Review- Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel

I’ll admit, when I first heard about Murderbot, I wasn’t that interested. Don’t get me wrong, I’d heard great and wonderful things. All the lists I browsed of great modern Sci-fi contained “All Systems Red”, the first Murderbot novella. But for some reason it took my a while to get into the idea.

One day this past January I decided to finally give them a chance, and I am so glad that I did.

I tore through the first four novellas in the course of a few days.

When I heard that later this year, a full blow novel was coming out featuring my new favorite rouge construct, I was very excited.

The Murderbot Diaries follows a SecUnit, built and loaned to companies for protection of various missions and surveys of far and distant planets. One such SecUnit decides it is done taking orders and living a live of confined servitude and hacks it’s own governor module, giving it autonomy over itself, which it mostly uses to continue it’s job of protection, make sassy remarks about things it disagrees with, and avoids both verbal and physical communication with humans at all costs.

The Good

Murderbot is back! The moody and mega introvert we all know and love is present and sassy as ever. As an introvert and anxious myself, I can’t help but connect with Murderbot and its disdain for almost all forms of communication with humans.

I was glad to see a lot of actually development of Murderbot in this novel. We get to see a good bit a growth to its character through out, which isn’t a whole lot in the end, but it’s definitely noticeable and I found myself pleasantly surprised by it.

One of my favorite parts of the Murderbot Diaries is how Martha Wells it’s afraid to put us in the thick of the world she’s created. I love the play by play narration of the technical aspects of the story and Wells does a great job of describing all the various systems, how Murderbot hacks in and out of them, and how the whole world she creates works on a technical level.

Wells does a fantastic job at world building as well. By this point in the series long standing fans will have a great and beautiful picture of the universe the novel takes place in, one that is vast and complicated but never overbearing.

The Bad(ish)

Being the first novel in the series this entry is much longer and denser than its novella predecessors. The story is richer and more complicated, but not always in a good way.

I found myself confused many times in the story about who did what, when, and how.

The story is good, with some twists and turns along the way, but I found myself unable to keep up sometimes.

I’ll also mention that Wells has several points where she attempted to sum up the events for the reader, so I may just be me. Your mileage may vary.

Conclusion

The Murderbot series is a wonderful and engaging Sci-Fi adventure series I recommend to anyone who’s interesting in the genre. It’s funny, exciting, action packed and quite tense at times. I have no doubt that you’ll end up like me and many others in saying, I love Murderbot.

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