Hullmetal Girls – Emily Skrutskie

Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Rebellion, LGBT


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.


I’m going to tell you right from the start that you’re not missing anything by passing on this one.

Even if you’re a die-hard fan of science fiction. Even if you absolutely love lesbian relationships. Even if YA is your jam, man.

Because if you’re a die-hard fan of sci-fi, you’ve read so much better. This author isn’t even trying to be original. Enhanced human soldiers that become cyborgs? I mean, that sounds awesome but the word ‘‘robot’’ is basically synonymous of ‘‘sci-fi’’.

What did sound interesting was the fact that both main characters – Key and Aisha – are part of this small cyborg group that trains together and are supposed to be thick as thieves and can read each other’s thoughts.

But here’s the thing. The secondary characters are extremely two-dimensional, and we know very little about our two main ones. I get the appeal of having a character who needs answers about their past, even if it’s a cliché in YA, because it can potentially make things interesting.

I just can’t bring myself to care. Also, I was waiting for the steamy(?), sexy(?), romantic(?) lesbian relationship to appear, but after a hundred pages I was done waiting. Does it even appear? You know what, I don’t even want to know because, while I don’t think Key and Aisha are bad heroines (partly why I’m not giving it one star), they don’t even seem that interested in each other.

To go back to the unoriginality, in this world – like any other YA sci-fi world – there are groups in favour of the government and rebels who try to shake things up. And that’s fine. But the problem is this is basically what this book is about and that’s just disappointing. Déjà vu x 100.

The writing is pleasant, so I am certainly considering giving this author’s debut book – The Abyss Surrounds Us – a try. She’s not a bad writer, but this concept has basically been done before and the characters did not capture my heart. DNF at page 100.


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