Book Review: Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment. The thing that drives this series is Murderbot wants to be alone, but situations keep thrusting him into action. I like how he manipulates other robots that are all to ready to conspire with him, without human knowledge.

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.

What I Liked: Miki or Puppybot as Murderbot thinks of him, is a different side of A.I. one that is shown and only knows love. His interaction with the very cynical Murderbot are what make this book so fun. I loved seeing Mili showing the strength that rubbed off of Murderbot near the end. I liked Murderbot, who is an avid consumer of T.V. shows quoting some of the lines that applied to criminal justice, to the would be criminal were really good. Murderbot plot summary of the first two books made me laugh, because of how cynical it was to the human’s and the robot’s that helped him but still not really wanting their help to begin with. The action was really good and easier to follow in the past. The twist was pretty great because it was so plausible and made you think a character’s motivation went one way when it was the other.

What I Disliked: The plot setup is getting formulaic. Murderbot travels somewhere using lies to hide true intention, gets to destination and someone gets double crossed, he has to complete original mission by saving dumb humans. The books are different but I got a little plot Deja Vu.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this series, it’s fun, it is one heck of a character study, and it has amazing Science Fiction action. One of the cover quotes I really agreed with is, “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman, I’ve ever read” by Annalee Newitz. I rated Rogue Protocol 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue reading the Murderbot Diaries series that is currently 5 books comprised of 4 novella and one novel. So far every book has been 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Artificial Condition By Martha Wells

Artificial Condition By Martha Wells furthers The Murderbot Diaries with the second installment. Man is this series good, I described All Systems Red  the first novella in the series as a character piece with burst of action, and this one continues in that same style. The story picks up exactly where the last one left off, where Murderbot, the A. I., is on a mission to find himself by unlocking his past. I love how Martha Wells wrote Murderbot’s personality as a nonconforming teenager who would rather spend copious amount of time consuming media than interacting with a person or another machine for that matter. The conversations about life and past really made me me think, and the humor of being more human and all the problems that come with it.

The Plot: Muderbot is a self aware A.I. (who calls himself Muderbot, but not out loud) is on a search to find out his past, a while ago he went on a murderous rampage killing and had his memory scrubbed, and the event covered up by the corporation that owned him. No that he is rogue droid a free from the companies grasp, he has decided to investigate the grounds to see if he can find out if was an accident of if he chose to murder willingly. The planet is heavily guarded and the only way he can get on the planet is by pretending to be an augmented human, which means changing everything about himself and trying to become more human.

What I Liked: My favorite new character is ART the operating unit of the transport vessel. ART is so powerful has grown bored of his day to day task and sees an opportunity in Murderbot to go rogue and have some fun. I loved the dynamic between ART and a begrudging Murderbot that just wants to be left alone. I loved that Murderbot is basically a teenager and in this novel he kind of has puberty as he has to turn on his hair growth. I loved the conversation about adding sex and Murderbot’s strong reaction to it. The action is less than the first novella but I enjoyed the writing of the action more in this one. The humor makes this novella flow really quickly.

What I Disliked: in the series so far the villains have all been very one-sided and all about corporate greed, it would be really nice to see a more dimensional villain in future installments. I felt the stakes weren’t high enough in the end, I never felt a true danger for Murderbot.

Recommendations: I am loving this series, and totally recommend it. I was just announced by Martha Well that the fifth Murderbot Diaries book will be a full novel not a novella called Network Effect and will out in 2020. I did recommend the last one for teens, this one does amp the use of curse words up, but if you’re okay with your kid reading them then I would recommend this book in the series. I would recommend reading All Systems Red first this novella starts off exactly where it left off and even gave me some closure for the last story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and will be continuing this series soon.

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells is the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries series that is up to 4 book so far. This novel has one a plethora of award The Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for best Science Fiction Novella, as well of plenty of others. I’ve seen other reviews rate it quite high, and I personally was not disappointed. This novel is a unique character study with thrilling bits of action thrown in. The novel is told from the perspective of Murderbot, who is not your average bot, he has a rebellious side to him. Murderbot can me compared to a rebellious teenager as it choose it not to read reports, would rather spend time watching entertainment, would rather be alone than with the crew who doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know what it wants of this life.

The Plot: Murderbot is an SecUnit a self aware droid with human features and characteristics. Murderbot is what he calls himself but not allowed. He works as a piece of hardware for the Company which is a massive rental facility that provides security and gear for teams. Murderbot is not like other SecUnits he hacked himself out of the mainframe and does not have to follow orders, which no one know except him. He assigned to a group of scientists that are surveying soil on a distant planet through a worm hole. Murderbot is bored most of the time, a massive creature breaks up the boredom as it attacks the crew coming up from the ground. Murderbot kills the creature before it can inflict too much damage . The crew survives but end up finding that their survey of the planet has been modified with no mention of the creature and places on the map omitted. The crew find themselves in danger as someone doesn’t want them to leave the planet alive and Murderbot is their only hope.

What I Liked: This is not a stereotypical robot story there are not beeps and boops. The voice and personality Murderbot is unique and refreshing. The relationship of the crew toward each other and towards Murderbot. The action is easy to follow and exciting. The ending was unexpected I feel it was right for the character, even if I was a little sad of what the outcome means for the next novel and some of the characters. It is short but the story fills complete it could of added a couple more pages to fill in a scene that gets interrupted.

What I Disliked: The end of the rising action left me wanting to know what exactly happened, I felt a little cheated not knowing.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this novel, I look forward to reading more adventures of The Murderbot Diaries. I would recommend this to people who like science fiction, this novel is could be a good novel to get some one to try Science Fiction it is short and not overly detailed when it comes to science. There is one use of bad language, I would recommend this to teenagers, since Murderbot is so much like a teenager himself. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more of Martha Wells.