Review: Cry Havoc by Jack Hanson

Cry HavocI knew Cry Havoc was going to be fun to read when I saw the cover. Yes, I judge covers and I’m not the slightest bit ashamed. Show me a dinosaur with armor, a railgun, and what looks like robotic enhancements? I’m all over it. I’m happy to report that the story behind this cover didn’t let me down.
This is a fun book. It reminded me of the pulp military Science Fiction of the mid-20th century. Cry Havoc isn’t trying to make any statements or break any new ground here. It’s firmly rooted in the SF traditions of aliens, military academies and a BFG.

This is a solid Young Adult novel. Cadets in a military academy are thrown together in a squad, make friends, make enemies, fall in love, and fall in formation. Four very different teens are forced to work together by an intimidating new squad leader, and despite their initial reluctance and their own personal issues, they manage to work it out and become a cohesive military unit. It took me a while to warm up to some of the characters, but in the end, I was cheering for all of them. There were some things that I found to be silly, but I’ll chalk that up to my age — I’m not the target audience for this book.

This is a first novel for Mr. Hanson, and there are a few things that made my editing fingers twitch. For example, I had to work to follow some fight scenes because the author would refer to “the alien” making an action, when several of the combatants weren’t human. But the story was so good, I waved it off and kept reading. Unlike the military SF titles of the old masters, who left women on the sidelines, Hanson makes it perfectly clear that the young women of Epsilon Squad can be leaders, partners, and absolute badasses on the merit of their skills and abilities.

I recommend this for young adult audiences. If you’re older than that, buy a copy for your own kids or your niece or nephew, and sneak a read before you give it to them.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Originally published at

About S. Kay Nash

S. Kay Nash is a writer, editor, and bibliophile. She lives in Texas with a mad scientist and a peaceful contingent of dogs and cats.
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