Exit Strategy by Martha Well is book four in The Murderbot Diaries, book series. This is the last of the 4 novellas the next books in the series is a full length novels. The fourth book comes full circle all the way back to the first book and the first humans that he saved and started to generally care about. This novel has a bit more heart because of the reunion and the character of Murderbot has grown emotionally throughout the series. The ending was perfect for this chapter in Murderbot’s life. My one problem with this series is the formulaic plot, this book like the one before it had Murderbot try to get undetected on some transport, something happens to human’s he’s around Murderbot must save them, he does and he runs away. This book did change the ending but the plot points are the same. Murderbot’s dialogue was as fresh as it has ever been but the plot being kinda of the same bother’s me I actually took a break in the series for this reason. I feel this was trying especially in the end to change some things up I remain a fan but slightly disappointed.
The Plot: In the first Murderbot novella All Systems Red, Muderbot hired by a team of scientist doing lad surveys on a planet, a shadow company, GrayCris, has been doing it’s own research on the planet, and found aliens have visited it and have left technology, they fear the scientists finding out and send a kill order of the scientist. Murderbot saves them as they find out about the alien visit and learn more about the GrayCris, Murderbot is bought by the scientists and granted freedom. Murderbot runs away. In the second Murderbot book Artificial Condition Murderbot investigates the place where he became a mass murderer and finds out he was hacked and taken over by GrayCris that wanted settlers dead. In Rogue Protocol Murderbot is going to a planet that GrayCris deleted from record. Murderbot wants to grab proof of a coverup and give it to the scientists who released him and still fighting GrayCris. He joined a survey team that doesn’t understand what they are walking into, he lies his way in as security, and reluctantly has to protect the humans and a naive droid he has nicknamed Puppybot. In Exit Strategy Murderbot has the evidence and wants to show it to the team of scientist that helped set him free, before he can give the evidence, Dr. Mensah, the lead scientist is taken and ransomed for the evidence that Murderbot has. Can Murerbot save Dr. Mensah and keep the evidence?
What I Liked: The character of Murderbot thoughts and actions keep getting better as the character grows. I liked seeing the old scientific team from book one especially Dr. Mensah who say Muderbot for more than a robot. I do like that Dr. Mensah is the only other person that knows he refers to himself as Murderbot, I liked how that added it to the story. The action was better than previous installments because of Muderbot caring more than usual. I loved that Dr. Mensah to ease tension asked Muderbot about his favorite TV show, Sanctuary Moon. The end of the novella run was a good one and really shows how far the character has come.
What I Disliked: The plot points make this awesome series a tad episodic and I hate that. Here’s what it mad me think of; Lassie the old TV show. In every episode Timmy or somebody will get hurt and the only thing to save them is Lassie, that’s what I felt a little when reading this that I knew all the story beats, because I saw or read this episode before. I will say if this was the first book of the series I read I would think the writing and characterization are really strong and I wouldn’t know how formulaic it is. I’m not going to rate this book too harsh but it will lower my rating of the series, because I feel individually this book is the better written of the series.
Recommendations: The character of Murderbot is so good I will recommend the series just for that. love the character. Muderbot is the first character that I created a Spotisfy playlist for. The books are good and highly entertaining if not a tad predictable. I rated Exit Strategy by Martha Wells 4 out of 5 stars. I rated all books in the series 4 out of 5 stars, but I would rate the series 3 out of 5 stars to the formulaic nature. I will read the next book in The Muderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells Network Effect with a slight hesitation.