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VOYAWords are the weapons in this psychological sequel to the action-packed Warchild (Warner, 2002/VOYA October 2002). Picking up where the debut novel left off, this inventive world is seen through nineteen-year-old Ryan Azarcon's designer eyes—courtesy of Eternity Enhancements' biolabs. As the son of two famous parents, Ryan has everything he wants but not necessarily what he needs. Recently returning to Austro Station after abandoning university "dirtside" (on Earth), Ryan is living with his mother, trying to forget the traumatic bomb attack at his grandfather's Hong Kong embassy. His father, Cairo Azarcon, a Macedon warship captain, only returns to station every four years. Ryan's bodyguard, Sid, has taken on extra duties as his mother's lover. His grandmother warns "Denial isn't healthy," and Ryan responds, "Yeah . . . but it works." It does for a while, as Ryan relies on his bad attitude and Silver trips, a drug he sneaks past Sid. When Ryan's dance partner dies at a flash club from an assassin's bullet meant for him, his father orders him aboard his ship to keep him safe. Father and son are as estranged as the alien strits, pirates, and human sympathizers that Captain Azarcon is leading in peace negotiations. Lowachee's characterization and world building are stellar as is the commentary about the meedees' role (media). Ryan's understanding of his father, his dysfunctional family, and himself might be more elusive than intergalactic peace, but SF fans and those new to the genre will be drawn into the worthy battles. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed bookrecommended for Young Adults). 2003, Warner, 417p., pb. Ages 15 to Adult.