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Warchild (Warchild #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,725 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
When Jos' parents are killed in an attack on their trading ship, the boy is kidnapped by his attackers and then escapes -- only to fall into the alien hands of humanity's greatest enemies. As he grows into a young man, Jos is brain-washed into becoming a spy against the human race. At every step, his choices are made for him -- until the climactic moment when he takes his ...more
Published April 1st 2002 by Turtleback Books
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Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Wow, so I was determined to read a few Sci-Fi books after NYCC because a bunch of guys came to the signing and said how much they love following my suggestions here, but I've been "getting girly" lately. (True fact, last 5 books or so have had oily chests on them. Oops).

Anyway, I had heard about this book as a more Young Adult oriented book, which I supposed it COULD be, but given the depth of exploration of an abused child, it is much more than that, even MORE adult in my opinion, just as a hea
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, scifi, favorites
The book starts with the hero, eight year old Jos, huddled in a hiding place on the space ship he and his parents call home, listening to a battle rage outside. It proceeds through his capture by the pirate captain, his escape, his rescue by a man sympathetic to the alien race that Earth Hub is trying to eradicate, and his eventual growth into manhood. This is a character driven story that takes place in a future universe that is well developed and real -- my favorite kind of read.

It starts in t
Ivie ✩Born to Magic-Forced to Muggle✩
This novel is my second favorite read in 2015, brilliant plot development, careful and detailed world building without info-dumps, meaningful and deeply emotionally charged characters set off an exciting SciFi.

This is a first novel I have read by Karin Lowachee and it won't be the last. I like her style. It's so easy it seems effortless. The words seemed to flow of the pages and wrapped themselves around me like magic, transporting me right at the side of a wounded young boy trying desperately
R. Michael Litchfield
Very 'eh. It feels like mediocre fanfic, lots of turgid homosexual hints and situations (but no sex), lots of melodrama, men being stoic and all but emotionless or just being manipulatively emotional. Fighting but not very interesting, more smoke and loud noises than than combat.

The worst part was the aliens, apparently they are japanese.

Seriously pass on this unless you are WAY bored.
Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷
So far, so intense... o.O
Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warchild, Burndive, Cagebird

Interesting series. I got these because I'd seen them highly reviewed somewhere; of course, now I don't remember where.
In many ways, they're basic military SF - I'd recommend them, with some reservations, to fans of Lois McMaster Bujold, maybe CJ Cherryh.
Each one has a different young man as the protagonist, but they follow one timeline, and link to each other, with many shared characters.All of them are very homosensual. All the young men are super-cute, and there is
Oh gosh, reading this book is pure indulgence - which is a strange thing to say, since it is such a brutal book with what it does to its characters, both physically and emotionally, but ...

Also yes, the main character is a kid, but this is not YA. Mind you, I would have loved this book with fourteen of fifteen even more than I do love it now as I would not have seen its worldbuilding problems. But I've also been the kind of kid to watch R-rated movies. (Also wtf the romance shelfing? This is as
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I thought it was going to be one of those easy, cliche filled books. Normally, I would be upset about being so wrong. I sat down with this book and didn't get up again until I had finished. Very good.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to say, first and foremost, that this is the best book I've read in a very long time. I've read lots of books I loved this year, but this one beats them all. If you write SF, especially SF involving outer space and other planets of any kind, you must read this book.[return][return]For a full review, which may or may not include spoilers, please click here:
John Carter McKnight
Somewhere around here are all the little pieces of my shattered icy heart. _Warchild_ has completely broken me, but somehow strangely in a good way, without being depressing or distasteful: I'm contrasting it wtih Donaldson's _Chronicles of Thomas Covenant_, which was as heartbreaking, but left a stain on my soul I can still find after 30 years. _Warchild_ is - not uplifting, but *good* - there's a fundamental goodness in the writing and in Lowachee's world that triumphs over the darkness.

Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of h/c
After pirates kill his family and kidnap him, young Jos is completely alone. He escapes to an alien planet, but even there he can’t escape war. He is trained to be an assassin and a spy, and then set loose upon his own people. Jos was clearly abused, and he finds it hard to trust or be physically close to people; after a few hundred pages of hearing how traumatized he still is, however, I found myself more frustrated than sympathetic.
After reading this trilogy it’s difficult for me to review the books as separate novels since they are so greatly interconnected. So I’ll just review them all in one.

The three main characters of each book: Jos, Ryan and Yuri, form a unique trio of individuals with contrasting backgrounds who’s stories are at times both riveting and heartbreaking. In Warchild, the first book, we come to know Jos, a young boy who is orphaned by war, abducted by pirates and then taken by a sympathizer of an alien
Bill Hayes
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
One of my top 10 favorites. A nitty gritty emotionally charged sci fi story. The story emphasizes and is driven by the characters, not the story, which separates it from most science fiction. It's even better because it's part of a trilogy (Cagebird and Burndive are the others) where we see some of the exact same scenes from a different character's viewpoint. I've read the trilogy twice and look forward to reading again in the future. The mental imagery she creates is so strong that on re-readin ...more
Although this book shares similarites with Orson Scott Card's Enders Game, I found it a world apart.

The day I picked it up I was so wrapped within the character Jos that I could not set the book down. That, I would dare to say, is the main difference between these two books. The main character is realistically emotional in every way imaginable.

