Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review - Artificial Condition

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
by Martha Wells
Date: 2018
Reading level: A
Book type: prose novella
Pages: 176
Format: e-book
Source: library

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot".

But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm so glad my library got this e-book, because I just couldn't bring myself to pay full price for a novella, no matter how much I love the main character. Murderbot is back, with its unique voice and wry observations about humanity. This time, though, it's joined by another artificial intelligence named ART, who is probably my second favourite character in this installment.

As a sequel, this story is fine, but it's kind of lacking in action, especially compared to the first book. Murderbot takes on three young clients who hire it as a security consultant for a trip to a mining planet; but it has ulterior motives, since it wants to get to the planet itself and investigate what really happened when it supposedly lost its mind and slaughtered a whole bunch of humans.

The revelations about the massacre weren't all that interesting, and I have to wonder if that's the end of that thread or if there's more to it. At the end of the installment, Murderbot's off to carry out another plan (which we as readers have no knowledge of), and I'm curious to find out what will happen next.

Murderbot is a good enough character that I still enjoyed this, but I hope there's a little more action in the third and fourth books. And I hope we get to see ART again at some point! (It's really not as much of an "A" as Murderbot seems to think.)

Quotable moment:

Granted, it would have been hard to show realistic SecUnits in visual media, which would involve depicting hours of standing around in brain-numbing boredom, while your nervous clients tried to pretend you weren't there. But there weren't any depictions of SecUnits in books, either. I guess you can't tell a story from the point of view of something that you don't think has a point of view.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.63 out of 5 ladybugs

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