Review of False Flag by Rachel Churcher

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.

False flag is the flip side to Battle Ground, book one in the series. Whilst book one was all about Bex, False Flag is Ketty’s story. Ketty and her fellow recruit Jackson were very much the antagonists of book one and I found Ketty’s cruelty hard to reconcile at times, I have to admit I was a little apprehensive of diving into a full Ketty story as I wasn’t sure I would care about her enough as a character because of my established feelings. For the most part I found that the author pulled the character together well, turning her into more of a morally grey personality who you think you might end up wanting to feel sorry for, but ultimately, they take their broken past and turn it into something callous and entitled rather than anything even remotely resembling empathy. This is all clear from book one and it was actually a little chilling at times to learn just how much contempt she holds to those who’s care she is entrusted with. Ketty is a remorseless character, she is ruthlessly ambitious which is also her downfall at times, her inability to see past her “rinse and repeat” style of dream stomping ultimately means she never gives herself the opportunity to learn from her mistakes.

I actually really enjoyed seeing Camp Bishop from the other side and in fact that made it more of an apprehensive read, knowing what was coming and then finding out the awful truth behind each turn. The catalyst event in Battle Ground was quite astonishing from the other side and shows that what we are seeing is just a very small amount of the much bigger picture, a country determined to have martial law no matter the cost, in order to facilitate their agenda. In my review of book one, I touched on the imagination behind the armour and weaponry and whilst I liked that we had a more in depth look at this aspect in False Flag, I absolutely loved the battle field healing tech that we are introduced to which cements the sci-fi edge to this series and I’m really excited to see where this aspect takes us next, as it’s clear that there is no expense to be spared, by whatever government there is, in achieving their ultimate goal.

There were lull moments which I think felt more so because I knew that somewhere out there Bex was doing something more exciting and towards the end the parallel story approach overlapped a little much, but I think that ultimately Ketty just about manages to hold her own in this book. It’s hard because Bex was so refreshing and I really wanted to know where her story went next, but with book 3 on the horizon I don’t have much longer to wait!

4*

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