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(War with No Name #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,424 ratings  ·  763 reviews
After the “war with no name” a cat assassin searches for his lost love in Repino’s strange, moving sci-fi epic that channels both Homeward Bound and A Canticle for Leibowitz.

The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an arm
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Soho Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  4,424 ratings  ·  763 reviews

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Kevin Kelsey
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, read-2015
A terrific, wholly original story. Brutal, straightforward and unflinching yet really fun at the same time. It had elements of Planet of the Apes and Heinlein, but with a lot more heart.

Mort(e) did that thing that only SF can do so well. It told a story about humanity and all the things that we get wrong, transplanted into a totally unfamiliar POV, so it's not too obviously preachy. Repino really pulled off that mix wonderfully.

I'll be looking for more from him in the future.
Jack +Books & Bourbon+ Just no. That's the thought that kept repeating in my head as I read through Mort(e). I kept waiting for the story to "click" with me, but it never really did. Generally, I don't have a problem with suspending disbelief, and I even get the appeal of anthropomorphic animals at the center of a story. But with Mort(e) I just couldn't buy in. Though I grew to tolerate Mort(e) as a protagonist, I felt no investment in the tale being told.

Is there a decent story within these pages? Sure,
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book should come with a warning: if you share a home with four-legged companions, watch out. I spent a lot of time assuring mine that they were much beloved members of my family, not "slaves".

To be honest, I've never been a huge fan of animals-as-people adult books (eg, Watership Down), although the Thornton Burgess books are among my childhood favorites. But Mort(e) is not one of "those" books - it's a riveting read, with Sebastian/Mort(e) as a flawed hero. His love, and search, for Sheba
Lincoln Eddy
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting entry in the dystopian science fiction genre, this novel took two premises that usually populate the most cliche kind of sci-fi (giant ants and animals becoming intelligent), and treated them with the utmost seriousness. That alone made me want to love this novel but there were a few things that held it back.

The main character, Mort(e) ne Sebastian, is a house cat that has mutated to human proportions in the aftermath of a colony of giant ants declaring war on humanity. To help in
Leah Rhyne
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ever pick up a book, knowing even before you start that you're destined to love it?

Ever have it exceed even those lofty expectations?

Mort(e) was sent to me several (many) months back. I'd been chatting with a PR person at SoHo Press about a different book I'd reviewed, and she mentioned Mort(e). "It's about a war...with ants...and sentient house pets..."

Or something like that.

Of course I was all, "Yes! Yes please! Send it! Send it! Send it!"

Because ants? Waging war against humanity? I mean, Them
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janice by: Books on the Nightstand
Shelves: 2015, scribd, audio
This book annoyed the hell out of me.

It started out entertainingly enough. I was interested in the ants' method of advancing the animals to become sentient, and actually more human-like.* I was even ok with the war against the humans.

But when the whole religion thing came up, the book lost me.

I'm a literal sort of gal, so I'm pretty blind to symbolism. But a lot of this story read to me like something what an earnest high school student could write about. I'm still not sure if it's pro-religio
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
The main character is a cat... what more could you want from a book!?

This book was adorable, I dont think he intended it to be adorable but it was. Im a major cat lover and it was just so cute!
Oh and theres fighting between humans, cats and dogs, and ants.
I really enjoyed the story and cant wait to continue.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a book I read in about four hours on a drizzley final day of vacation. The pages and their story moved briskly and I enjoyed it. Later, when asked what it was about, I said:

"It's about a cat who really, really, really wants to find his doggie friend. Also ants take over the earth in an almost successful human genocide. Also cats and all the animals can talk and think. Not surprisingly, it's actually about the folly of religion."

I'll give you a spoiler, by the end you can't be bothered t
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
An ancient colony of intelligent giant ants wages war on humanity, driving us to the brink of extinction. The Ant Queen creates an army of allies by transforming the animals of the world into speaking, thinking, vengeful bipeds. A war hero, a former housecat by the name of Mort(e), searches endlessly for his friend Sheba, who fled on the day of Mort(e)'s transformation.

I found Mort(e) frustrating, initially. It purports to be science fiction...humans use advanced weaponry, ants communicate chem
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I saw this book at an indie bookstore, and after the owner made a comment, "That's a book about about talking cats and ants taking over the world," I knew I had to pick it up. I must disclose dystopian literature is among my favorite genres, so my review will surely be biased. This isn't your average dystopia, and takes place in two stages, which I won't elaborate on in case you choose to read it. It is also a fascinating commentary on religiosity and the attempt to stomp it out in favor of reas ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, ugh, dystopia
What an overall batshit crazy book. To continue with this review would mean I'd have to keep thinking about the book, and I'd rather not. ...more
J.A. Ironside
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how to describe this book. Animal Farm meets The Plague dogs via starship troopers? However you play it, this isn't quite like anything else. Do not go into this book expecting Watership Diwn or a cute comedic spoof where the animals are animalian but a bit brighter and conspiring against the system. While this is darkly comedic it pulls no punches on the war front, is an often scathing satire on the state of human society and is brutal and unflinching in it's descriptions of how th ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mort(e) is a phenomenon. It should not work. It is a marriage of such disparate elements that on the surface it seems like it should be incapable of being telling a story deeper than its components (in this case sentient cats, giant ants and theology).

Instead of being a parody of itself it utterly transcended everything I expected of it. It's like Watership Down meets A Canticle for Leibowitz with more than a smattering of whatever it is that makes Margaret Atwood's work so god damned special.

lark benobi
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, soho
At turns touching, whimsical, original, thoughtful, hilarious. Best of all the book was wonderfully entertaining. For most of the novel you are in the mind of a neutered house cat...but you also take a turn in the minds of a former attack dog, a pig, a bobcat, and the ancient queen of an all-powerful ant colony. The story of how these creatures evolve and find meaning and develop into moral creatures makes this book much more than a romping page turner, although it's that, too.

