I’m behind on my reviews. We know this. But I’m catching up. The thing with Front Lines is that I loved it. I loved it so much that I sat down to review it right after reading… and just couldn’t. I had too many words in my head and lacked the patience to try and figure out of to untangle that fangirling mess.
I did write a review for MaximumPop! and you can read that here.
But because I don’t want to repeat myself, I’m going to just throw some fantastic reasons why Front Lines is a stellar read that needs to be picked up.
1. Concept – Set in an alternative WWII where girls are conscripted for the front line (hence the title, yeah?) alongside the boys. Gender doesn’t matter. On paper. Of course, it does matter to a society and culture that has women’s roles ingrained deeply into them. And one o those roles does not include firing rounds at enemy forces.
2. A plucky, compelling bunch of characters. It’s always listed as 3 main characters, but I feel like there’s four (technically five if you count the unnamed narrator). But there’s Frangie, Rainy, Rio and also Jenou. She’s such a big part of Rio’s story and her life it feels strange not to include her. She experience as much change and character development as her BFF.
3. Setting – Yup. Let’s head back to America in the 1940s. Hell yes. It’s a bit like the beginning of the Captain America film where he’s out and about but thinking about signing up for the army. You know? Obviously these girls are in different parts of the country. But the same tone and drive is an undercurrent of all.
4. Friendship and camaraderie – I loved how this element shone through. Sure enough, it’s common in most wartime narratives. But it’s important. And it was really interesting to see how it would play out with the girls thrown into the mix.
5. Character development – I’ve already touched upon this, but I think the character with the most noted change is Rio. It’s fascinating to watch it happening on the page.
6. The unnamed narrator – At the beginning we’re given an unknown someone, stuck in a field hospital and pondering over writing about their experiences. They know these girls very well, but who are they themselves? We don’t know. And it’s maddening! HA! I WANT TO KNOW! I made sure that in our MP! interview with Michael Grant that we asked him if we ever found out. And we do. Eventually. *phew* I have much to say about this in a post coming soon. You lucky beans.
7. Story – It’s addictive. It’s got that whole ‘Band of Brothers’ feel to it and I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I knew they’d be facing the next hurdle, and the next, and the next. And that the stakes were steadily getting higher.
8. War – Fascinates me. That might sound weird, but it does. That we as humans can do this to each other… it’s a psychological fascination for me. Also, it’s interesting that no war is the same, and yet it’s always the same. You know? You throw women onto the front line, and what changes? Not a lot. Bullets still fly, people still get hurt, someone wins at the end of the day. Set to repeat. But at the same time, nothing is the same with the girls there.
9. Writing – I love Michael Grant’s writing style. He doesn’t shy away from the darker elements, but there is enough light to balance it. Also, it’s a very confident and stalwart writing style. And what I mean by that is I feel safe reading his books; safe from plot holes or strange character actions, and I’m not worried that at any point the story will feel weak. He’s a goddamn pro, y’all.
10. The cover – you cover whores out there, rejoice. Because I think the cover is enough of a reason to pick this up and see what’s inside. I love the cover. It’s so clever. If you look close on the UK edition the camouflage print is actually people! MIND BLOWN!
11. The end – it feels like you get much closure at the end, but at the same time, you don’t. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? I only mean that it feels like a satisfying place to leave it and yet I still want to know more. Well, we’re in luck, friends. This is a series. YAY!
Have you read Front Lines? What did you think?
A copy of the book received, with thanks, from the publisher. Opinions all my own.