2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for books; I don’t know how I will find time to read them all! (Don’t be silly brain, you’ll find time…) One book I made sure to make time for recently was Silver Stars by Michael Grant.
Silver Stars by Michael Grant
Publication Date: 09 February 2017
Publisher: Egmont UK
Sequel to Front Lines, the epic new young adult series by the author of GONE set in an alternate World War II.
Summer 1943. The enemy has been bloodied, but Nazi Germany is very far from beaten. Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily.
With heavy memories of combat, the three young soldier girls – Rio, Frangie and Rainy – now know what they are willing to do to save themselves, and understand the consequences of those actions. On the front lines, they will again come face to face with the brutality of war until they win or die, while simultaneously fighting their own personal battles. No one will emerge unscathed.
Last year I read Front Lines, a YA book which imagines an alternate universe where a change in legislation allows young girls and women in America to enlist during World War II. As I had been impressed with the originality and story of Front Lines, I was open to continuing on with the series. I’m very lucky to have had the pleasure to read Silver Stars, the second book in the Soldier Girls series.
Welcome back, Gentle Reader, welcome back to the war
Silver Stars focuses on a particular time in the war. From my understanding, this is when Allied Forces (Britain and America) invaded Italy in a bid to remove Italy from the war. In Silver Stars, we are reunited with our three Soldier Girls – Rainy, Frangie and Rio. Rainy; a smart Jewish young woman who works in intelligence, providing vital information to the US Army. Frangie; a kind-hearted medic who takes pride in helping people to health despite the racism and sexism she often has to endure as a black woman. And finally, we have Rio; a country girl on the front lines, struggling to cope with the reality of war.
We each see a different side to the war through the three girls, however it would seem that Silver Stars focuses more on the stories of Rio and Rainy. Rio is struggling to deal with the war and how its changing her. She is no longer the naive, shy country girl she was. She has killed and has seen colleagues be killed in front of her. Rainy on the other hand, becomes involved in a complex and high risk operation. The operation is dangerous, not only because of the nature, but also because she is a woman, and Jewish. I have to admit that I wasn’t fond of Rainy in Front Lines but her narrative in Silver Stars was intriguing and adds an edge to her character and the story. Whilst I can appreciate Rio and Rainy have more of a “story” to tell than Frangie does, there is something sweet about Frangie that acts as a tonic after a particular heavy chapter of war and death.
It is possible to read Silver Stars without reading Front Lines, as events from the first book are mentioned. It depends on you as a reader, and whether you are able to pick things up mid-series. Personally, I like to start right at the beginning! If I had managed to find the time, I would have liked to have re-read Front Lines before reading Silver Stars.
But Rio, and women like her, are intruding in an area that has always been reserved to men: Rio is a warrior. She and others like her have shown that girls – women – could do more than work; women could be brave and aggressive. Women could kill. And Rainy is sure that reality will change the world.
One thing that I would have liked to have seen in Silver Stars, is a little more attention/focus on the love triangle beginning to form between Rio, Strand (her love interest back home) and Jack (an officer in her team/squad). Readers of my blog will know by now I am a sucker for love stories, so I would have liked to have seen a bit more tension or emotion from each of them. There’s a war going on! Who do you want, Rio? *shakes book* This is just my personal opinion – there may be other readers who didn’t like the love triangle at all!
In terms of the style of writing, Silver Stars is a very intelligent book. Each narrative is written in a great amount of detail, and I can’t begin to fathom the time that Michael must have spent meticulously researching every aspect of the war to bring the Soldier Girls to life. As such, it is not a book to dip in and out of. At times, it isn’t an easy read, and hence it isn’t a book I would particularly recommend to someone looking for something light-hearted! However, if you are wanting a thought-provoking read, and one that challenges you as a reader to imagine an alternative version of history, I would recommend Silver Stars.
Please do bear in mind that Silver Stars is set in a time where women, and indeed people of colour (men and women) were subject to daily abuse. As such there is also a lot of misogynistic and racist language which by the author’s own admission, is tame in comparison to the reality.
I rated Silver Stars by Michael Grant 4/5 on GoodReads as I found it to be an excellent addition to the Soldier Girls series. Quite often, sequels can fall a little flat. I’m pleased to say that Silver Stars is far from flat, and takes the story to dizzying new heights. I’m curious and excited to see where our three Soldier Girls will end up in the next installment (come on now, there HAS to be a third book!)
At the time of writing, there is a fantastic giveaway running where one lucky duck will win copies of the full Gone series, along with Front Lines, Silver Stars, and the World Book Day book Dead of Night, all by Michael Grant. Crikey, that’s a lot of books! To enter, all you have to do is completed the required entries in the below widget. I would point out that I am not the moderator for this giveaway, nor am I responsible for it. If you do have any questions about the giveaway, please let me know and I would be very happy to pass them on to the team responsible.