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Warchild Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446610771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446610773
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Eight-year-old Jos Musey's childhood ends when his parents' merchant ship falls prey to pirates and slavers. Destined to be the personal slave of his captor, Jos escapes only to find himself a prisoner of the strits, an alien race at war with humanity. Trained as a spy by his captors, Jos is released to become a human weapon but the war he fights is a war to achieve his own destiny. Winner of the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest, Lowachee's sf debut provides a poignant tale of survival and courage reminiscent of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Polished storytelling and convincing worldbuilding make this a good selection for most sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The latest winner of Warner Aspect's first-novel contest makes highly successful use of a thoroughly familiar plot line. When pirates destroy the merchant starship that is eight-year-old Jos' home and kill the rest of his family, he is enslaved with the rest of the children. Determined and desperate, he escapes on an alien world, only to end up in the hands of the strint, aliens at war with humanity, whom Jos was brought up to hate and fear. They raise him, train him to be a warrior and spy, and eventually send him back among his own people. His ostensible mission is to learn more about humanity to help end the war. But he is dubious, sharpening his internal conflict of loyalties. The book is consistently good, especially at rendering Jos' viewpoint at different ages, and seasoned sf readers may look on it as an update of Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy (1957). As for the winning author, anyone who is this good the first time out demands to be heard from again. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Steven Owens on September 8, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Good in the sense that it's very well written, the character development is engaging.
Weird in that you're basically inside the head of a young boy from age eight to seventeen, as he goes through various sorts of interstellar war-torn hell and is brutalized, emotionally disturbed, and deals (not too well) with all of these issues. All in all, not a pretty book, but definitely worth reading. In that sense, it reminds me quite a bit of some of William Barton's works.
Besides the heavy subject matter, the book spends a lot of time and probably the great majority of the text dealing with the boy's internal mental state - albeit always through his thoughts and reactions to what's going on around him. This, again, gives the book a more contemplative feeling than I normally prefer (and is why it reminds me of Barton's work).
However, it was gripping enough that I had trouble putting it down and finished it fairly rapidly.
The basic backdrop of the book is a sort of just-barely-hot war between an alien race and humanity. In theory the two races had a brief war and came up with a treaty, including a DMZ. However, the treaty is falling apart as the humans raid the alien's colony worlds and the aliens raid the human stations and fight the occasional deep space skirmish with human warcraft.
The alien race is definitely at a disadvantage but is managing to stay in the game and even kick ass, largely because of the corruption and disorganization of the human race's bureacratic galactic empire. The aliens also have the help of "sympathizers", humans who are taking the aliens side. The earth politicians are barely in control of the farther reaches of their empire and the star-faring warships that keep the war going.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Shaz on September 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know about you, but I get tired of getting my hopes up that a book will be great, only to be disappointed time and time again. This book finally broke that cycle of despair. It starts out with approx. 40 pages written in the second person perspective. And here's the shocker - it's not just a gimmick; it actually works. You are seeing the world through the eyes of an 8 year child whose ship (yes, a space ship) is attacked and destroyed by pirates. The adults are killed and the children are enslaved. The use of the second person is a powerful device that pulled me straight into the story - not an easy task with this jaded reader.
But it's what happens next, and what continues happening that keeps you turning pages. Characters acting like real people. They don't always make the right decisions, and you don't always agree with them. Heck, you don't even always *like* all of them! But all of them, even the pirates, are understandable and seem real. The characters grow and develop. They get hurt and develop emotional scars. They hurt each other, and they heal. When I finished the book, I put it down, said "wow" and immediately re-read it again. I haven't done that since I finished Lord of the Rings almost 20 years ago.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't be deceived: this is no sweeping space opera, for all that it has its share of action. It's much better: a thoughtful story about the effects of war on a young boy, Jos, an early casualty when pirates attack his ship. The book opens on this scene, breathing you into the fright of a child who is trying to stay hidden: "You didn't see their faces from where you hid behind the maintenance grate. Smoke worked its fingers through the tiny holes and stroked under your nose and over your eyes, forcing you to stifle breaths, to blink, and to cry."
(For those who cannot bear the second person, bear it. Lowachee soon switches to the less immediate--though no less poignant--first person.)
He is inevitably torn away from his homeship and has his childhood ripped apart so brutally that even when the chance comes for him to rediscover trust, he does not believe it.
Lowachee paints no pretty pictures about humanity. It is war and the lives of soldiers that she depicts. Although she offers no cosmetics for the grimmer parts of her story--the way Jos and others he encounters are treated--she uses a delicacy that left me all the more horrified and at the same time drew me toward the characters through its lack of crude detail. Much of Jos' life is a tragedy, where each thing he comes to value only becomes another loss. And all throughout he searches for a home, the place where he can belong.
The writing is beautifully taut, whether during battle or during introspection, reflecting how Jos is always on guard. At one point I came up from between the pages for a gasp of air and had to orient myself in the real world--I'd been that firmly rooted within Jos' mind. This is an emotional story with its characters vividly rendered, and it deserves a look by anyone searching for a powerful read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on April 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a novice when it comes to science fiction. I know plenty of students who walk around with those fat paperbacks, and when I used to work at the bookstore I certainly sold plenty of them--both in hard and softcover. Therefore, I sort of know what science fiction looks like, but I couldn't even give you a definition of the genre.
Furthermore, I'm not really keen on books (or movies for that matter) with lots of violent battle scenes.
So, why then did I find WARCHILD--a work of science fiction (actually published for adults) which was well-stocked with violent battle scenes--impossible to put down? And why do I think it's a great book for young adults?
I was captivated by the vividly drawn young main character Joslyn Aaron Musey as well as the four complex adults who are his most influential teachers: the pirate, Falcone; the alien sympathizer, Nikolas-dan (a.k.a. Warchild); the deep space ship captain, Cairo Azarcon; and Corporal Erret Dorr. I guess it all comes down to the fact that no matter how many aliens and high tech weapons you jam into a well-written, politically savvy, coming of age story, it's still a well-written, politically savvy, coming of age story. Or, perhaps, I'm much more of a science fiction fan than I ever knew I was. The brilliance of WARCHILD has certainly opened me up to that possibility.
The book has an unusual and powerful opening: Part I is told in the second person as the author plunks us down into the body of eight-year-old Jos just as Falcone's pirate ship, the Genghis Khan, attacks and destroys Jos' home--the merchant ship on which Jos' parents are stationed. Taken by Falcone, Jos spends a year in virtual isolation as the pirate trains, teaches, and intimidates the young boy.
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