Review: Purple Hearts by Michael Grant

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

FRONT LINES review | SILVER STARS review | Michael Grant Interview

I’ve been a huge fan of this series from day one, and Purple Hearts did not disappoint. In fact, it’s probably the best ending to a trilogy I’ve ever read. THE CLOSURE WAS REAL. We got to see what the characters got up to post-war AND their obituaries so we know what they did with their lives as a whole. Thank you, Michael Grant, I’ve never been more satisfied with an ending. Not to mention, we finally learn who’s been writing these stories! (And I guessed right!)

I feel like in each book, the girls have an identity breakthrough, and I’m glad that I’ve loved a different girl most strongly in each book. In Front Lines it was Frangie, in Silver Stars is was Rainy, and in this book, I’ve rolled round to loving Rio. She’s arguably been through the most, because her character is almost unrecognisable to the girl who stepped into training. In Purple Hearts, Rio got a particularly wonderful scene about femininity and I cheered her on the whole way through. I really love the hardened person she became. She might have lost her innocent view of the world, but in the end she’s better for it.

I also loved that in the book, more than ever, it felt like the girls were interconnected. We’d often see Frangie talking with Rainy or Rio, and I love it best when they’re all aware of each other because, well…it’s just nice, isn’t it? Their moments take you out of the action, (in welcome reprieve) even though there was more explosions and death than ever before! Purple Hearts is gritty and harrowing in all the right places, perfectly capturing the terrors of war. There was also a bigger discussion on deserters and loyalty, which I don’t think has been touched on, but I’m sure if you’d asked the girls in Front Lines what they thought of deserting they’d be giving very different answers to now!

Overall, Rainy’s in top from being a bad-ass spy character, Rio has more responsibility and she handles the weight on her shoulders admirably, and Frangie’s still following close behind, patching everyone up. They all make me so proud, and I’m so pleased I picked up Front Lines, and have followed these girls on this truly epic journey.

I can’t recommend this series more, it’s got sustained action, lush, well developed characters, and brilliant narrative architecture. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pick up Front Lines again.

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Interview with Michael Grant!

So, earlier this month Egmont reached out to us about Michael Grant’s Soldier Girls series, and as part of that we had the opportunity to ask Michael a few questions, and here they are:

  1. For those that haven’t read the series, what three words would you use to describe it?

Intense. Accurate. Entertaining.

  1. What triggered you to write Front Lines?

Actually my father-in-law was pushing the Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson on me, and I thought nah, I’ve read enough about World War 2, but then I started reading it and very soon decided that I wanted to write about it.  It’s just so much story!  So many fascinating and strange and intense stories.

  1. Did you have any real life inspirations behind Rio, Frangie, and Rainy, and if so, who were they? 

Rio is based a bit not on the actual Audie Murphy, who was the most decorated American soldier in the war, but on the idea of Audie Murphy who was this short, squeaky, somewhat effeminate-looking kid from nowhere Texas.  The Marines rejected him, the Navy rejected him, and even after he was accepted in the Army and had been through training and was deployed to Italy, his officers tried to keep him out of combat because he was this little guy who stood 5’ 5” and weighed less than eight stone, which incidentally is about the size of a typical American woman.  Murphy won every medal they had, including the Medal of Honor, which is our equivalent to the Victoria Cross, and is not the sort of thing they hand out as prizes in Happy Meals.

  1. What was the most challenging and the most rewarding part of writing Front Lines?

The most challenging bit was getting the historical details right.  Practically every page required me to go and check some fact.  I suppose the most rewarding part was the feeling of having done something a bit outside my comfort zone.  Also, I’d never written in third person present tense before. You have no idea how many times I had to go back and correct myself for slipping into past tense.  But going with present was part of making the books feel more immediate, less sepia-toned.

  1. What was your favourite scene to write?

I think less in terms of scenes than characters and relationships.  I liked the relationships within Rio’s platoon.  I liked Frangie trying the square the circle between her basic gentleness and faith, and the fact that again and again she is patching soldiers up only to send them back into the fight.  And I liked Rainy’s coldly analytical way of thinking.  I liked all my main characters.  I would definitely like to buy them all a beer and sit in a pub and listen to their stories.

  1. In what ways did writing Front Lines differ from writing your other series?

Well, normally I just make things up.  That’s sort of my job description:  make things up.  The only time I’ve had to do much fact-checking was for the BZRK series, but even there I had much more control over how everything played out.  For FRONT LINES I went to a lot of trouble to get it all right.  In addition to reading and sifting through war videos I went to a number of locations:  Sicily, Luxembourg, Oradour-sur-Glane, Buchenwald.  And all tax-deductible.  Yay!

  1. If the Front Lines girls lived in contemporary society, who would they look up to?

Well, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton.  I’m sure of that much.


If you haven’t started this series yet, then we would highly recommend it and you can read our reviews of Front Lines and Silver Stars, if you need extra persuading!

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Review: Silver Stars by Michael Grant

32182891Silver Stars by Michael Grant
Genre:
Alternate History, Action
Published by: Electric Monkey
Pages: 496
Format: ARC e-book
Series: Front Lines
Rating: ★★★★

Okay, so, for this review we’re going to do things a little differently. I’ve already gushed about how much I adored Front Lines, the first in this kick-ass alternate history about what would’ve happened if women were allowed to fight in WWII, and now it’s time to gush about Silver Stars in a handy dandy list of reasons why it’s so good, and you will love it too!

Continue reading “Review: Silver Stars by Michael Grant”

Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant

27412440Front Lines by Michael Grant
Genre: Alternate History, War
Published by: Electric Monkey
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Series: Silver Stars (#2)

Historical reimagining of what it would’ve been like if women had been allowed to fight in World War II? Where do I sign up? Not for the war (that would be my worst nightmare and this book pretty much solidified that!) but for this sweet piece of fiction. I picked up Front Lines from my local library, and, my goodness, am I glad I did. (It also came highly recommended from my friend Amy who is a HUGE Michael Grant fan.) I had zero expectations because I’ve never read anything by this author but the concept made me think of one of my fave movies ‘A League of Their Own’, a true story about women’s baseball during the war.

Continue reading “Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant”

Review: Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Eve and Adam

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Genre: Sci-fi, Contemporary
Published By: Egmont Books
Pages: 312
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Where to Find: 
Goodreads | Amazon

‘Eve and Adam’ was one of my library reads of the Christmas break. I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, as the tagline was ‘and girl creates boy’. When I researched other reviews of this content, a lot of people were surprised that the book didn’t take place in the future and was instead a 21st Century setting. I guess this was because the technology for creating human life was quite advanced, so not expected in 2013, when this book was published.

Continue reading “Review: Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant”