Monday, November 22, 2010

Children No More by Mark L. Van Name

Children No More (Jon and Lobo)They say to be careful what you ask for. I'd hoped in my last review that Jon & Lobo would someday take a job they walked into with eyes wide open, not having to be tricked into it. Got it in Children No More. Jon is hired by an old mercenary buddy, Lim, to rescue a group of child soldiers from the rebels controlling them on the planet Tumani. The only wrinkle at the beginning is that Maggie, from an earlier book, is part of a group funding the rescue, because one of the children is a descendent of PinklePonker.

The original operation goes smoothly, and Lim's people begin to try to re-educate the boys, who have been addicted to drugs by their captors, and have been brutalized to make them vicious fighters. As we might expect from Jon's history, the double-cross comes shortly thereafter when the local politicians renege on their promise to let the child soldiers be helped and adopted by families, finding a political use for them, instead. When you get swindled, how else do you get your revenge except by swindling right back? Jon calls his buddy, Jack, and things go a little twisty.

This book is filled with flashbacks to Jon's childhood, and we really learn a whole lot more about his history. We get to know his old friend, Benny, who trained Jon to fight after he was dumped on a planet for undesirables, and who was also part of the nanomachine expirement. This back story really fleshes out Jon's motivations for helping Lim far beyond his original contract. Nothing terribly complex or thought provoking, unless you use this book as a jumping off point for learning more about the cause of rescuing child soldiers. Van Name mentions in his afterword that there are around 300,000 children being exploited as soldiers worldwide today.

1 comment:

redhead said...

this was my first Jon and Lobo book, and that probably explains why bits of it didn't make much sense to me (I had no idea who Maggie, Lim, or Jack were, or why they were important).

I loved all the flashbacks.

but the way the main plot line was written just didn't do much for me. I completely agree with Van Name's political stance of "children should never be used as soldiers" (well, duh!), and i felt like i just being bashed over and over and over the head with it, like it was some foreign strange idea.

I feel like a total jerkwad for dissing the book, since it's part of some huge fundraiser to save kids.