I am loving this series at the moment and I cannot wait for the next book in the series to be released. Michael Grant also wrote a short story for World Book Day 2017 set in the ‘Front Lines’ universe which is in the mail as I type!
Title: Silver Stars
Author: Michael Grant
Date published: January 31 2017
Page Count: 479
She’s fighting to survive.
The summer of 1943, World War II. The Germans have been bloodied, but Germany is very far from beaten. The North African campaign was only the beginning of the long journey for Frangie, Rainy, Rio, and the millions of other Allies.
Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily. Frangie, Rainy, and Rio now know firsthand what each of them is willing to do to save herself—and the consequences. With their heavy memories of combat, they will find this operation to be even tougher.
Frangie, Rainy, and Rio also know what is at stake. The women are not heroes for fighting alongside their brothers—they are soldiers. But the millions of brave females fighting for their country have become a symbol in the fight for equality. In this war, endless blood has been spilled and millions of lives have been lost, but there could be so much more to gain.
The women won’t conquer Italy alone. But they will brave terrible conditions in an endless siege; they will fight to find themselves on the front lines of World War II; and they will come face-to-face with the brutality of war until they win or die.
I absolutely loved this book and was so ecstatic that not only was it just as good as the first book in the series-it was actually better. ‘Silver Star’s ‘follows on from ‘Front Lines’, detailing the experiences of three female soldiers fighting in World War II. Grant created such relatable characters that as a reader, I became invested in, and tells a gripping and impactful story from start to finish.
Firstly, I have to acknowledge how awesome the three main characters are in this book-Rio, Frangie and Raine. After their heroism in the first book, each of the girls continue on their completely different paths within the ‘new’ United States Army during the second world war. Each of their stories are so different and explore different issues and problems each of the girls face throughout their service. They have all been in the army for a while now, are out of the training camps, and thrown into the front lines. They are all strong women and embody different qualities of women, both good and bad. While I do like Frangies softness and empathy she shows as a field medic, and Raine’s logic and intelligence work, my favourite character and the character that resonated the most with me is Rio. Rio embraces the army life, has a strong sense of loyalty and responsibly for her fellow soldiers and at times is brutal in combat. She also displays weakness-worrying that she is losing her femininity, driving away her ‘boyfriend’ with her affinity for combat and continually questions whether she is suitable to be a leader and have the lives of her friends in her hands when she gives orders. We see Rio tackle these issues and grow into an amazing character and someone who I would admire.
The story is also perfectly written and has a balance between intense battle scenes, character growth and emotional scenes, and expositional scenes (normally involving Raine and her intelligence operations). Switching between each characters point of view keeps the story moving and fresh, allowing each page to be filled with important information and avoiding drawn out moments as the story is fitted together. I loved how all of the characters came together, as in the first book, and the penultimate climax was well set up and so fitting for an amazing book.
The book also tackles some important issues, such as racism, sexism and emotional trauma and depression-predominantly in those serving in the army, but also could be extended to the wider society in which the book is set. We see all of the girls continue to fight the stereotypes set by society and constant badgering by the male soldiers as they serve in the army. Frangie continues to experience racial discrimination along with her regime, with hospitals and medical tents segregated. And after Raine’s important intelligence mission, she has to come to gripes with what she had endured.
‘Silver Stars’ is a fantastic sequel to ‘Front Lines’ and continues to create strong characters and an impactful storyline. The setting of the book, during an alternate WWII where women were allowed to fight and serve in the army, allows for such a unique story to be told and I am excited to see where the story goes next.