It’s my turn on the BlogTour Balancing Act by Rachel Churcher.
The first book in the series ‘Battle Ground‘ will be free to download on May 28th: http://getbook.at/BattleGroundBook1
About the Author
Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.
She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.
Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.
About the Battle Ground series
The Battle Ground Series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence. Spoiler warning: Balancing Act is a tie-in novel in the series, revisiting the events of Darkest Hour, Fighting Back, and Victory Day. It is suitable for older teens and adult readers.
About the book
Corporal David Conrad has life figured out. His job gives him power, control, and access to Top Secret operations. His looks have tempted plenty of women into his bed, and he has no intention of committing to a relationship.
When Ketty Smith joins the Home Forces, Conrad sets his sights on the new girl – but pursuing Ketty will be more dangerous than he realises. Is Conrad about to meet his match? And will the temptations of his job distract him from his target?
Although this is the sixth book in the Battle Ground series it is more of tie-in written through the eyes of one character, David Conrad, and it also veers slightly off the written path. I recommend reading the other books in the series to be able to get the full gist of this one, because it references certain people and events that take place in the previous books.
It begs the question whether David realises he is actually just a high priced hooker – oh wait, how about no fee hooker. Sourcing information or spying as we luddites like to call it, and using sexual encounters to do so, well I think David’s horse is a little higher in his own mind. His own tune is very much one of a debonair Casanova in a dystopian world. Now that’s a premise.
‘I’ve marked her body, broken her skin’ – This element of the story has a wee bit of a romanticised possessive slant to it. In general Corporal Conrad views himself as the gift that keeps on giving and as smarter than the average bear, but then perhaps that leaves him vulnerable for betrayal and being completely hoodwinked.
Unlike the rest of the Battle Ground series, which falls into the sub-genre or category of YA, this has more of an adult tone and fits better in the NA slot. The dystopian revolution premise that has a sharp taste of reality to it, because it is set in a post-Brexit and Scottish independence world.
I’m in two minds about this book. It doesn’t fit with the overall gist of the general Battle Ground vibe, but it does lend itself to a spin-off. I think these are two separate entities that can co-exist in the BG world-building, however they are targeting slightly different demographics. If you’ve read the rest of the books the background info and scenes in this book will make sense, but it will feel like a completely different read. Then again perhaps this will just more readers over to the dark side – they have cookies you know, and bombs.
I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of David’s or his toxic masculinity, I found him creepy, possessive and a lot of words I that would be censored on many platforms. Does the story work in combination with the pre-existing info of the previous books – yes it absolutely does.
Personally I think it’s time for Churcher to explore where her creativity is leading her, and perhaps that will be outside of Battle Ground – it’s okay to let an established series learn to walk and run by itself. Then again perhaps this dystopian setting is just getting started.