Written by Martha Wells
Number 5 in The Murderbot Diaries
Genre: Science Fiction
Original Language: English
Read from 2023-09-10 to 2023-12-18
Read in English
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!