I’m a really big fan of historical novels and of alternate history plots so I was really excited for this one to come out. The plot sounded really interesting and I was curious to see how women would be added to the war in regards to the plotline. Would they actually get to fight or was it more of a ‘women are here because the courts ordered us to allow them but don’t let them fight’ type of story. I was happy to see these girls and the other female volunteers would be fighting, right alongside the men. There were, of course, people who still didn’t think the girls belonged even after they’d proven themselves.
The book was told in three major parts. The beginning had each girl’s story of how they came to enlist, their reasoning, their backstories, their family life. Each girl was well developed before she even set foot into a recruiting station. We saw Rio’s sense of duty and desire to not be left behind, we saw Frangie’s compassion with her sick animals and need to help her family, we saw Rainy’s bond with her brother and her ability to problem solve. The second part was their basic training. Each girl was at a different location and we saw them struggle and succeed and bond with their unit. The third part was the war and we saw how unprepared they were, even with all the training, because now it was real.
The plot was slow moving at first, not in a boring way, but there was a lot of get through with each character before she could start training and then fight in the war. It was done so we cared about these girls before they even stepped foot inside their barracks and we cared about them making it through their training. It didn’t shy away from the situations the girls had to deal with as female soldiers who weren’t wanted there by everyone. It made you care about the other girls and the guys in the girls’ units and it hurt because the chances of all the characters I liked surviving was slim, and I knew that going into the book.
I found that I most enjoyed Rio’s POV of the three. There seemed to be more action and more characters during her POV, which meant more dynamics between the soldiers in her unit. Frangie and Rainy’s POVs were great as well but they spent more time solo than with other people so there was less connection with other people. It was easy to get sucked into each POV though and it made me glad to learn this book was the first in a series because I can’t wait to see more of Rio, Frangie, Rainy, and the whole ensemble of characters that make up their units.