribes. She’s a complete badass, just like Ana.

  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey – Another sci-fi story set far in the future, where humans have reached out into the stars and colonized our neighboring planets and asteroid belt. Reminded me of War Mother because it considers how humanity would evolve in order to live better on different planets.
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan – Another great sci-fi graphic novel series. Set in a world where two species have been involved in a centuries-long war that has engulfed the entire galaxy. Things get crazy when a couple from opposing sides get together and have a baby. Also has a very strong female lead.

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