Literature: Warchild Series
A character driven space opera by Karin Lowachee. The series as of today consists of three books:
- Warchild: The first book. It introduces the major characters and is told from the point of view of Joslyn Aaron Musey, a child survivor of a pirate attack on the starship he called home. He spends the next year in the custody of the pirate captain Falcone, abused in the name of molding him into a protégé. Finally, he is rescued, but not by anyone connected to his home or family. Instead, his rescuer is chief among the human sympathizers of the alien resistance. He is the Warboy, an infamous terrorist Jos has been brought up to hate. And his year in Falcone's care hasn't exactly left him in a trusting frame of mind. But the Warboy, or Niko as he prefers to be called, is patient and seemingly kind. And so over time, Jos grows to trust him.
Niko brings him back to the alien world of the striivic-na, where he learns the war between the strivs and the humans isn't exactly what he thought. He assimilates into their culture, and grows to think of Niko as his family, only for the Warboy to return to his war. Jos continues training for years while Niko wages his resitence, and when his father-figure finally returns, their reunion is bittersweet. Yes, Niko wants to take Jos with him into the war, but only for Jos to serve as a spy aboard one of the EarthHub Naval carriers, Macedon. Jos wants nothing more than to stay with his mentor, but Niko stresses the importance of this mission. So once more, Jos finds himself isolated on an enemy ship under the command of Captain Cairo Azarcon. And once again, the lines of good and evil become blurred, as Jos suffers through revelations and betrayals that will shake and shape him...
- Burndive: The second books switches viewpoints to that of Ryan Azarcon, son of the great military leader Cairo Azarcon. But Ryan is not a soldier or a military man. He's a college dropout, a sometime musician, Austro's Hottest Number One Bachelor, and a spoiled brat when he wants to be. He lives with his mother on a station far removed from the war in deep space. He's seen his father a handful of times throughout his life, and the war is just background noise on the Send. But his life changes when a pirate tries to assassinate him at a flash-house as a form of revenge for the murder of Vincenzo Falcone at the hands of one of Captain Azarcon's jets. Azarcon cannot let his son pay this debt with his life, so he scoops Ryan out of his safe little world and onto his ship. Things are in turmoil on Macedon, as Azarcon has unilaterally called for peace talks with Captain Niko and the striivic-na. Government officials from EarthHub aren't pleased with Azarcon's seeming dictatorship in deep space, and are even less happy about having peace talks shoved down their throats. Ryan initially agrees with him, but his perception begins to change the longer he remains out in the stars...
- Cagebird: The third and as-of-now final book in the series, despite Lowachee's intentions of a series of at least eight. Again, it features a switch of narrators to Yuri Kirov, the pirate who tried to murder Ryan Azarcon in the second book. Like Jos, Yuri was once made a protégé of Vincenzo Falcone. But unlike Jos, Yuri didn't try to escape it. He willingly left his home and family behind to join Falcone's crew. He even found love on the pirate's ship. But all that is far removed from him now, in a jail cell because of his crimes against the Azarcon family. However, neither the pirates nor EarthHub black ops want him to remain incarcerated. The former would like to kill him before he spills any intel on their operation, while the latter would like to use him in their war against piracy...or maybe just for their own purposes. Either way, Yuri doesn't want to die, so he returns to the ship and crew he left behind as a spy for EarthHub. But the crimes he's committed and the abuse committed against him have left their scars, and Yuri is forced to deal with the past before he can face the future...
The series is notable for its use in changing viewpoint and narrative tone. The first book is told in a combination of second- and first-person-viewpoint to show the narrator's attempt to distance himself from the horror he lived through. It also changes from past to present tense. Subsequent novels are narrated by new characters either introduced or mentioned in the previous series. The result is a tapestry narrative of a galaxy at war and the way the war seeps into the lives of everyone.
Oh, and there are more than a fair amount of gay and bisexual characters, mostly men. Very good-looking, angsty men. But no one
would read a series just for that, right?
This series provides examples of: