Very recommended sf here, though not without a couple potential missteps in pacing and over explanation of decisions. Our sentient high tech spaceship doesn't get too many chances to show off in terms of firepower and ship to ship combat -- but with all of Lobo's sarcasm, and a demonstration of his/its abilities as hacker, surveillance, and command and control. This is a novel which ruminates on the costs of violence and very much in particular on the psychological damage done to child soldiers; the whiz-bang fireworks of space opera or military sf are a bit on pause. It's a 2010 novel which has been tragically overlooked; it was not on the Locus recommended reading list, not in the Hugo long tail -- there's quite a quiet something to this novel and I encourage more people to give the book a try. And the previous books in the series are not required reading to jump into Children No More, if my experience here is any indication. I really enjoyed getting to know Jon Moore through the use of the alternating origin story chapters; as the adult Moore finds himself trying to help former child soldiers make some sense of their lives, he is reliving his own, violent, militarized childhood in dreams and flashbacks. (Before I get to the conclusion, I want to say another word about the "over explanation" comment; it is actually for this reason (among several others which are more obvious) that Children No More is very recommended for fans of Ender's Game; in that novel, we see Ender Wiggin work consequences out in detail in his head, and here there's a similar use of Jon-Lobo interaction to present the full extent of the thought process behind decisions. OK, back to the book.) In Children No More, super-soldier Jon Moore is called upon to do something fairly extraordinary: not fight. To stay around and deal with the political aftermath of a military engagement, to protect something he cares about rather than destroy or acquire a target. To fulfill this particular mission, Jon (and Lobo of course!) have to devise a hacked-together high stakes plan to out-politic, out-bluff, out-media their opponents. When these overtly hidden plans come to fruition, I got big grin right along with Jon. In conclusion, though, I wonder if Van Name has written Jon into a non-violent corner; he's learned a lot and grown during this book, which is saying something. I suppose we'll find out pretty soon in the next book, No Going Back, at the end of May.