My rating: 2 of 5 stars
oh! this one deserves a new category–popcorn books. you know, you fire up a bowl and can’t stop eating it until the last kernels are rattling around in the bowl, and it makes you feel full but there’s no real nutrition in it.
at least popcorn books won’t leave a roll around the waist, however.
this book is all about a murderous AI and a million billion murderous robots under its command. the guy who wrote is reputedly has a PhD in robotics, and he does know his stuff, so that’s all to the good. you have to hope the author never gets a horrid jones to off our meat-based species, cause he’s clearly got the chops to lay on some hurt.
the book has a nice progression, too, from murderous robots on hand to murderous purpose-built robots, each succeeding its predecessors in lethality and general ickiness. in structure it’s a lot like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War–told episodically from multiple different viewpoints. which i think is a fine structure for a popcorn book in particular. something about that structure seems more sustainable for a first novelist–one never gets too deep into any given character’s head, so the action can roll merrily along.
but ultimately, it’s popcorn. you won’t leave the book with any genuinely deep thoughts. your view of the world won’t have been changed or added any luminosity. you won’t forever wonder what happened to any of the characters when they grew up or ran out of ammo. they don’t become family.
that’s all ok, tho. just so long as you know you’re buying popcorn and not a madeleine.