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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Drone Child: A Novel of War, Family, and Survival is a work of fiction in the military and action subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author David H. Rothman. The book is a revised edition of No Taller than My Gun. The book follows 15-year-old Lemba Adula after his abduction by the Congolese Purification Army, which uses the threat of violence against his family to force him to operate drones for them. Targeted due to his reputation as a genius, Lemba must use all his wits and cunning if he stands any chance of escaping and rescuing his sister from a sex trafficker.
This was a challenging but powerful read exploring the dread that comes from being a young person living in an area of conflict; the recruitment of child soldiers and the threat of sexual exploitation are particularly given a great deal of gravity from the point of view of a child affected by conflict. David H. Rothman has a compelling tale to tell and an important message to impart to readers about the reality of distant warzones. Lemba deserves highlighting as an excellent protagonist for this type of story; at once feeling physically in danger due to being a minor in a world of aggressive adults but also having power in his intellect and determination. A harsh but compelling discussion on the real-world plight of child soldiers, Drone Child should be lauded for the frank conversations it has the power to open for younger readers.