CALLY'S WAR Hardcover – Oct 1 2004
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About the Author
John Ringo is author of the New York Times best-selling series so far comprising A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell's Faire, and co-author with David Weber of March Upcountry and March to the Sea, the first three books in the popular Prince Roger series. He had visited 23 countries by the time he graduated high school. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, he brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his fiction. His latest solo novel is Emerald Sea, the sequel to There will be Dragons.
Julie Cochrane was born in Ohio and and made her first attempts at novels in junior high and high school. Initially studying Chemistry at Georgia Tech, she got her bachelors in psychology and promptly decided that computer science was a better way to earn a living. She lives in the Atlanta Metro area with her husband, their daughter, one very enthusiastic German Shepherd, and the gerbil custodian of the secrets of the universe. Her hobbies include pistol markmanship, history, criminology, Irish language, and folk music. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Jump to Cally O'Neill: last seen as a heavily-armed teenager during the latter days of the Posleen War on Earth, she's now an accomplished assasin for the Bane Sidhe, the combined Indowy-Human resistance against the Darhel. . . Cally changes outward personalities and appearances the way the rest of us change clothes. We follow her on a trip through post-Posleen America, on a hit, and on to her most dangerous mission: find out who the Darhel spy in the Bane Sidhe is. . .and stop the leak.
All in all, a most entertaining read, with the most dangerous woman in SF I've seen in a LONG time. . . .the continuing adventures of Cally O'Neill should prove to be interesting, as it's quite obvious this is NOT her last story. . .
Like the Himmit. . . . I'll be watching the continued adventures of Clan O'Neill. . . .
The world itself is dark and pessimistic. It's not a nice place. Cally herself is a manifestation of that world, and thus a cold killer. She's a typical anti-hero, albeit in female form. For me, the pessimism and darkness of the book was really a turn-down. The world is detailed, and realistic, given the considerations of the story. The side trips Cally makes, while distracting from the plot, break even as they make the world more dynamic in my eyes. This book is far more suited to a fan of the Posleen series specifically, rather than a Ringo fan in general, due to the dual authorship. I recommend the prospective reader look for the book at their local library, the Baen electronic versions, or in a used bookstore. I felt it was worth the five dollars I spent on the Baen Websubscriptions electronic version, but it probably would not have been had I spent the full cover price.
One of the most vivid characters from the Posleen novels was young Cally O'Neal. I think we all fell a little bit in love with that girl. Thus expectations were high for Cally's War. Okay, I read it. And Cally's War....well, let's just say that every person to whom I've mentioned this novel, who's actually read it, has summed up their impressions in three words: "Cally's War sucks." Though that critique lacks something in length and depth, I can't dispute it. Cally's War sucks so hard I'm not even going to critique its content myself. Others have already done that, and to me that would be too much like kicking a one-legged dog.
Cally's War is credited to John Ringo and Julie Cochrane. A few pages into the book, I knew John had subbed it out to Julie. I said to myself, "This book was obviously not written by John Ringo - because if it had been, it'd be one helluva lot better than this." Cally's War is a victim of the tendency, unfortunately common these days, of writers who've created a popular "universe" to let other authors write novels using their milieu and characters. The published novels always, of course, feature the "name" author first in the byline, thus, a cynical personality might say, to lure in the suckers. I have yet to read a decent novel written under this system. (Hey, here's an idea: if you're too busy to write the book yourself, don't take the publisher's money. Radical concept, huh?)
Then I read John Ringo's comments at the head of the Cally's War's Amazon.com web page. Obviously I was not the first person to be disappointed at the quality, or lack thereof, of this work, and some of those folks have expressed that displeasure in print. Ringo's response can be summed up as, "Yeah, I subbed it out. And I like it. If you didn't like it, tough, because there's more just like it where that came from. And by the way, here's a plug for my next book."
I was amazed. Appalled, actually. Now, obviously John Ringo is not a stupid man. His IQ probably looks like a zip code. I can only assume he thinks his star shines so brightly he can get away with that attitude toward his readers. After all, Harlan Ellison has been insulting fans for decades and they still buy his stuff, right? But the difference is that, for all his attitude, Ellison still delivers kick butt stories. Even people who don't like Ellison personally can't deny his talent, or the quality of any story featuring those three little words that mean so much, "by Harlan Ellison." As a matter of fact, the most common description of Harlan Ellison I hear from his detractors is "talented a-hole." If you're going to pull a millionaire rock star attitude, man, you better be turning out millionaire rock star quality. And Cally's War ain't it.
Pulling an arrogant, dismissive attitude toward your fans, then blowing their socks off with your next work, well, that's less than ideal but you can get away with it. Subbing out your universe and your name, turning out a bad novel that debases one of your most popular characters, THEN pulling that arrogant, dismissive attitude toward fans' justified complaints is only going to alienate formerly devoted readers. When this many long-term fans dislike a book so intensely....it's not the readers' fault. I'd like to see John Ringo, (a) quit subbing out books, (2) formally apologize to his readers. A simple, "I screwed up, I apologize, I'll try to do better in the future," would suffice. I was taught in the Army, when you eff up - which we all do occasionally - and you're standing at the position of attention in front of the First Sergeant's desk, the correct attitude is, "No excuse, First Sergeant!" You do that, you'll be perceived as a stand-up guy who's willing to take responsibility for his own actions, and you can probably skate out of things just fine. You start trying to justify yourself, or, God forbid, pull an attitude, you're going to get hammered.
I still want to like John Ringo's stuff. As a matter of fact, I'm looking forward to reading We Few in the very near future. Just no more Cally's Wars, PLEASE.
"Cally's War" is different. It's somewhere between PG-13 and R, for starters. It's also not a war novel - it's a spy / secret agent novel. The body counts are lower, although the action scenes are just as intense.
Some Ringophiles will be turned off by the emotional and personal content -- "Fergit the feelings, I wants me some antimatter bombs!". Personally, I figure that if I'm going to be reading a novel with a viewpoint inside a female character's head, I'd expect her to think like a female. I suspect that I see Julie's hand in the better insights, there.
When all's said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I'm in the middle of a re-read, having finished the first read-through in about 48 hours. The intrigue is sneaky, the plot complex, and the action will get your blood pumping.
I can't wait for the sequel.
By the end of the war she had been listed as dead. In truth, she'd been recruited into the elite ranks of the Bane Sidhe, a group of underground warriors dedicated to breaking the strangle-hold of the elf-like Darhel. For forty years Cally has gone on mission after mission. She completely changed her appearance and personality more often than others changed their socks ... and seemingly much easier.
Now, in the year 2047, Cally goes to Titan Base, hunting a mole. The team take out the real Captain Sinda Makepeace and inserts Cally. But she never expects to fall in love with one of the enemy.
***** Cally is one of the best assassins I have read in Sci-Fi thus far. She reminded me at times, especially while being tortured, of Robert A. Heinlein's main character in the book titled "Friday". She does whatever it takes to get the job done. Killing comes as naturally to Cally as breathing. Authors John Ringo and Julie Cochrane did an excellent job in teaming up to create a story for the little girl I recall from previous books. This is not the first of the series and you do not HAVE to read the others to thoroughly understand all that is going on. Outstanding! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.