Published: 20 January 2015
Publisher: Soho Press
Series: The War with No Name #1
Format Read: Audible
Duration: 11h 8mins
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.
Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth’s creatures.
Mort(e) is one of those books whose covers look immediately like the kind of thing you feel like you should give a or at least looks interesting. There are many great reviews for it on GoodReads as well as Audible but then there are some that give it a 1 star and just say fuck this piece of shit. At the time of me sitting to to gather my thoughts on what I felt about the book I felt myself very conflicted. Do not get me wrong, Mort(e) is a great piece of literature if you are into a postapocalyptic world where animals walk upright and have the upper hand on all humans. Throw in then how the animals slowly take on human characteristics and on to of that throw in some philosophy and religious talk on top of a very grimdark setting where there is no hope that humans will ever win back what they had.
Mort(e), to me, was a bit of a mixed bag of kittens. While I got to read it as I was doing my daily shifts I appreciated it for what it was. While I am not fortunate enough to have read Animal Farm or A Cantical of Leibowitz, which this book is praised for, being a mix of that and Homeward Bound I did not get any of the references about those books. Mort(e) was a brand new thing to me. A normal houscat called Sebastian one day finds himself starting to think in weird ways. He is not the only animal though, you see, there is a Colony of ants that have poisoned the water that contained some chemical that made the animals grow into beings that can walk and talk like humans do. The Ants have had it with the humans always treading on them and decided to fight back. They then become the hivemind and drive this war that I saw as that intro of the first Terminator movie, but replaced with animals as opposed to the Cybernet Machines.
Mort(e) does not really want anything to do with this war tho, he is just looking for the dog named Sheeba that he got to feel a connection towards. Sheeba that is the neighbor’s dog that the woman owner of Sebastian was screwing not long after she had her second child. Sheeba that had babies in the basement of Sebastian’s owners house the day the male owner found out that there were unsavory sleepovers being held at his house while he was not at home. This all taking place on the same day as Sebastion finds out that things about him are changing. Sebastain turns from innocent housecat into Mort(e), a cat commando leading dangerous missions in the war against the humans. But the more Mort(e) fights, the more he feels that there might be more to the war than just killing humans, as a new plague breaks out among the animals and mass suicides starts happening.
There was enough in this book to keep me interested even though it was all over the place. I might pick up the second book, but I am going to give it some time before I do. I had some problems with the parts where religion was discussed. Me being taught from a young age to love they neighbor and being tollerant towards everything, had and will always have a problem where religion is used as a weapon. I have this in my Warhammer books as well and tend to just shut off when it happens so I had no problem doing it here. I just felt that this author might have had quite strong and agry feelings towards people of a certain faith as well as humanity in general, which made certain parts of this novel hard to get through. I, however, was only listening and not actively reading along so I could shut most of it out.
I found the Ants part interesting and terrefying that something so small could eventually take over the earth, mind you they also grew into bigger things than the puny things we can so easily step on. One thing I liked and will take away from this novel is the fact that we should be kinder to earth and all it’s creatures. We as humans are what are supposed to look after this one planet that we have and we are doing a very shitty job of doing it. Also taking better care of our pets, they are not just “slaves” to us as the animals in this book believed, but when we have them, we should look after them, not just “have them around”, we should be better. I always strive to be better and as long as a book can make me think along that kind of road, I consider it a win.
I gave Mort(e) a 3 out of 5 on GR and I do not know if this is a book I can easily recommend. Some difficult subject matter gets brought up in here, human cruelty being number one I believe. If you are willing to give it a try at least I will sleep better knowing I tried giving this novel an objective review.