Written by Martha Wells

Number 5 in The Murderbot Diaries

Publisher: Tor.com
Pages: 350
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2020-05-05
Original Language: English

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot. Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century. — I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are. When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action. Drastic action it is, then.

Read from 2023-09-10 to 2023-12-18
Read in English
Rating: 3.5/5
Review: Network Effect is another instalment of the Murderbot series, and this time we get a full length novel! It’s different from the novellas, but for me, it wasn’t quiiiite different enough.

Given that I want to keep things spoiler-free even if someone were to happen upon this review before reading the first book, I don’t want to say anything specific about what happens, but our friend, Murderbot, finds themselves in what starts out being a sticky and unfortunate situation and just keeps on getting worse.

The strongest part of this book is the relationship between the non-humans - the discovery (and the unavoidable exploration of) the feelings that come with those relationships. We also get an interesting play on where a personality fits in relative to a person (or, say, a robot).

The plot that surrounded these interesting ideas, and the action involved in the story getting from point A to B, didn’t quite do it for me. Perhaps the emotional distance Murderbot had to these events also translated to them not feeling real to me, but with a few glorious exceptions Network Effect was never quite a page-turner for me. Though, the exceptions were glorious: the… the 2.0 section of the story was a great sequence.

Overall, and I’m being harsh just because of how high my expectations of this series are at this point, the book felt a bit like a novella and a half that was extended to make a novel. That might be a me-problem rather than a problem with the book: perhaps I got too used to the bite-sized instalments of Murderbot. I still love, and would highly recommend, this series. And whether the next books are novellas or novels (I haven’t checked yet), I look forward to the continuation!