War Dogs

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They’re skyrines, soldiers bred for war in space, recruited from Earth by seemingly benevolent aliens and sent to confront an inexplicable extraterrestrial threat on Mars. As one skyrine reflects on his last campaign on Mars — a catastrophic landing, followed by a harried retreat to a strange Martian base with foes inside and out — he tries to unravel a story that leaves more questions than answers.

War Dogs is ambitious, to say the least. Bear crams in two alien forces, an entire military campaign, the colonization of Mars, and one soldier’s battle for survival, all in under 300 pages. And while several sequences are memorable and effective, for the most part, the story fails to gel in a satisfying way. The narrative ricochets back and forth between the campaign and the aftermath, as our soldier awaits the arrival of a comrade, and as complications pile up, the story grows murkier instead of building organically.

I have no doubt that a second read would make some aspects of the story clearer, but in the end, War Dogs is simply a soup with too many ingredients that aren’t given enough time to simmer.

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Star Count 2/5
Format Trade
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Orbit
Publish Date 2014-Oct-14
ISBN 9780316072823
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue May 2015
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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