Chanda's Secrets
by Allan Stratton

Allan Stratton's Chanda's Wars

Book review by Karen Talley

Ages: Young Adult

Dream chaser

War, kidnapping, child soldiers.  This was Chanda Kabelo's disturbing dream until it becomes her reality. 

Allan Stratton's book Chanda's Wars is the sequel to his award-winning Chanda's Secrets.  It's six months after her mother's death, in the fictional village of Bonang, Africa.

The subject matter is anything but fiction.  It mirrors events today in Africa and other parts of the world. 

Chanda is experiencing a recurring dream. She is in Trio, the village of her grandparents, her mother's childhood home.  Her mother is warning of a coming storm. Soley and Iris, her siblings, disappear. People are fleeing the village. Clouds roll in and her mother vanishes.

Chanda wakes from her dream.  What does it all mean?

She travels to Trio with her brother and sister. She believes the answer to her dream lies in the home of her ancestors. Then there's the matter of the family curse, which was caused by her mother's refusal of an arranged marriage. The family's survival seems to depend on Chanda.

She arrives in Trio and is met by family members at the village outpost. 
The family welcomes Chanda and her siblings with open arms. 

All is well…until she realizes their motives are not exactly pure.  Their idea of making amends and breaking the curse is to betroth her to the son of the man her mother refused to marry. 

She defies her grandmother's wishes and refuses the arrangement.  Nelson, the young man she is to marry, is no happier about the prospect of marriage than Chanda.

The two families argue. A fight breaks out, words fly, confidences are broken and Nelson's young brother runs off in fear. 

While this is happening, a civil war is crossing the border into Trio. 

Chanda and Nelson crisscross the nearby villages looking for Nelson's brother.  Meanwhile, back at Grandma's house, Soley and Iris are kidnapped by rebel soldiers. Chanda and Nelson's search now includes all three of their respective siblings.

Ah, ha: a light bulb flickers. The meaning of Chanda's dream becomes apparent.  The missing children, the fleeing people and the coming storm...they symbolize the civil war coming to the village of Trio. This was her mother's warning.

The end of the book is both exciting and satisfying.  They say revenge is sweet, and the sweetness of this ending was delicious.

Review - Chanda's Wars

Some of the same strong characters from Chanda's Secrets are in this book, with a smattering of new ones.  Mrs. Tafa is still tickling our funny bone, and Esther, Chanda's best friend, is living with Chanda and keeps her focused. 

The book presents us with a hint of romance.  Are we looking at a possible trilogy, Mr. Stratton?

The story deals with death, kidnapping and war.  Some teens may find the subject matter disturbing - probably not a good book for them.

Chanda's Wars is a good read for youth or adults. Allan Stratton is my new favorite author.  I look forward to reading his other works.  This is definitely a five-star book for me.

from the back cover

Read more of Karen's reviews.

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