I received an advanced reading copy from Tor.com in exchange for an honest review.
I wish to echo Ann Leckie and simply say “I love Murderbot!”
With Rogue Protocol, The Murderbot Diaries is indeed shaping up to be a fantastic series of novellas that tick all the right boxes, albeit in a smaller-sized package of excellent science fiction action and empathetic character development.
The Murderbot, despite all her desires to be left alone, is investigating into the suspicious affairs of the massive GrayCris Corporation; one which her client back from the first book is still trying to bring down after escaping from an almost fatal mission. Our snarky anti-social high-tech AI bot is definitely becoming more ‘human’ than it wished to be.
I hate caring about stuff. But apparently, once you start, you can’t just stop.
Murderbot’s research takes her to an abandoned terraforming facility in a forsaken planet which needed quite a bit of logistical manoeuvring to access. But armed with her impressive stash of media to bribe her way through transport bots, she finally reached the desired destination and expertly infiltrated an assessment expedition crew’s mission on the same facility.
Perhaps it is just me, as growing up with the Aliens franchise has made me especially sensitive to abandoned facilities in space, and scenes where a small crew explores the lonely, quiet and creepy long corridors. Half the time I was expecting some alien and hostile biological creature to attack the humans, giving me this frisson of suspense and excitement as I read through these sections of the story.
It should come as no surprise anymore, but I am still amazed by the character development imparted in this short narrative. Aside from Murderbot, everyone else is new and Wells has yet again created an awesome non-human character; this time in the form of a humanoid bot, one which is less high-tech than the SecUnit. Miki is not as hilarious as ART from the previous book, but its characterisation is just as compelling, particularly in its loyalty to its human companions, whom it calls friends.
I firmly believe that one does not need to be a fan of science fiction to enjoy The Murderbot Diaries. Just think of it as reading about this badass but anti-social warrior – one who enjoys her TV series and books and perhaps might be a little softie inside after all – as she snoops around, hacking her way into almost everything and kicking enemies’ asses. And all the while delivering sarcastic humour through her introspection and quips. In short, these novellas are super fun.
Review originally written in June 2018.