Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Dogs of War is a fantastic and emotional book which offers deep insights into war, business, and ethics. True to what I’ve seen in Tchaikovsky’s other books, Dogs of War takes a present issue and presents it with a sci-fi/fantasy spin. In this case, we take a look at engineered lifeforms, mercenary contractors,  and cover-ups, through the lens of self-discovery via a dog named Rex.

Rex was once a dog, but after extensive lab work and sciencey things, Rex is now more than a dog. He’s a 7-foot tall killing machine. Dog and technology melded together to make a bioform, a type of supersoldier, obedient to a fault, but Rex is still part dog. Through a feedback chip, and his own doggy instincts, Rex just wants to be a good dog and receive praise from his master. To his master, however, Rex is a tool, a weapon to be used in war, and afterwards, a scapegoat for his war crimes.

Things really kick off when Rex loses communications with his base and is forced to think for himself and to control the actions of him and his team. He’s never before had this kind of responsibility and just wants to do whatever will make him a good dog. But what makes him a good dog? Thus begins Rex’s own journey of self-discovery of what is right and wrong.

Throughout this process, the world begins to learn of what bioforms are, and what they’ve done on the orders of their human masters. This then leads several different questions. Who’s at fault? Can bioforms commit crimes? Can they give testimonies? Is it fair to have a chip in their brain that says they must obey certain people? Can they release these giant killing machines into the public?

I really enjoyed Dogs of War. Rex was an amazing character, and there was so much going on throughout the book. One of the things I really liked was how thought-provoking the book was. There are so many questions about ethics and war that Tchaikovsky forces you to think about as you read.

I also really enjoyed the audio component of the (audio)book. With three different narrators, characters had their own individual voices and really stood out as individuals.

Overall, I really enjoyed Dogs of War, and highly recommend it to people who enjoy:

  • Military Fantasy
  • Non-Human Main Characters
  • Ethical Challenges
  • First Person POV


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