Book Review: World War: Striking the Balance

Reviewed by Clyde McLaughlin II

Striking the Balance is the fourth book in the Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar Series. The book continues the story of an ongoing invasion of Earth by aliens during an alternate version of World War II. The book follows the lives, fights, and tribulations of several people around the globe, spanning from China to Chicago and everywhere in between. The story also follows some of the soldiers of the Race, the name of the alien species, and their thoughts about their invasion. Harry Turtledove once again pushes the envelope on what it means to create an alternate history book.

Striking the Balance continues the ongoing war between the alien invaders, known as the Race, versus humanity. The series takes place during an alternate World War 2 where the Race invades during the beginning of Germany’s invasion of Russia and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The characters range from Joseph Stalin, radar men from England, Communist revolutionaries in China to a cavalry soldier in America and a Jewish freedom fighter in Poland. The book takes place three years into the war with the aliens, America has been invaded, Africa and South America are completely overrun, Asia is fighting back, and Europe is able to survive due Germany’s militarization. Earth has been able to fight against the Race due to humanity’s ability to quickly adapt to sudden change.

Striking the Balance is the perfect balance of alternate history and sci-fi. The characters are believable, and the actions of the nations are portrayed with relative accuracy on how they would actually behave on a world scale. I thoroughly enjoyed Striking the Balance, and I’d give it a 9/10.

Clyde McLaughlin II

Clyde McLaughlin II was a junior in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. He enjoys learning about vexillology and exorcising demons into the fourth layer of hell in the Dante’s Inferno video game.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.


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