My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What an unexpected story. At the beginning you get the feeling that this story has been composed of a series of short sorties strung together to tell a larger story. I think this approach to the telling the story was a good one. Most of the sorties are told in 1st person, which brings you right into the character’s feelings and into the action. The few 3rd person narratives work, but not as strongly as the 1st person narratives.
My main criticism of the piece are the parts where the narrator, who is compiling the stories together, gives commentary that “puts the pieces together” for the reader. There are many times where the narrator tells the reader this is why what you just read was important and how it connects to other parts of the book. Why couldn’t the reader just it out for themselves. For example, did we have to be told that Matilda Perez was going to be vital in the war against the machines? I think the reader would have figured that out on their own. I mean the reader assumes that everyone that is being spoken about is vital in some way to the story or that the vital piece of information that was discovered would be important to other people in the story, otherwise we wouldn’t be hearing about what happened and who it happened to right?
The story itself reminded me of i Robot (both the books and the movie), the Matrix (specifically the Animatrix episode called the Second Renaissance), and Eagle Eye. Many aspects of these stories helped paint pictures in my mind of the various things that happened in this novel. So even though the story is a piece all its own with its own originality, it was nice to have that imagery evoked while reading.
I liked that even though we know how everything ends by the end of the first chapter of the book, I was compelled to read on to fill in the gaps of the story. How did we get there and who did what. Because each section felt like it’s own short story you get a distinct rise and fall within each piece. It allowed the reader a moment to put the book down, but you become so involved with the various characters after the first section you just want to continue. The various perspectives in the story felt real, each had their own unique personality even the robot perspective felt real. I felt uplifted at the end of this story about the state of humanity and its relationship with robots. I commented the author for his imagination and writing skills.