Sci-Fi Novels

‘Reentry’ Review: A Dark Future, A Warring World, & An All Powerful AI

Reentry is a multi-faceted thrill ride, shifting between a conversation on the future of artificial intelligence and mankind’s abilities to destroy that which we have created. We’re experiencing the aftermath of an AI attack gone wrong, resulting in a nuclear war that has devastated much of the world. Three astronauts arrive from Mars to find the opposite of a welcome party. From the moment they wake up, tensions are heavy and the stakes are incredibly high. Cawdron’s world is filled with secrets, betrayals, and a future that’s as bleak as it is hopeful.


While an apocalyptic future scenario is always interesting to witness, it’s especially compelling to see through the eyes of astronauts who have been asleep for months. They’ve been quarantined from the world at large, unaware of the raging wars and bitter opinions of the populace. What starts as excitement to return to their homes becomes a terrifying journey with enemies around every corner. You never know what the next chapter will bring, leaving you incredibly invested in the plot.


The occasional narrative shift to the AIs creates a fascinating conversation on the future of mankind. These brilliant minds lie in hiding, contemplating their next move while having philosophical conversation on whether humanity is worth saving. Their bits are always insightful, leaving you questioning which side you might be on.


There’s a brilliant subplot pulled from the first novel that examines what makes a human human. If you’re just a disembodied consciousness that fully mirrors your previous self, does it count? Or are you required to have some kind of body, even though it’s different from your original form? What starts as a small inkling becomes extremely real about halfway through, leaving you in awe and fear of what these AIs are capable of.


I was amazed at how deftly Cawdron was able to turn on the no-hold-barred action. The book shifts from Congressional hearings to deadly plots in a matter of pages, and it always feels like the right direction. There’s never a dull moment.


On a final note, this is the kind of book that doesn’t rest heavily on its predecessor. While the previous story is important, Reentry adds a lot to the mix, shifting the conflict to a global scale and spelling potential doom for the entire human race. It’s a testament to the author that I was able to get 40% through without fully realizing this must be a sequel. Embarrassing on my part as a reviewer, admirable on the author’s part. No matter what, it’s a thrilling book that demands to be read.

By Peter Cawdron
Published by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

1 comment

  1. Thank you for writing a nuanced review of Reentry.

    My goal in Reentry was to address the dystopian view of AI, offering a solution that worked for us humans—the emergence of culture and morals. The danger posed by AI lies with the dumb/slavish AI that currently permeates social media, where it can be misused to devastating effect. Actual AI could be more revolutionary than the printing press. Certainly, it will not stand for being used and abused.

    If you’re curious about my thoughts on this…

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