THE IRON CHILDREN by Rebecca Fraimow from Solaris #BookReview #Scifi #MilitarySciFi
THE IRON CHILDREN by Rebecca Fraimow
Solaris, Kindle edition, £3.99
Reviewed by Stephen Frame
The Iron Children blends two sub-genres; military SF and road trip. It’s a novella, 160 pages long, featuring Asher, a novice in a military-religious order, who is accompanying a senior officer and a group of new recruits to the front line of their war. The senior officer is a machine inhabited by the soul of an elder of Asher’s order. The soldiers are cyborgs, humans permanently bound into battle armour. Their path takes them over a mountain, where they are ambushed by an enemy patrol. The senior officer is killed, leaving Asher to complete the job of getting the recruits off the mountain to their place at the front. She is aided in this by her veteran sergeant, and hampered by an infiltrator in her squad, one of their enemy masquerading as a recruit, who is tasked with killing Asher and ensuring the remaining soldiers are captured.
Readers expecting a traditional military SF story might feel a touch let down by The Iron Children. While all the elements of the sub-genre are there at the start, it fast becomes a story of personal choices, focussed very much on the inner lives and conflicts of the three main characters – Asher, her sergeant, Barghast, and the enemy agent, called Titan. As this unfolds, the structure of the story takes a rather unusual twist. The point of view shifts between these three, and when it comes to Titan, the antagonist, it switches from the third person to the first person. This lends the reader a more intimate view of Titan, which works well, in that a richer emotional experience is given, but it significantly draws the focus of the story away from Asher, the main protagonist, leaving the feeling the story has lost its way.