Saturday, December 1, 2018

MINI REVIEW: ALL SYSTEMS RED (THE MURDERBOT CHRONICLES #1)

327589014/5 An enjoyable, albeit brief science fiction romp that keeps readers guessing as to what comes next. 

The story follows a part-human but mostly robot service bot that offers support to his team of specialists on their outpost. The story spends a bit of time developing the different members of their crew and their relationships with each other. As this is happening, the Murderbot, as he calls himself (though the team doesn't know he's killed people), is also fleshed out. It seems he's somehow broken through his security protocols which has led to him keeping some entertaining secrets. He has an affinity for downloading and streaming media, often binge-consuming it while on the job (definitely a violation in his code). We also get some insight into how estranged he feels from human interaction. There are even some funny moments where he's purposefully awkward so that he can avoid prolonged conversation with his crew. 

Things take a turn for the more dire when other stations begin to experience violent activity. The gang finds themselves tangled up in the mysterious conflict raging around them and tensions rise as Murderbot has to choose between keeping he secrets to protect himself or exposing them in favor of protecting his crew. The tension of not knowing exactly what they're up against for most of the story a well how the characters bond during these events is really what makes this a worthwhile read. There's also some interesting world building at play even though the physical scope of things is mostly confined to the the desolate planet that they're stationed on. I imagine that this is one area that the series will aim to expand upon in future installments. The one thing that didn't work quite as well with me was the ending. It's definitely a little surprising and nicely sets up future adventures, but I kind of wanted it to go a different way which slightly soured it for me. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this quick, intriguing read and I'll probably be continuing with the series to see what happens next to the Murderbot. 

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