Repino manages to
Aaron Lawson
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-library
This book lived up to what I had hoped it would be. I saw this novel online (I love top 10 lists) and had to get it. I have been really focusing on not killing my bank account on books so I waited (very impatiently) for my local library to get it. After I read it, I'm happy I pushed through in getting it! It's a very quick read which I wasn't to happy about (didn't necessarily want it to end) but the writer fit a lot into the book. His character development was lacking in some areas, but the lea ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
How did something this bad get a cover this cool? Furthermore, why didn't I give up after the first 50 pages? ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
The premise of this story is fantastic; This is a world where super-intelligent ants have created a pathogen that transforms animals into large, bipedal, sentient beings. Their paws turn into hands and their minds fill with knowledge. This starts the war against humanity and ushers in a time of sentient-animal/ant dominance over our planet. We follow Mort(e),a newly sentient cat who joins the war and quickly sets himself apart as a war hero.

That's the premise, but that's not the story. The stor
Jamie Bradway
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't remember which review convinced me to pick this up, but I never found my way into Mort(e). It just kept moving from implausible to ridiculous without taking a step back. I added a star because I've never read anything quite like it and that's worth something.

Also, I suffered through the audio version of this novel, read by Bronson Pinchot - he sounded so bored with the material that reading in the character voice of Balki Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers would have been an improvement
Eric Smith
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This book is absolutely incredible, and like no piece of science fiction I’ve ever read. The apocalypse has never, ever been this entertaining. As Reprino takes you through the story, and introduces you to the various beasts that Mort(e) meets in his adventures, you get these incredible, powerful glimpses of this shattered world… and it is as awe inspiring as it is heartbreaking.

More up on BookRiot:
Betty Dickie
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what to say about this amazing book? From the first page I was hooked, the writing is so GOOD, the characterizations so deft, and the story thought provoking, entertaining, sad, funny, just so so awesomely good. Read it.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bizarre but fascinating
Matt Williams
Mar 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TL;DR: utterly joyless.

If you have bipedal cats with guns fighting a war against humanity, and you know that human beings use laser pointers as part of modern small-unit tactics, you are guilty of literary malpractice if you fail to include a scene where your feline warriors are distracted by laser pointers. If you actually have a scene where a human being paints a target with a laser pointer, and you still leave the joke lying in the doorway like an eviscerated rat carcass, well...

There isn't a
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would consider this tale a parable. While on its surface it is about humans, ants and animals it really is about the utility of hope, religion and belief-sets. The ants represent a species living entirely on instinct and science, while the humans put so much stock into their religious beliefs that it leads to paradoxical behavior. An animal character states: "..the belief has corrupted all of them. I've seen this evil up close. I've seem what a human can do when he is cornered and praying to h ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-checkout

Mort(e) was just a housecat named Sebastian before the change. A cat who spent his day protecting the family that rescued him, and observing the "outside world" through the various windows in the house. Then one day he realized he could understand speech, and read words. He didn't know this was all planned by the ants, lead by an intelligent and vindictive queen hell-bent on destroying humanity for being "lesser beings." She releases a chemical worldwide that gives animals human-like minds and b
Blake the Book Eater
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Mort(e) is just flat out amazing. This was my second time reading this book, and it still felt just as crazy awesome and propulsive as the first time I read it.

The characters are just so well-developed while still keeping their wants very simple and realistic. This is a crazy story about talking animals and giant ants, but it never tries to go too wild, because it stays rooted in these animals who are very human.

That’s why I think this book stays with me. Repino definitely had something he want
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book fucked me up incredibly. After reading the first half, I spent a while worrying that my cat would hate me, should he suddenly become self-aware and capable of holding weaponry. I bought him a lot of treats today before I sat down to finish the book.

Besides my own cat-lady problems, this was an incredibly effective post-apocalyptic novel, and extremely unique, given that many others are about zombies rather than ants. This book is like if Animal Farm and 1984 had been smashed together.

Bob Schnell
Advanced reading copy review due to be published January 20, 2015

"Mort(e)" by Robert Repino is a fast-paced SF apocalyptic thriller where the animal kingdom, as led by an ancient Queen ant, rises up against the humans for dominion over the Earth. The book succeeds as an action story but fell flat for me as the social/satirical statement it is trying to be. Think George Orwell's "Animal Farm" combined with the film version of Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". Young adult gamers will likely b
Nick Raines
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fast paced, interesting, and you will probably finish this in a day or two. The book was interesting to say the least, an ant based apocalypse where household pets rebel against their masters? Yes please. The book was good, really good. It stumbles here and there sure, but overall I had a great time quickly reading through this one and I wasn't even attempting a fast read. If you like the apocalypse based reads, but wanted something slightly different then this is a book you might want to read. ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is off the charts bananas. House pets become sentient beings, and work for the ant army, who are attempting to kill off all humans in a mass genocide. There's a lot going on in here about the purpose and meaning of religion and death. This would be a great book to read with a friend or group because there's lots to chew on. It's a very dark book with some humor as well and the first chapter is one of my favorite first chapters ever. ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was really unique and interesting. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it before, though it has echoes of Animal Farm and Watership Down. I am really glad that it got recommended to me and I'll recommend it to others! ...more
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Robert Repino grew up in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. After serving in the Peace Corps (Grenada 2000–2002), he earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Emerson College. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize among other awards, and has appeared in The Literary Review, Night Train, Hobart, Juked, Word Riot, The Furnace Review, The Coachella Review, JMWW, and the anthology Brevity and Echo ...more

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