Germline by T.C. McCarthy
It is the future. Wars are now fought underground in mines for precious metals. The current front is in Kazakhstan. Men in mechanized suits and genetically created warriors fight side by side on both the American and Russian sides. We see the war through the eyes of the only reporter allowed (and crazy enough) to be there. He brings a civilian perspective to the war, the people and the causes.
While I have to admit I didn’t like the audiobook at first it grew on me, just like Oscar, the main character did. A self-destructive drug addict that is worthless as a reporter was a hard sell – I have a hard time reading books where I don’t like the main character. But he grew on you. This is the story of a boy (albeit chronologically already a man) becoming a man through the trials of war. While definitely science fiction, it read like a historical or present day war story. It wraps up neatly so I’m anxious to see where the sequel leads.