Huh. So … ReV. I found this to be a really interesting sci-fi look at artificial intelligence, taken to the next level – you know, sentient robots and all that scifi jazz. Really cool. But I sure as heck felt like I was missing something.
Oh wait! I am missing something. As in, the first two books in the trilogy, which were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively. That means that the second book in the trilogy came out when I started writing my book review blog … eight years ago! I guess it should be no surprise then that this series, this author, was not on my radar.
The vN are a ‘race’ of self-replicating humanoid machines. There has been a prophecy that the vN would one day rule over humans and that day is soon approaching. One of the last hurdles – the ‘law’ which prevents machines from harming humans has finally been cracked and Portia, a vN who has been looking forward to the day when ‘she’ can bring humanity to its knees is ready to capitalize on this moment.
But first Portia must deal with Amy, her granddaughter with whom she’s been fighting for years. They’ve reached a momentary peace, but Portia’s plans, and her ability to infiltrate network systems now, without a body, have re-ignited their feud. Portia wants to destroy humankind, and now, while Amy needs to take advantage of some of humanity in order to get off-world safely, with her family. While Portia and Amy feud, will humanity find a way to destroy everything the vN have achieved?
I liked this book. Author Madeline Ashby’s writing was crisp and the characters quite interesting. I think it must difficult to give an AI this personality while still maintaining the sense of artificial intelligence, but Ashby does this well.
The story was quite intriguing, though early on I rolled my eyes at the thought of ‘another robot “coming of age”‘ story. But Ashby distinguishes her work with the very unique characters.
But as a stand-alone novel there was always a black cloud looming over my reading, suggesting that I was missing something. It wasn’t until I went to Goodreads to grab the URL to the cover for my blog that I realized that this was the third book in a trilogy. Had I known that ahead of time, I likely wouldn’t have requested this ARC, even though it comes from one of my favorite scifi publishers.
I liked the book, but not enough to seek out volumes one and two in the series, and after 8 or 9 years, if the publisher isn’t going to re-issue the first two books to remind the reader of what’s gone before, this seems like something only those who were first attracted to the series will really want to invest in reading.
Looking for a good book? ReV by Madeline Ashby is the wrap-up of a trilogy (the first book which came out nine years ago). It is well written, with some fascinating concepts, but it does feel as though you need to have read the first two books to really understand what’s happening.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Madeline Ashby
series: The Machine Dynasty #3
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 282 pages