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Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front Lines by Michael Grant
Series: Soldier Girl #1
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Kathrine Tegen Books
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 576
Genre: Historical Fiction
Perfect for fans of The Book Thief and Code Name VerityNew York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.
     World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.
     These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

I can't really explain how little I cared about this book.  I could blame my feelings on simple preferences but there was something lacking. It was just how distant the whole story felt. The story is split between three characters as they come together after a particular battle but it's rather jarring to get pulled out of every story and moved to a plot with completely different feeling.

Some of the main characters were great: Rainy needs her own book. Honestly, she was so much fun to just read about I wish I could have just stuck through her storyline instead of flipping between the three. Frangie's plot line was good, but it was a very different story than Rio and Rainy's and honestly a lot edgier and more worthwhile to sit down and contemplate.  Rio...made me want to go to sleep.  Rio was the fresh-faced farm girl who becomes a killer. We know her story and honestly I didn't need to read it again.  It wasn't satisfying. Jenou, Rio's friend, is way more interesting and I kept waiting for there to be a LGBTQ edge to her (it's hinted a lot she is very comfortable with her sexuality and it would have been interesting to add this element to it). Overall, I wish that Rio's entire story could have been plucked right out or replaced with Jenou's point of view.

There is romance that is purposefully undeveloped so it becomes a cliffhanger but it felt like such a cheap way to draw readers into the next book that it was very annoying.  The romantic leads of Frangie and Rainy's stories are fun but again, Rio's are exactly what you would expect (yes, plural because of course there is a love triangle).

Finally, I feel like Grant missed a chance to write a commentary about women's lives in the military today. There is some talk about rape and there is a lot of blood, so please keep that in mind before picking this book up, but still I just wished Grant had seized the oppertunity. If you want to read a WWII story, I recommend this story because I can't really think of any of other books to pick up.
I'm being nice here...but yeah, three targets slayed.