Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear

October 5, 2014 3 stars, Book Review 6 ★★★

Review: War Dogs by Greg BearWar Dogs by Greg Bear
Published by Orbit Books on October 14, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Science fiction
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.


One more tour on the red.
Maybe my last.

They made their presence on Earth known thirteen years ago.

Providing technology and scientific insights far beyond what mankind was capable of. They became indispensable advisors and promised even more gifts that we just couldn't pass up. We called them Gurus.

It took them a while to drop the other shoe. You can see why, looking back.

It was a very big shoe, completely slathered in crap.

They had been hounded by mortal enemies from sun to sun, planet to planet, and were now stretched thin -- and they needed our help.

And so our first bill came due. Skyrines like me were volunteered to pay the price. As always.

These enemies were already inside our solar system and were moving to establish a beachhead, but not on Earth.

On Mars.


I thought War Dogs had a great beginning but it dwindled down down toward a boring ending that I honestly couldn’t care for.

Michael Venn is some white boy from Idaho. He wants more excitement in his life, so he enlists in the Skyrines. Nothing really much more than that, he’s going on his last “drop” or tour and there’s shit that goes down…obviously. Shit happens in war.

He’s with a ragtag team of dudes, DJ who works in engineering, Taz–his bromance buddy who’s all strong and handsome, and Kazak who’s not religious…okay. Anyway, these dudes are fighting together and doing soldier stuff on Mars. Eventually, they help some alien species called Gurus who are hiding out from other enemies.

At first, I loved the worldbuilding. They’ve got some awesome characters and great dialogue, especially Teal (the female “Muskie” character) that we run into later. Really interesting use of apostrophes, taking out certain letters, and emphasizing others that I really enjoyed (this may annoy others because it takes a while to get used to what she’s saying). Teal is also tall, blonde, and beautiful, AND VERY UNINTERESTED in men’s advances. She was great! The treatment of females in this novel (in general) were GREAT!

There are some bad guys like the Antags and Voors which we see a lot of plain good vs. bad fighting. Typical war stuff. I personally like when the morality is shady on both sides, but this all seems pretty clear cut to me. Not only that but the plot dragged on and on for me after the second half.

The words take some getting used to and the info-dumps are all over the place, but apparently this is part of a series, so that was to be expected. The problem for me was that these words weren’t fully developed or explained. Skintights are a type of armor they wear that…sucks their waste through their skin pores?? So they can literally shit and this suit will suck it up. How does that even make sense? And these “Angels” that they talk to? What were they? Guiding systems? Some of the things weren’t explained in a way that can make the readers visualize what’s going on (especially in the battles at the end). I pretty much guessed what was happening because so much jargon was used.

And that ending?? What?! Nothing was explained and it was a cliffhanger that really didn’t leave me wanting any more.

To be fair, I loved this until the halfway mark when I realized there were two alternate storylines going on and it’s a wonder why I was so confused with the POVs. That deterred me from the rest of the novel and ultimately brought my rating down.

6 Responses to “Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    My husband yoinked this one from my review pile because he’s a fan of Bear. He read more of it in a single evening and then finished it off the next day, so he must have liked it! I don’t know if I’ll read it yet, since the pub sent it to me unsolicited, but I’m hoping to maybe get my husband to write a guest review 😉
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…YA Weekend: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorMy Profile

    • Kat

      I think a guest review would be fabulous, my husband doesn’t read shit. So you’re a lucky woman. And when he does read it’s really boring nerdy stuff that I couldn’t care less about.

  2. Molly Mortensen

    I just had that experience with a book. I think I’m more upset by the books that start good and end badly than the ones that just stink. When you said beautiful blonde I groaned inside thinking I knew where that was headed, but I’m glad that she’s actually a character in her own right and not just eye candy. I like shady wars too, where it’s not clear who to root for. Why do authors think a cliff hanger is a good idea? I just don’t get it. Is there anyone out there who likes them? I hope your next book is better! 🙂
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Soulless By Amber GarrMy Profile

    • Kat

      I think I’m the same way, or I would rather it be bad in the beginning that turns into good. I’ve had a few of those as well 🙂 I know!! I swear, I thought the same thing when he described how “Tall, blonde, and beautiful” she was and I was groaning. But no…no romance there at all.

      I’ve always hated cliffhangers and not very many books can do it in a way that I can appreciate. It’s a rarity. I don’t know why they do that…money I guess? There are a lot of serials out there doing it.