No child should ever be a soldier.Jon Moore knew that better than most, having learned to fight to survive before he'd hit puberty. So when a former comrade, Alissa Lim, asks for his help in rescuing a group of children pressed into service by rebels on a planet no one cares to save, he agrees. Only later does he realize he's signed up to do far more than he'd ever imagined.
Jon's commitment hurtles him and Lobo, the hyper-intelligent assault vehicle who is his only real friend, into confrontations with the horrors the children have experienced and with a dark chapter from his past. The mission grows ever more complicated as they deal with:
An assault on a rebel fortress deep in the jungle
A government whose full agenda is never clear
A woman Jon once loved and who still loves him - but who will sacrifice anything for her cause
The best con man they've ever known
And, toughest of all, their own demons, as we learn for the first time what happened after his home planet's government yanked Jon's sister out of his life.
Jon and Lobo rush straight into the darkness at the heart of humanity to save a group of child soldiers - and then face an even tougher challenge: When we've trained our children to kill, what do we do with them when the fighting is over?Because the plight of these children is so near to the author, he is donating 100% of his hardback proceeds (including his advance) to a non-profit that helps to reintegrate children soldiers in the Congo. For every hardback book that sells, Falling Whistles will get a donation from the author. (www.fallingwhistles.com). For more details, please see www.childrennomore.com
©2010 Mark L. Van Name (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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"PAST COMES TO COLLECT"
Old acquaintance comes to ask for help, and this person knows what buttons to push,.so Jon & Lobo have no other choice but to help.
The current case story line is mixed with flashbacks about Jon's childhood, about the time his mental condition was fixed and his sister was taken away, the time he was dumped to a government facility and made into a person he is now.
"Very recommended, overlooked sf"
Very recommended sf here, though not without a couple potential missteps in pacing and over explanation of decisions. Our sentient high tech spaceship doesn't get too many chances to show off in terms of firepower and ship to ship combat -- but with all of Lobo's sarcasm, and a demonstration of his/its abilities as hacker, surveillance, and command and control. This is a novel which ruminates on the costs of violence and very much in particular on the psychological damage done to child soldiers; the whiz-bang fireworks of space opera or military sf are a bit on pause. It's a 2010 novel which has been tragically overlooked; it was not on the Locus recommended reading list, not in the Hugo long tail -- there's quite a quiet something to this novel and I encourage more people to give the book a try. And the previous books in the series are not required reading to jump into Children No More, if my experience here is any indication. I really enjoyed getting to know Jon Moore through the use of the alternating origin story chapters; as the adult Moore finds himself trying to help former child soldiers make some sense of their lives, he is reliving his own, violent, militarized childhood in dreams and flashbacks. (Before I get to the conclusion, I want to say another word about the "over explanation" comment; it is actually for this reason (among several others which are more obvious) that Children No More is very recommended for fans of Ender's Game; in that novel, we see Ender Wiggin work consequences out in detail in his head, and here there's a similar use of Jon-Lobo interaction to present the full extent of the thought process behind decisions. OK, back to the book.) In Children No More, super-soldier Jon Moore is called upon to do something fairly extraordinary: ???not??? fight. To stay around and deal with the political aftermath of a military engagement, to protect something he cares about rather than destroy or acquire a target. To fulfill this particular mission, Jon (and Lobo of course!) have to devise a hacked-together high stakes plan to out-politic, out-bluff, out-media their opponents. When these overtly hidden plans come to fruition, I got big grin right along with Jon. In conclusion, though, I wonder if Van Name has written Jon into a non-violent corner; he's learned a lot and grown during this book, which is saying something. I suppose we'll find out pretty soon in the next book, No Going Back, at the end of May.
"Surprisingly dark & serious for a Jon & Lobo book"
Absolutely.This book combines the fun of space action novels with the series topic of child soldiers (which I know is a pet interest of the author; and one that I share an interest in). So, although it is mostly a fun book, there are also some dark and serious themes here that are not present in the earlier novels. Van Name has truly matured as an author and this may be his absolute best book.
The whole book is very memorable.
I didn't like Stechschulte when I first listened to him as the voice of Jon and Lobo, but he has really grown on me and I like his performance a lot.
I came close to tears with this one .... and that says a lot.
The book bogs down a bit in the middle and there is quite a long period of "non-action". Stick with it though, because it's all worth it in the end.
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