Network Effect – Martha Wells

“I’ve had clients who thought they needed an absurd level of security.”

So, you read and loved the first four Murderbot novellas (starting with All Systems Red) – and if you can’t nod to that you probably just need to go read the books, right? 😉 – with the only real caveat being that they were so short. You want more Murderbot! Well, Ms Wells has delivered, and here we have the first (and hopefully only ‘to date’ only ;)) Murderbot full novel! 🙂

The story still continues, so yes, it does make sense to be up to date before trying this. Would it work as a standalone? I really couldn’t say an outright ‘no’, but the story has been so good so far you’d just be cheating yourself anyway.

So, Murderbot is still trying to figure out its place in this new world order of being a free agent, having emotions its not wholly prepared for, and generally just trying to decide what to do. Despite the whole freedom thing, it still feels very – oddly – attached to and/or responsible for Dr Mensah, who’s suffering from PTSD after the previous installment and at least one other incident we’ll find out about here. Still, while it’s nice – does it mean nice? – being able to protect her, it might not be best for either of them, and so Murderbot agrees to look after her daughter, off on her first survey mission.

Things do not go according to plan. Duh.

There can be issues translating what’s worked so very well in short form into a longer story, but that is absolutely not the case here. The joy of the character – sarcastic, deadpan construct – is every bit as wonderful as it’s been all along, only now we get more of it. More action, more of the world(s), more characters – familiar and new – and best of all, more insight into how it is to be a deadly killing machine who only wants to watch tv shows but instead feels obliged to look after ‘its humans’. Aww! 🙂

Massively recommended, of course!

Kindle: 346 pages / 20 chapters
First published: 2020
Series: The Murderbot Diaries book 5 (of 6, with the newest due April 2021)
Read from 15th-10th April 2021

My rating: 9/10

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