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This book was action packed and kept me on my toes. It was so cool to see these giant robotic mechanized weapons being used to control society. Usually these contraptions are portrayed as tools to help humans fight back against monsters but in this case, they were used to control outer regions to a capital, making sure that they meet quotas and such for resources to be sent to the capital.
Enter the Gearbreakers, which are brave individuals that take on these mechanized weapons by taking them down from the inside. I have to give props to them because this would be such a dangerous job where your life would be on the line daily.
I definitely got Hunger Games vibes during this book with a mix of Divergent/Red Rising. The book focuses on fighting back for what you believe in and doing everything you can to break the normal ways of how society currently works.
There is also a sapphic relationship in here which I was rooting for from the very beginning! You will feel pain, love, longing, fury and so many other emotions if you decide to read this book.
I would recommend this book for lovers of Pacific Rim or any of the books mentioned above. You will not be disappointed!
As a debut novel, Mikuta's Gearbreakers is a good work. The characters were enjoyable, the relationship is decent (something Young Adult novels often bungle I find), and overall, I enjoyed the time reading this book. If you're in the market for a sapphic young adult novel, then I recommend picking this up and seeing if you enjoy it too.
However, to warn a bit, I do think the book wastes a lot of this potential. The author had too strong of a habit of introducing potentially interesting story ideas and dynamics only to be rid of them in a matter of a couple chapters. This happens far more with Bellasona's storyline rather than Eris's, but there are a couple more times throughout the novel she does the same. Introduce an interesting idea that can cause suspense or tension only to end up dropping it or resolving it fairly quickly. To a degree, I can also see how this would come off as the author not having a clear plan through her story.
I also found that the fight scenes were a bit hard to follow and the evil empire is little too cliche, feeling like they're just evil because the author needs them to be evil.
My last major point against the book is that the author doesn't quite capture the scale or power of these 80ft mechas well enough that they ever truly feel like "god made material" as they're often likened to in-universe. At one point, one of the main characters, Eris, stops the blast from the main gun of one of these mechas with a pair of cryo-gloves when, in reality, scale alone makes that hard to fathom how a pair of gloves that can fit on a 16 year old girl would also stop the fiery blast from an 80ft mecha specialized to shoot fire. Another time, the team is ambushed in a junkyard with none of their gear or these gloves by a mecha wandering upon them while they're just kind of scavenging, and despite being off-guard and without any of their standard equipment, it felt like they took it out without any real difficulty from the mech itself (all injuries sustained by interior guards to keep them from sabotaging the mech).
In any case, as said before, there are problems, but as a debut novel, I think it's a good, enjoyable book that I wouldn't mind going back to. And if there is nowhere to go but up for Mikuta, I'm sure Godslayers will hammer out some of these issues for me.
I'd call this book a cousin of the Mortal Engines books. The theme is a similar David vs Goliath premise, humans against giant mechanical entities. The main characters are flawed and wonderful, their relationship is a joy to follow, even when it's breaking your heart. My favorite part, though, is the nickname Glitch.