Written by Martha Wells
Number 1 in The Murderbot Diaries
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Adventure, Crime, Science Fiction
Original Language: English
Read from 2021-02-25 to 2021-03-06
Read in English
Review: All Systems Red packs a great premise, and a main character with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it ended before it dragged me in as far as it definitely could have done.
We follow the plot of All Systems Red as told by the main character, who exists in an uncanny grey area between being a robot and a human. The story is told with an emotional, sometimes even ironic, distance by the robot itself as things take an unexpected turn during the research mission it is there to protect. The way in which the story is told, the main character, and the perception they have of themselves, was at least as interesting to me as the storyline, and it gave the book an interesting philosophical and moral dimension. I think different readers will read very different things into the actions and thoughts of the main character, and the ambiguity very much added to the book rather than detracted from it.
However, the book ended too soon. I realize that the series continues, and I appreciate that it does, but where I would have expected a first-in-a-series book like All Systems Red to feel like a setup for something to come, it felt incomplete instead. The at-an-arms-length way in which the story is told does serve to set up the main character, but it also pushed me away from engaging in the story, and what I was left with was a book consisting of a character I liked telling me a story I wasn’t given a reason to care much about.
That said, this is a book where a reread might well make me enjoy it more, as my perception of the main character changed throughout the book, and my perception of the story depended almost entirely on what I thought of the main character. And, that said, I did enjoy it, I just found it almost irritating that it didn’t seem to let me enjoy it as much as I might have done. In any case, I have high hopes for the following books in the series.