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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The political science fiction series The Tribal Wars is back with its second book, The Body Politic by Stella Atrium, which I was fortunate enough to read just a couple of weeks after finishing book one, The Bush Clinic. Women are burning themselves up in Cylay Square when the lead protagonist Brianna Miller returns to Dolvia. Readers will remember the horrific oppression revealed in book one, which felt like a couple of Molotov cocktails away from absolute ruin. This book does what the first book didn't, which was to give some backstory on earth and how space colonization occurred. Points of view alternate and I found Kelly Osborne, an assistant taken on by Brianna who states that she is “not blessed by Dolvia”, to be the most pressing. Power disparity, desire, ideologies, corporate greed, and absolute control escalate from boiling to spilling over in the space of this single volume.
Stella Atrium strikes again with an intelligent, powerful work of science fiction that grasps the natural tendencies of individuals to clamor for dominance even when the opportunity to start over presents itself. The Body Politic is interesting in that we are now exploring the minds of two young women who are half 'other'. It was fascinating to me that Kelly viewed Brianna as opportunistic and patronizing, highlighting the disparity even for those who were not direct colonizers or 'Softcheeks'. The testosterone point of view comes via an embedded journo named Hershel, and Mark Shaw is back as well. Atrium is already a spectacular writer so going in I knew this would be an intriguing continuation of the novel I had so recently finished. The follow-up is better still and felt more descriptive, being even better at capturing the emotional toll of war regardless of where you stand while fighting it. The only downside for me is that I may have to wait quite a while before the next book is released.