Last Updated on February 14, 2024
The Division: Recruited by Thomas Parott (audiobook narrated by Amanda Dolan) is an installment of Ubisoft’s The Division series. The premise for said series is that Earth has been decimated by a horrifying variant of smallpox known as the Dollar Flu. Much of the world has been reduced to a post-apocalypse state with the only remains of the US government being the Department of Homeland Security top secret program known as the Division. They have been given special equipment and authority to bring back order to the wasteland by any means necessary.
Maira Kanhai is a former US cyberwarfare specialist who tries to join the military again when the Dollar Flu happens, only to find out there’s no US military remaining. Ending up defending an isolated collection of survivors outside of Washington DC, she is barely able to keep everyone alive when they fall under attack from the Outcasts (enemies from The Division 2 video game). Still, her heroic actions impress a team of Division agenys and they attempt to bring her into the fold. This begins a journey across West Virginia to try and make contact with the people who could supply the survivors of Washington DC with food.
The Division: Recruited feels very much like a video game installment of the Division franchise in both good as well as bad ways. This is tie-in fiction so it’s good that they’re actually bothering to try to feel like the game everyone liked enough to purchase a novel set in the world regarding. However, it’s also something that sometimes feels a little too much like the author is attempting to capture the feel of the video games. For example, the protagonists kill about a hundred Outcasts within the first half of the book and I mean that number literally. While acceptable in a third person shooter, you have to wonder how the organization could take those kind of losses in-universe and not be broken as a faction.
The Division’s premise is one that could rather easily be flipped on its head to show an unchecked unaccountable government agency on a rampage through a people who didn’t elect them to be executioners but that’s not what the series is about. No, the morality of the setting is pretty much Division=Good, Enemies=Bad, and Rogue Division Agents=Evil. That’s fine for what this is but don’t expect the book to dabble in any moral ambiguity. There are the people trying to rebuild America and the psycho baddies who want to kill everyone with disease or enslave the other survivors with their semi-trailers armed with machine guns. No, I’m not kidding.
The protagonists are the plucky heroine, the noble leader, and their strong but silent associate. It’s a likable enough trio and one that relies heavily on archetypes but doesn’t fail despite this. Still, despite our heroic leads, this is still a post-apocalypse novel and we’re forced to confront a lot of things that illustrate how bad things have gotten. The Dollar Flu may have wiped out a good chunk of humanity but it will be famine who finishes off a good portion of the rest of it unless they can get those supply lines going.
In conclusion, I’m inclined to recommend this novel if you are already a fan of The Division universe. It’s considerably lighter than most post-apocalypse stories but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It also might be a semi-decent introduction to the Division world if you’re not a fan of the games but I’d recommend Hearts on Fire over this in that case. It also makes a lot of references that you would probably not get. I also think this book is better in audiobook form than read as the performance really adds a lot to the story.