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320 pages, Hardcover
First published July 17, 2018
In the quiet of the early morning, before the Reliant’s lights begin to glow, I plan two funerals.
ETA — SECOND THOUGHTS:
This is what a Scela is meant to be. A living weapon, a replacement for the ancient guns that blew holes in the hulls of ships we lost so long ago that their names are no longer taught.
But I’m not Scela. I’m a human being trapped in the metal they made me wear.
I may not be a useful Scela yet. But I’ll be damned if I’m not a useful sister.
"The Chancellor sees us the way humans do, the way I used to see Scela. We're tools. Weapons. Things to be wielded with force."Hullmetal Girls is an ambitious science fiction novel that brings together many elements into an interesting (and frightening) future. The book gripped me with its first words, providing just enough of a primer of the world, the customs, and I had high hopes for this Battlestar Galactica mashup with cyborgs and a militaristic dystopian future. Unfortunately, this book fell short for me and didn't live up to my hopes.
--We are introduced to Aisha as she is going in for her procedure to be made into a Scela (what they call cyborgs) and serve in the General Body. We are present for the painful operation of her taking the metal. She is from the backend of the fleet, the poorer areas, and has chosen this to help her siblings.The characters all took to the metal for different reasons; however, we learn that Key doesn't remember those reasons or anything from her life before.
--We are introduced to Key as she wakes up from the procedure in recovery and discovers that she has no memory of her life prior to the operation. By her mannerisms and drive, she deduces that she is from the front of the fleet, privileged in ways that mean she wouldn't need to choose this life. Is she a true believer?
"Nothing left for me except my exo and this new purpose I found in the fragments of myself."Much of the story is consumed by the conversion to Scela and their training, and I was left wondering what the plot of the book actually was. While there were hints to the political situation and the potential conspiracies, for me they were mired down by the Scela conversion and training. I don't read a lot of science fiction with cyborgs so this may be something typical of the genre that isn't to my personal preferences. I found myself bored and skimming after about 40% of the book, and it wasn't until conspiracies arose and motives were questioned that I got back into the story a bit.