Jen Doyle – Perion Synthetics

Fantastic story-telling!

Interesting concept, intricate plot, great characters, fabulous dry humor, and plenty of action. The general idea is a somewhat familiar one in sci-fi, but this was a different, fresh take on the idea of artificial intelligence that I found quite thought-provoking.

I really like how this book is tied in to Verastiqui’s previous writings without technically being a sequel- the books take place in the same universe, and there are a few nods to previous books, but I don’t feel it’s necessary to have read the others to understand this one. He gives just enough background detail for a first-time reader to visualize the world- there wasn’t that “recap” section in the beginning I felt like I could skip like in other serial novels.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Without giving spoilers, one of my favorite things about this author’s writing is that the characters seem real. They are flawed, insightful, altruistic, selfish, and complicated. It’s never immediately obvious who the “good guys” are, because every character has both good and questionable morals. Because the characters are rich and realistic, their actions (or the things that happened to them) were often surprising while still fitting logically with the storyline.

I thought the pacing and shifting perspectives were very nicely done in this novel. Several of the sections ended with a cliffhanger. The sections that followed tended to slow the pace a bit to give more backstory, and then quickly got back to the resolution of the previous section. I managed to avoid skimming ahead (as I usually do) to find out “what happened to so-and-so” because each character shift was so interesting.

I highly recommend this book- the writing will draw you in, it’s highly entertaining, and the concept is fascinating!

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