Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), Martha Wells

Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), Martha Wells

Book cover of All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells: a masked figure in armor agains backdrop of dreary trees, all in a green-grayish monochrome.

A relatively short but enjoyable read. The theme, getting into the mind of an artificial being usually regarded as a tool becoming more human, is not new and reminds me of, to name but one example, the Alchemy Wars series by Ian Trellis. Nonetheless, I enjoyed its instantiation in this short story, where a team of explorers on an unspecified planet face an unknown foe.

The world-building is subtle, not in your face and unfolding as the story unravels, just the way I like it. The writing is good, with only the minor info dump here and there that, briefly pulling me out of the story. Here and there, though, I felt that certain plot twists warranted more narrative attention. Some ground-breaking developments are glossed over and presented as ‘oh, and last night we figured out this and that’. That, and the ending felt a bit rushed and disconnected from the protagonist’s story arc, but not all that disturbingly so.

All in all, I’m hungry for more in this Murderbot Diaries series, so #2 has gone on my to-read list.


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