Fiction - Military
549 Pages
Reviewed on 01/07/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Citrus by Tabitha Kumwembe is a female-fuelled science fiction military thriller set in the future. Alexis Creed is hungry for retribution following the brutal destruction by Prudowian soldiers of all she holds dear: her family and her nation of Sapphire. Set in a radical and innovative futuristic macrocosm, Alexis is forced to balance her anguish and her objective on a margin where the potential for missteps sits on a knife's edge. A born leader, Alexis' military ascent is as marked as her passion for vindication, but when she learns that a fellow conscript is from the sect for which she has the most virile form of hatred, Alexis is tested in ways that will require every ounce of strength she has left. The balance rather abruptly shifts to where pressing forward despite unhealed wounds is tied together in a difficult new circumstance where she must come to terms with having her heart on the line as well.

Tabitha Kumwembe brings a new universe to life in Citrus. Action and adventure are definitely not in short supply and Kumwembe keeps the intrigue and tension strong enough to carry a multi-faceted plot. The number of characters is immense and diverse with varied motivations, although Alexis is kept clear with a first-person narrative. I did find some of the character development to be less robust than I prefer but given that this is the start of a series, I would imagine that Kumwembe will flesh them out more thoroughly as the saga progresses. The writing is uniquely simple and straightforward and took some getting used to; readers who enjoy substance over style will appreciate the voice of Citrus' format. It is clean and easy. I loved the conflict and many, many overlaps of betrayal that run the gamut of personal and political. There are fantastic battles that are interspersed with twists, and overall this is a worthy addition to the genre. Recommended.