Although the first segment is in second person, do not allow that to deter you. At first I was put off by that style hoping, even though I enjoyed that se
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I completely despise militant fantasy books. When I read Warchild it changed my view. This book actually made me cry. I finished reading it over two weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. This book will stay with you for a long time after reading. The drama, the messy situations, the dark tone kept it interesting and had zero sex despite the sexual tension which made it a refresher. It proved that sex doesn't have to be in an adult book to make it good. I wish the somewhat sequel Burndive wa ...more
Sherwood Smith
A very strong first novel, making use of second person present tense in an unnervingly successful way. The prose might seem less polished then her later books, but this story has enormous drive, and tremendous ambition within the slashy hurt/comfort realm that seems dominated, interestingly enough, by extremely intelligent female writers.
Jamie Collins
Space opera melodrama about a traumatized child who grows up to become a conflicted spy. I enjoyed this for the characterization and human drama more than for the science fiction elements. It's slashy and full of angst, but it's well-written and I have a weakness for this kind of thing.
Lucy Ghost
Jun 01, 2017 marked it as tbr-next  ·  review of another edition
Are you seeing this beauty?
Are you seeing this beauty?
I'm hyping bc of the lgbt shelves tagged in it... I'm dying...
Becca C
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book. THIS. BOOK. Oh my god. If I hadn't needed my hands to hold my kindle steady as I was reading, my face would have been in almost constant danger of me RIPPING IT OFF. I just-- this book. This book is amazing. The prose is stunning. The story is gripping. The plot is edge of your seat. The feelings are VISCERAL. I'm breaking out the caplocks, even though it is cheesy, because it is one-hundred percent necessary.

Okay, I admit I was a little wary at first, because of how the first chapte
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: space opera fans, military sci-fi fans, slashy people
Recommended to Jo by: slashy people
Shelves: recommended
Being notoriously picky about what I read, I figured I wouldn't really like this book since the whole space opera genre has gotten a bit old for me. "Science" in science fiction is something of a... sore point.. for me.

That being said, Warchild is a powerful psychological story, compellingly told and emotionally engaging. It is intensely character driven, and the politics and dynamics of these characters was well enough written that I was able to overlook the softness of the books "science" (*co
Andy P
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as a warning! This book starts off briefly in Second person then moves to First. DON'T let that have an effect on your decision to read it. I usually dislike First person, but it really works here. This book talks about such difficult things. If the author had used third person, it might have felt like so much shock value.

Anyway. Wow, what can I say? This book really spoke to me.

There are so many things I like about it, but that might just be because as a writer, I appreciate what I did an
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warchild is the beginning of a series, but the series set up is a little differently. Each book follows one young man, but they all happen in the same world and in nearly the same time frame. It's three different points of view of the same major events. Warchild follows Jos Musey (who's my favorite of the three!). The events that Jos faces are so harsh, and it's interesting to see how he reacts and handles them. It reminded me a little of Ender's Game, but only very slightly; not enough to say t ...more
I got Warchild before boarding my plane, with the intention of reading it once I had arrived in LA. That failed.

Why you should read this book?
Consider this : I was very very hungover on that plane, as well as dead tired considering I had slept 3 hours the night prior, and even then I stayed up the ENTIRE flight (12 hours) reading Warchild

Not enough to convince you?
Consider this : Everything that is great in a book is here. And if you like an edge of darkness - as I do - then look no
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi, lgbt
This series is so good I'm at a loss for words (although I rambled enough on LJ).

Going straight to "favorites" and "to-reread ASAP" shelf.

Makes me want to reconsider my other 5-star ratings as well.
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is AMAZING.
i love every page.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wish two things right now: I had some higher rating five stars, and that I had been able to write this review after I finished the book instead of a week and two books later.

This book was AMAZING. A week and two books later, it's still in my head stronger than any other book has ever been before. If I had paid an author to write a book perfect for me, this book would have surpassed even that.

Brief overview: Set in space, pirates attack an eight year old boy's homeship. All the adults are kille
Every time I reread the start of this series, regardless of how well I recall the story, it never fails to ensnare me. The back cover copy does it such disservice.

Read this if you like stories about complex characters who survive despite horrific odds. Read this if you like stories about people who lose one family but find another, not through blood, but through bonds. Read this if you like stories where no one is quite what they seem to be, where betrayal could come from someone so close that r
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
So this book gets described as similar to Ender's Game a lot, in that "If you liked one you should like the other," and I do see why they're listed as similar because hey, smart kid in space in the middle of a war being instrumental to the ending of that war by being used as a tool by adults, basically, but they feel so different to me, I'm not sure that's what I'd compare it to if I was going to compare it to anything. And I really wouldn't recommend one just because you liked the other, unless ...more
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
whooo. wow. those last sixty pages or so were a wild ride from start to finish. i still feel tense. i kind of think i need an epilogue or another book of 'warchild: someone finally gets jos some therapy' because boy does my lad need it

okay. so yeah, let me tell you about warchild. warchild starts with our eight year old protaganist, jos, hiding in his ship during a pirate attack. his ship is killed and he's kidnapped by the leader of those pirates for a year of abuse that leaves its mark on him
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Karin was born in South America, grew up in Canada, and worked in the Arctic. Her first novel WARCHILD won the 2001 Warner Aspect First Novel Contest. Both WARCHILD (2002) and her third novel CAGEBIRD (2005) were finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award. CAGEBIRD won the Prix Aurora Award in 2006 for Best Long-Form Work in English and the Spectrum Award also in 2006. Her second novel BURNDIVE debute ...more
More about Karin Lowachee...

Other Books in the Series

Warchild (4 books)
  • Burndive (Warchild #2)
  • Cagebird (Warchild #3)
  • The Warboy

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“Daddy would call you his brave soldier boy, and you would believe it. When they lifted you out of that hiding place and smiled at you so proud, you didn't feel like an eight-year-old at all.” 1 likes
“The accents were almost musical, though not as pretty as the ones I used to eavesdrop upon, lying on a sun-drenched roof above lower balconies.” 0 likes
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