Under Attack by Jim Eldridge
I’ve seen this guy’s name batted around bookish circles a number of times but never had the chance to read something by him before – thank you Barrington Stoke!
Dr Sari Patel and Captain Joe MacBride are tasked with building a hospital deep in Afghanistan. When the Taliban attack though, they switch to keeping the nearby village safe but when a young girl is hurt in the attack, Sari and Joe find they’ve got their hands full on both fronts.
Barrington Stoke’s website describes this as an ‘action-packed’ story and it certainly is that! A hospital and village that comes under attack, with a doctor having to perform a risky operation under gunfire whilst soliders try to defend the village… yeah, I’d say that qualifies as action-packed! That being said, unlike with some action-heavy some books that I’ve read, I didn’t get lost in this one. I think I’ve mentioned it before on this blog but usually action scenes leave me a little confused – I can see the start and the end in my head, but the middle just becomes a blur of motion and very jumbled. That doesn’t happen with Under Attack, at times it’s so clear in fact that it almost feels like I’m watching scenes on the news, so I have to chalk author Eldridge up with points for that at least!
Interestingly, the book differs from a lot of the YA and teen books I’ve read recently in that both the main characters are full adults. If you think about it, that’s really unusual in a book that’s clearly aimed at teenagers.
The book also has illustrations to help break up the scenes. I really liked these, they were a little graphic novel/action man-esque and worked really well with the sort of story Under Attack is.
The bit I especially liked though was that although this is a village and hospital under attack there was a reason given for why the Taliban wanted it destroyed. The Taliban weren’t just the enemy who attacked just because, there was a purpose behind it, it wasn’t just ‘they’re evil and bomb hospitals for fun’. That for me is the mark of a well-thought out book where warfare plays such a large part of the story; the enemy isn’t just one dimensional and written off as generically evil, it actually has a purpose and agenda of it’s own. War is never so black and white and it always annoys me when books write it like that so Under Attack’s approach is far more to my liking.
Altogether an excellent read and, as it’s Barrington Stoke, has a dyslexia-friendly reading age of 8 and a teen interest age.
Find Under Attack here.