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About Network Effect by Martha Wells

Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

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.

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Review of Network Effect

Murderbot fans – this is the full length novel you have been waiting for. You might expect your favorite anti-social SecUnit to make plenty of snarky humorous comments about humans and about itself. You might expect SecUnit/Murderbot to get itself into one or more predicaments. You might also expect humans, that Murderbot feels compelled to protect, to get into one or more predicaments. You might expect SecUnit’s amazing processing capacity to multi-task like crazy while also enjoying one of its favorite media episodes. If you read Network Effect, you will get all of this and more!

ART (from Artificial Condition) is back and plotting with SecUnit. ART and SecUnit have an argumentative team-work method. When the two AI’s first re-meet in Network Effect, it is mostly argumentative, so you can imagine lots of humor as well as ongoing character development. Throw in several humans from various crews, human-like beings affected by alien remnants, the Corporation Rim and the Preservation Society and you have a nicely convoluted plot that combines tech that I cannot possibly understand with humanity in humans and AIs. The recounting of a desperate rescue mission had me racing through the pages.

Despite the fact that I read all of the previous novellas, references to past Murderbot escapades were a bit blurry to me. They were mentioned, but little detail was given, with the exception of one specific memory. I did not remember all the details. While I felt I was glazing over these references, it did not detract from the current story. If you have not read books 1-4, you can still enjoy this book.

The SecUnit with a sense of humor is such a great character! Network Effect makes me love it even more. Murderbot series fans will want to read this one. Scifi fans that like strong robot/AI characters will like this book too.

Thanks to the publisher who provided a copy through Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

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