*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review. Quotes used are from an ARC and may be different in the final copy.*
I don’t know if it’s that my tastes have changed since I read Book 1, if I just read this when I wasn’t in the right mood for it, or if the book really was different from the first, but overall I kinda found the book not bad but lacking.
For one thing, all that happened for the first 20% was that Syl and Bastion walked through the jungle.
For another thing, Syl’s and Bastion’s inner voices, the thing I loved most about the first book, didn’t seem as strong this time. Instead of being gritty, Syl seemed to jump from one extreme emotion/thought to another. And Bastion, instead of being sassy, kind of annoyed me with how he was worried about fashion and constantly making jokes while in danger.
There were also lots of things that didn’t make sense or that seemed inconsistent. Like, I couldn’t grasp how the androids worked. They had some human functions, like pain, but not others. And they only seemed to have certain types of pain. It seemed random (but honestly it might’ve been explained in Book 1 and I’ve just forgotten). Also, why would Blalock immediately trust Syl and Bastion more than she trusted any of her own people when not only were they newcomers whom she didn’t know at all, *SPOILER (for Book 1)* they were androids—the creatures she hated? *END SPOILER* And how would Lexion have even known that Sanders was someone from Syl’s past (he didn’t know who she was until recently, and Sanders died before then), and what are the odds *SPOILER* he would also just so happen to have Sanders’s body? *END SPOILER*
The Glitch thing didn’t make sense to me either. Ok, so, Androids don’t feel emotion. Glitches are androids who do. I was a little confused about this in Book 1 because it seemed that all the androids displayed some emotions, but I figured by “emotion” they just meant care, compassion, love, that sort of thing. But then in this book, they discovered another Glitch, and Syl figured it out because she realized he feels happiness—not compassion, just happiness, and that makes him a Glitch. Ok… but then I feel like every android should be a Glitch. I mean, I’m pretty sure Lexion give a speech to rally all the androids in Book 1, so weren’t they feeling some sort of emotion if they were rallying? And why would they need sex workers, like Bastion, if they didn’t feel? Like, what are the reasons people have sex, other than reproduction (since obviously androids aren’t using sex for that purpose)? Love, lust, boredom, loneliness, stress-relief, distraction because they’re worried about something else—I don’t know, there are probably a million reasons people have sex, but apathy is not one of them. Maybe they do it just for the physical pleasure it brings? Ok, but then, that means they enjoy the pleasure, it brings them happiness or some sort of emotion. So I’m just really confused as to what emotions, exactly, are the ones that qualify an android as a Glitch because it seems to me they ALL feel some sort of emotion. Plus, if they had no emotions at all, they’d have no desires or goals and wouldn’t even have a drive to do anything. They’d all just stand and do nothing, and that’d be it, there’d be no city of androids
But there were some good things in the book too. It was interesting to see some of the differences between a human and android body that I never would’ve thought about, things that would feel so weird, especially the types of involuntary bodily reactions humans have that we use to read other people and figure out what they might be feeling, or even to read ourselves and figure out our own feelings. For example, tears/crying, knees buckling, hands shaking, heart skipping a beat or racing, etc. Androids don’t have those cues to signify emotions.
Oh, and I liked the android flirting 😛
“I bet you could use a good oiling, old man.”
I lean in close to her, tugging a strand of blonde hair. I wink when she looks at me. “Does that mean you’re offering, then?”
So overall, I found the plot kind of slow up until around 70% and didn’t love the characters the way I did in Book 1, but the android aspect was still interesting and the book itself was still a pretty violent and gritty dystopian/cyberpunk portrayal that people might enjoy.
Fans of Book 1 in Jadah McCoy's Kepler Chronicles. Sci-fi lovers who like androids, genetic engineering, world-building, and a bit of romance.