ARC Review: Whitley: Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

Book Cover
title: Hullmetal Girls
author: Emily Skrutskie
pages: 320
format: eARC
buy it: Amazon | Goodreads
rating: 3/5

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.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

I was most of the way through this book and stuck on why I was having so much trouble finishing it. It made no sense why I wasn’t devouring the book as fast as possible – it’s got spaceships and cyborgs and conspiracies and training montages! It’s got girl friendships and cool tech and interesting side characters and evil governments being taken down from within!

And…it’s the last one. Taken down from within. Because, as much as there’s a lot of stuff going on with factions and resistance groups and such, neither of our main characters actually have any motivation to take down the evil government. They’re just sort of stumbling through the plot, poked and prodded by circumstances and outside actors. Any urgency I felt in this plot was generally contained within individual plot points, and once those points ended, both of our main characters were like “m’kay, that was weird, back to training to be a good government lackey now.” Granted, this dynamic changed near the end, but it took long enough that my sense of connection had really waned. There was a sense of ‘okay, get on with already,’ rather than any emotional satisfaction from seeing their struggles come to fruition.

It’s really shame, because in the personal sense, their struggles were really great. Aisha and her family concerns and Key with her identity crises were both beautifully wrought, and made for compelling stuff…while we were in their chapters. But then we’d leave their chapters and go back to conspiracy plot and lose the emotional thread because they had no motivation for that other plot.

The sci-fi aspects were really great, and the body horror stuff was just the right amounts, with lots of chilling descriptions of the turning-cyborg process. The characters all learning how to handle their new, enhanced bodies and coming to terms with both the good and the bad parts of it were interesting to read. There was a mind-share aspect which I think could have been used to more potential, as is in the book it seemed more like an excuse to info-dump on non-POV characters, and then got ‘turned off’ when the plot needed it to be gone. But other than that, yes, cyborg goodness.

So, yeah. Good characters and setting, but not a lot of follow through on the tension which made for a rather fragmented read. I’d still suggest it for people who are interested in the subject matter, because it does deliver on the summary.


  1. شركة المثالية للتنظيف افضل شركة تنظيف بالمنطقة الشرقية تخصصت في تقديم كافة الاعمال المنزية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بالمنطقة فلديها افضل الخدماتبافضل جودة واوبارخص الاسعار التي لا تتوفر الا معها كافضل وارخص شركة تنظيف بالاضافة الي خدمتا مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات الامنة والفعالة علي الحشرات بجميع انواعها .. تقدم لكم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بخصومات هائلة يمكنكم الحصول عليها من خلال الروابط التالية

    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة المثالية للنظافة
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالدمام
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالقطيف