Noooo! Don't run away from the cheesy cover! I promise this book, and the series is so much better than the covers. I kinda stopped reviewing books, a...moreNoooo! Don't run away from the cheesy cover! I promise this book, and the series is so much better than the covers. I kinda stopped reviewing books, and in fact I didn't really want to do it at all anymore, but when I read this book I loved it and then I finally started in on the rest of the series and I was totally blown away. The Echo Company series is nothing like I thought it would be and I certainly didn't think it was going to be this amazing. I'm going to review this for the entire series just because they are so short and honestly felt like one book altogether, so warning if you only want the summary for the first book.
Michael, or Meat as he's nicknamed by fellow soldiers, is eighteen and has just been sent to Vietnam. He hates it and has no problems letting others know. He's grumpy, sardonic, and very homesick, but more than that he is so very real. Like seriously, he sounds like an authentic teenage boy, and trust me I know how they sound...I live with one, so it's absolutely amazing, and very disturbing, to read about someone so young going through such a horrible experience. There are a group of supporting characters, other soldiers, who are just as young and just as real and all of them, including Michael, are easy to get attached to, but a warning, this is a war story and you probably shouldn't get too attached to anyone.
The battle scenes are visceral and move at a rapid pace, and just like the characters themselves feel very real and, I can't express this enough, NOT surrounded by cheese! Honestly, it's nothing like the cover. Ok, moving on. All the parts in between the fighting are quiet and sad and funny and moving and, wait for it...real. I really need to come up with a new word, hold on...lifelike? truthful? naturalistic? unidealized?
Now we come to Rebecca. Oh how I love Rebecca. She is definitely one of my top two favorite female characters in a book. She is a twenty-one year old nurse stationed in Vietnam, and boy she is not at all what I pictured a nurse to be in a war zone. She is strong but oh so sweet and silly, which is hilarious but also heartbreaking in this setting. She likes to wear pigtails and sings to anyone who will listen, and even those who wont, but when we get down to the nitty gritty it's all really just an act to keep her patient's spirits high, and maybe keep herself from drowning in sadness. But you're probably wondering, 'But Nina, is she realistic?'. And to you, random person who might be reading my review, I answer...of course she is.
So, where does Rebecca come into play in this war story about a teenage boy? That would be book three, which is in her point of view, and near the end of it she finally meets up with Michael and the boys. I totally admit I was waaaay too excited about their meeting up, and honestly it didn't really go as I thought it would, with grumpy Michael acting a lot less grumpy and a lot more gentlemanly when he finds a nurse crawling around in the middle of the jungle.
So, what have we learned about this book? #1. IT'S NOT CHEESY! #2. It's...realistic. #3. The characters are all likable and engaging, and...realistic. Ok, I'll stop. #4. The writing is truly amazing. #5. It might actually teach you a bit about the Vietnam war if you're like me and know nothing at all about it. #6. IT'S NOT CHEESY! (less)