Book Review: Machinations (Machinations Book 1) by Hayley Stone

In a world that's been all but decimated by machines, Rhona is a leader and a symbol of hope for the survivors... but now she's also a clone, the original Rhona having been killed during a rescue mission. Unfortunately not everyone sees her as the same person, especially Camus, the man she still loves, and Rhona is missing some of her memories, leaving her wonder if she's still the same person or not and whether she'll be able to fill the old Rhona's shoes as she continues to fight the machines and rally the resistance.

Book Review: Machinations (Machinations Book 1) by Hayley Stone | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, robots, cloning
Title: Machinations
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 343
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I went into this book expecting it to be all action and robots but was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually all emotion and people. Yes, there was some action and robots, but that really wasn’t the focus.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the way the author didn’t gloss over the clone thing. Because of that, this book ended up being a really thought-provoking look at the emotional and psychological ramifications of being a clone (in Rhona’s case), loving someone who was cloned (in Camus’s case), and even creating a clone (in Samuel’s case).

See, I have my own beliefs on what makes a person who they are, and I don’t believe a clone would be the same person as the original. So, for that reason, I understood Camus’s side of things. He loved Rhona before she died, but he didn’t love this clone because, to him, she wasn’t Rhona. And having to see the face of this person he loved and having to pretend for the unknowing masses that she was the original Rhona while he was still grieving had to have been terrible for him. But I also understood Rhona’s side of things. She had most of the memories and feelings that the original Rhona had, so she did still know and love Camus the way the original did. And being treated like she was a stranger by Camus had to have been terrible for her. And because I understood both characters, I felt for both characters and felt really conflicted. Neither one of them had it easy in that scenario, and seeing the two of them cope with all that and try to figure out their new relationship was my favorite thing about the book.

Then there was the whole issue with Rhona just trying to deal with her situation. She knew she wasn’t the original, and she was missing a bunch of the memories because the process didn’t quite work right, so she herself felt confused and not quite whole and like she was trying to live up to her predecessor.

Samuel’s feelings about having created a clone weren’t ever really explored, but it was clear that it did have some sort of emotional effect on him too. He was so opposite Camus in the way he immediately accepted Rhona as being the same person, he was an amazing friend to Rhona, and he’s actually the character I’m most interested in knowing more about.

As for the plot, there was still some action. There were some fights against robots, military-like missions, explosions, etc. And the author did a good job of keeping it personal, even amidst the action.

I had a few issues though. For one thing, the book was more sci-fi than I’m used to, what with all the technology, machines, military stuff, etc. I also felt like I was thrown into the deep end when it first started; I didn’t know what was going on or understand anything about the world. To be honest, I still feel a little confused about the world and how exactly Rhona became the commander of her group. It was explained at least somewhat, but I think it may have went over my head.

I also didn’t really connect with the characters. I liked them, I felt for them with all the clone stuff I mentioned, I was sad when anyone died, etc., but they were a little too heroic and not quite flawed enough for my taste. That doesn’t mean other people won’t connect with them though; I think anyone who likes military characters will like them more.

So overall, I loved how character-focused and thought-provoking this book was, and while it might’ve been a little more sci-fi than what I normally go for, it was a well-written book, and I’m really glad I read it!


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  1. Greg

    This looks interesting, I love clone stuff. The whole idea of a clone trying to figure out if she’s the same person as she was cloned from- so thought provoking. I tend to think a clone wouldn’t be the sae person either- yes the DNA would be the same, they might be the same person genetically, but I think their experiences and reactions would make them unique just like happens to all of us. the predispositions would still be there, so she’s definitely be LIKE Rhona in many ways I think, but not necessarily Rhona per se. Fun to think about.

    Like the cover too- with the natural world above and the hints of machinery or whatever below.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I had never read about a clone before, so I thought all the psychological stuff about it was really interesting. In this case, she wasn’t cloned from a baby, she was cloned into the same age body she died in and was supposed to be given all the same memories and personality, but the memories didn’t all transfer. But even if they had, to me it still just wouldn’t be the same person. Just an eerily similar person lol. It is cool to think about.

  2. Jessica

    This sounds like a good book. I’m not really into the cloning thing, but I would read it anyway because of the whole missing memories thing.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I had never read about clones before. I guess I wouldn’t say I’m quite into it, like, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read about it in other books, but it did end up being really interesting in this book with the way it explored the psychological effects and the missing memories.

  3. Lola

    Oh that’s interesting it was more about emotions and people than all action and robots like you expected. The cloning aspects sounds like it gets a lot of attention here, which makes me curious as I don’t think I have ever read a book were they went so deeply in the whole cloning thing. In Star Trek Deep Space 9 there was a small side plot with a side character who was a clone and not all the clones were the same. The whole cloning parts sounds like it makes for some interesting conflict with how she isn’t the same person, but in a sense she is or at least part of her is. I think I might like this one, although I am not too sure about the fighting the robots part, but the cloning thing and how that gets explored does sound interesting.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it surprised me. I actually decided to read this book based on one review that sold me, but I guess I really didn’t actually know what it was about. I also thought it would be about a girl whose memories or whatever were put into a machine and instead it was about a human clone lol, so my expectations were all over the place. It did end up being a really interesting conflict though, and one I’d never read about before.

  4. sjhigbee

    A really good, fair minded review, Kristen. I was fascinated to read your thoughts as someone who generally reads more fantasy than sci fi. For what it’s worth, the worldbuilding leading up to the current state of affairs in this story is sketchy and not very thoroughly explored, so I was also expecting a little more explanation as to why the world was in the sorry mess it found itself in.
    But I completely agree with your overall summing up – this book deals with the idea of clones really effectively, despite it’s flaws.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I didn’t want to blame the book if it was just me who didn’t quite understand the world-building, but thank you, that’s good to know it wasn’t just me being hopeless lol. The book did do an amazing job of dealing with the clone stuff though! I do think it was a good book, but I haven’t quite decided about continuing the series yet.

  5. Lekeisha

    I think the clone aspect would be the only thing that appealed to me. Maybe the next book will be all about the action, now that the emotional characteristics have been put out there. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know, I feel like the next book would probably continue to explore the emotional stuff, at least some. Though you might be right that it might have *more* action than the first. The clone aspect was super interesting though! Thanks 🙂

  6. verushka

    Oh, I like the deeper themes in this: humanity vs clones. You laid out why both are equally believable, which I think is a hard to thing to pull off. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes in the rest of the series.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I loved those deeper themes. I thought the author did a great job of exploring that, and I really did understand both sides. I haven’t quite decided about continuing the series though.

  7. S. J. Pajonas

    This sounds really interesting to me! I believe that a clone of a person would not be like the original person, so I would feel for that love interest for sure.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was a really interesting thing to think about, and yeah, my beliefs made it really easy for me to feel for him. But being in Rhona’s head also made it easy for me to understand her side of things, so I was torn.

  8. AngelErin

    Fantastic review! I don’t think this one is for me, but I’m glad you liked it. I know you said it’s not all robots, but I’m really just not a fan of books with robots. It sounds like it is a lot more than that though so that’s good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! That’s understandable, not every book is for everyone. As I said, it even felt maybe a little too sci-fi for me, so I get it. It was a lot more than just robots though, so I did still enjoy it!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I can see why it didn’t click with you. As I mentioned, I loved all the clone conflict, but the characters didn’t quite click with me. Maybe you’ll be able to get more into when you’re in the right mood.