I’m a huge fan of Attack on Titan (AoT). It doesn’t matter whether it’s the manga or the anime, I loved the heck out of the series. I won’t go into full details on why I love the series but let me get a few points across so I can properly explain why this book was a huge disappointment to me. AoT has always been filled with fantastic plotlines. It was dark, bad things happen to good people, and it’s filled with unpredictable plots twist. The characters were engaging and highly memorable; it’s practically impossible for me to forget Eren, Mikasa, or Levi. The animation—especially during the action sequences—is still one of the best animations I’ve ever experienced in an anime TV show; I’ve watched hundreds of anime for me to say that. Since 2011, I’ve watched the anime from start to finish three times, I’ve read the manga from the start to the newest chapter four times; in fact, I just finished reading the newest chapter of the manga a few days ago. Garrison Girl contained none of the things that made Shingeki no Kyoji phenomenal.
The problems I had with this book came from my observation that the story that Aaron’s wrote here just don’t belong in the world of AoT. Garrison Girl is pretty much a YA romance novel full of clichés and tropes that are set in the world of AoT, it provides absolutely nothing new for the main series and should be treated as a filler; I despise fillers. The story centered on Rosalie, a rich girl who came from a rich family background. She’s trying her best to blend with commoners as she wanted to join the frontline to kill titans. Upon joining, she immediately met this jerk mentor who treated her harshly and—cue suspense music—seemed to have his own mysterious reason for the harsh treatment. Hearing this, you’re probably thinking “ah this is probably her love interest” well guess what? You’re absolutely right. This is just the first of many YA cliché in this book, and trust me that the main series is far from being cliché, to say the least.
It’s not all disappointing. Aaron’s prose—like always—was engaging and easy to read. Despite my criticism, you can rest assured that the quality of her prose to keep the audience engage didn’t change here. The action scenes—though very few—were good. I don’t doubt Aaron’s talent as an author. Her Hearstrikers series is still the most fun I’ve ever had in reading urban fantasy series. This is why I seriously think this book would’ve benefited so much more if Aaron tackled the background of one of the supporting characters from the main series instead of writing a brand new YA romance chick flick story with all new characters in this world. Shingeki no Kyojin is not a YA market book. It’s pretty much grimdark; there’s also absolutely no romance in it and the story is from being predictable.
I may sound more critical and harsh than my usual reviews for this one, but I can’t help. I’m sorry, Aaron. If you want to hear me praising your works, just check out my reviews for Heartstrikers. AoT is one of my favorite manga/anime and I expected so much more in this book than just a simple YA romance full of cliché. I recommend this book only if you’re really interested in reading a YA romance book with AoT setting; Garrison Girl is almost like an AoT fan fiction targeted for YA if I may be brutally honest. As always, let me remind you once again that YA and romance books in general very rarely worked for me; I thought a novel written by Rachel Aaron in the world of my beloved series would actually change that notion. It didn’t.
P.S: I know I’m reading an ARC and typos are not strangers to ARC; I want to help a bit. Check the word “Solider”. Instead of a soldier, the word "solider" was used 20 times in the book.