Li's Reviews > Warchild

Warchild by Karin Lowachee
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May 17, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in May, 2010

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 there were other factors that made me think you'd like both. What just jumped to mind was that it actually reminds me more of Kushiel's Legacy, in the narrative style, story, characters, and themes, though obviously not in setting.

I did like the book, but not with the head-over-heels love I felt for EG. I didn't love Jos even close to the way I loved Ender. Which I'm actually not sure if is a matter of when I've read each of them: I read EG when I was 12 and an isolated smart kid in a clique-y private school, so I grokked Ender then in a very "This is my life" way, and I also doubt I'd have quite the same sort of connection to him and the book if I'd only been discovering it just now, having grown up and away from that period in my life. So maybe if I'd read Warchild also when I was 12, I would have found it way more button-hitting than I do now, also.

But I do think it's also a matter of what kind of stories they each are and what kind of characters they are, and it would have been different anyway. Warchild is much more personal: most of the story is told in first person, so you're literally reading what Jos sees and thinks about events, and I feel like you could argue that the story is mostly about how Jos connects to people, quickly and deeply and refuses to let go, whereas Ender's Game uses third person to put distance between you and Ender the way the rest of the story shows how everything in Ender's life drives wedges between him and everyone else, even those he wants to be close to.

I may have more thoughts later, but I kept making these compare/contrast thoughts in my head while reading it so I figured I'd just write that down. I do want to pick up the other two books, and it's also made me more confident I will enjoy Gaslight Dogs, so I think I will pick that one up too.

Random: The first section of the story is actually written in second person, and it made me very irritable. I flipped to a random page in the middle of the book just to see if it switched voice at any point, because otherwise I was pretty close to throwing it across the room.
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Susan I'd compare it to C.J. Cherryh's work - seems like a strong influence here. I loved it.


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