‘Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries’ Review

Wow. I love this series.

Great main character with a dark back story and hilarious habits. Tight writing with fast-paced incidents and a longer narrative stretching between books. It’s sci-fi meets mystery meets action adventure. Dare I say this second book was even better than the first…

ALREADY WELL ESTABLISHED

I was already a big fan of Murderbot after reading All Systems Red. It’s such a brilliant concept – a security robot capable of horrifying violence who only wants to watch soap operas and avoid human contact. Its introversion is admirable. In this next entry to the Murderbot Diaries, it’s opening up a bit and becoming more human, something that it loathes. It tells itself that it just wants to watch feeds until the end of time, getting up to date on its stories, but in reality, it can’t handle leaving innocent humans in the lurch when it could be helping them. It seems as though it’s moving beyond the typical feelings of anger, frustration and annoyance – something that would make it human for sure. After this entry, I’m just as excited to continue reading Murderbot stories (two more entries to the series are scheduled for later this year).

INTRODUCTION OF A NEW BOT

Murderbot unexpectedly encounters an all-powerful bot on the transport ship it sneaks onto. While it seems scary at first, it eventually becomes the ally Murderbot needs to get the answers it’s looking for on a mildly dangerous planet. As an added bonus, it seems to love soap operas just as much (if not more) than Murderbot, and there’s a hilarious exchange where Murderbot is forced to play episodes repeatedly in order to help the bot calm down. It becomes very invested in the shows. Look for the point where it uses this newfound soap opera knowledge in one of Murderbot’s missions. All in all, a great addition to the story.


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FAST PACED STORY

My favorite thing about the first book was Murderbot as a character. The story was interesting and well thought out, but it wasn’t as powerful as I wanted it to be. In this second entry, the story shines, pulling the reader in as we try to figure out what lies in its past and how it is going to pass as a human, especially now that its gone rogue. The author does a great job of adding a new story into the continuous dialogue of its past. It gave me long term implications to mull over while Murderbot destroys a few enemies in the current story. The fight scenes are tight and well done, and the intrigue is tense as we follow Murderbot through situations where it could potentially be discovered.

ROOM FOR MORE

This second entry is a complete story unto itself and doesn’t feel like it’s lacking because it’s a part of a series. The author has me excited to see where the story will end and how his status as a rogue SecUnit will end. Will Murderbot achieve its dream of traveling through the universe watching soap operas at his leisure? Will it meet up with the team from the first book to get more answers? Is there some deeper conspiracy hiding under all of this? Will the brilliant ship come back to save its ass? I look forward to finding answers to at least a few of these questions soon.

Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries
By Martha Wells
Published by Tor.com

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Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Author: Jacob A. Olson

Writing about science fiction and fantasy at ReviewsandRobots.com! I write reviews on novels, short stories, television, movies, etc. and throw in a few articles and thoughts as well.

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