This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Other Books: The Abyss Surrounds Us
Published by Delacorte Press on July 17, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.
Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.
In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.
With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.
Hullmetal Girls was both painful and fun to read, with machinery and body modification in space. Skrutskie’s latest novel is quite different for those who have read her The Abyss Surrounds Us duology, but just as good.
No cute sea monsters though. 😞
What can you expect from Hullmetal Girls then?
Because that’s what you’re really here for. (That, and well, prime book shoving from one of your favorite book dragons.)
Space and machinery
Hullmetal Girls is kind of cyborgs in space but not exactly cyborgs as Scela are people who are enhanced with machinery to be stronger and better. There’s a huge price to pay, but also rewarding for those who make it to the top. I found it interesting to see how the Scela worked both during the process of becoming one and training.
Very painful beginning
Skrutskie introduces us to Aisha, a girl who decides to undergo surgery to become Scela, an enhanced soldier who is stripped of humanity to protect the Fleet ruled by the General Body. We’re in the process of the surgery with her, and it’ll be a painful read as she is being taken apart and put back together.
Strong sense of family
Family is a huge theme from the beginning of the book until the end. Aisha risks her life to become Scela to provide a better life for her remaining family and to give her younger brother the best care for his sickness. Throughout the book, we see this as her motivation to get through basic training and to be a part of the best Scela, even though she probably doesn’t care or want to be there. She’s not the only one though, as one of her teammates undergoes the procedure to help her sister become the best researcher she can possibly be. If anything happens to the people they love, they’re in a void of nothing, trying to figure out what their meaning of life is.
Friendship and teamwork
After Scela survive their procedure, they are placed into squads who they will be with from training and into their careers as the Fleet’s protective body. From early on, Aisha and her squadmates: Key, Wooj and Praava are all thrown together and have to figure how they can work together as a team. They learn that if they all want to accomplish their goals, they’ll have to meet somewhere in the middle. It’s not something they get ahold of easily and without some challenges, though, but they get there eventually.
Hullmetal Girls has an open ending but brings everything together to a satisfying closure that leaves some imagination to the readers of what could happen to the characters after the book ends.