Emily Skrutskie’s Hullmetal Girls is an excellent science fiction novel about two young women, Aisha and Key, who have been made into technology-enhanced soldiers (Scela). Their mission as Scela is to protect the interests of the General Body, the leaders of a group of ships that have been looking for a hospitable planet since the destruction of Earth 300 years ago. Factions in opposition of the General Body believe there may be better ways to find a new homeland. A rebellion is brewing, which may or may not be linked to the Scela in Key and Aisha’s four-person team. Class conflicts, family history, and secrets, many secrets, pit all factions against each other and make friends out of enemies.
I will go on record to say that Hullmetal Girls contains the best descriptions of cyborg integration I have ever read. From the initial surgery to the conflict of wills between the General Body’s orders and the interests of the individual characters, the descriptions are written with great clarity and humanity. The first several chapters are near perfect in setting the tone and establishing the tenor of the novel. In addition to tech enhancements, Skrutskie has written two main characters who are complex, driven, and great role models.
Overall, Hullmetal Girls is excellent YA fiction. Skrutskie expertly combines three science fictions premises: the military sign-up, the fleet looking for a new home, and the making of a cyborg. The author adds complex characters, twisted conspiracies, and fun action sequences. I wish there was writing like this when I was young.
5 out of 5 stars
Comes out on July 17th, 2018.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House Children’s, and Emily Skrutskie for an advanced copy for review.