Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Series Review of The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

I originally picked up the first book in the Murderbot Diaries after hearing about it from several of my favorite Booktubers.  It had made the Booktube SFF shortlist last year and I thought I would give it a try even though I am very new to Sci-Fi.  The second book made the shortlist this year in the Short Work category again this year, so I thought I would continue the series, and ended up finishing all 4 books currently out.

Synopsis: "In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth."

My Review: I have been hearing really great things about this book and I am starting to branch a little more into sci-fi. I like that this is a shorter book so it isn't as intense as a lot of the other sci-fi out there. I was a bit confused at first since we are just dumped into MuderBot's mission and it takes a bit to get everyone straight. Once you start to get into the story though, you really grow attached to the characters, even though Murderbot tries to distance itself from the humans and the human emotions. I enjoyed the mystery and action as well, it wasn't heavy on the science or math terms, and for the most part I was able to picture a lot of the tech described. This was a good one to dip your toes in the sci-fi genre. I may be picking up more in this series.

My Rating: I had originally rated this one middle of the road but even nearly a year after reading it, I am still thinking about it a lot so I decided to up my rating slightly and give it a Three Paw and a Stump Wag Rating. 


Synopsis: "It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…"

My Review: I am fairly new to the world of Sci-Fi and this was one of the series I kept hearing about that got me interested. I really enjoyed All Systems Red and was excited to read this one. I listened to the audio while reading a print copy and it really helps me grasp the various character tones and AI elements. I loved seeing Murderbot become more aware of himself as compared to altered humans and I especially enjoyed him discovering more bots that are functioning somewhat independently like him. ART was great comic relief with the heavy subjects and intense action. I can't wait to continue the series.

My Rating: First off, I don't know when or why I started thinking of Murderbot as a male, I think because I listened to the audio book and it had a male narrator.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the development of Murderbot's character but ART totally made this one for me.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "SciFi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good."

My Review: I so adore Murderbot and this next book in the series did not disappoint! I love how more humanized Murderbot seems in each book yet he keeps his SecUnit/Bot skills. This book had plenty of excitement and the pages were turning quickly. We find out a lot more about the over arcing conspiracy plot line. I really enjoy the way pieces are being put together but some bits are still waiting to be discovered, leading to needing to pick up the next book right now!

My Rating: The adventures of Murderbot continue to pull me in, I love the relationships being built even against Murderbot's social anxieties.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "The fourth and final part of the Murderbot Diaries series that began with All Systems Red.
Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?
Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.
But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?
And what will become of it when it’s caught?"
My Review: I have been absolutely loving this series, it is a great introduction to the genre. I love how Murderbot has become more humanized throughout his adventures but yet still remains aloof. This is quite an exciting adventure and picks up pretty much where the previous book left off, diving right back into the action. The stakes seem even higher in this one than the previous two and it lends to an exciting, page-turning read. I really enjoyed how this story arc concluded but find there are still some open questions regarding Murderbot's own history, so I am eager to see if more will be coming.
My Rating: I really could not put this series down, once I got going the action kept the pages turning and the characters kept me coming back for more.  I couldn't wait to see what tight spot Murderbot got in (and out of) again.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Full Series Review: While I wasn't too keen on being dumped right into Murderbot's mind already mid mission on a strange planet, the characters really started to draw me into the story.  Murderbot is such a quirky character, full of social anxieties but yet a caring robot core.  I love the short novella length of these books, it made it a little easier for me to pick up the newer genre to me without being overly intimidated.  It does at times get a little technical in the later books, but it didn't put me off at all, the characters and plot kept me involved.  I definitely recommend this series for Sci-Fi newbies like myself.  

Note: I did also recently hear that Martha Wells will be releasing a full length Murderbot book sometime in the future, and I am so ready for it!

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