Book Review: The Nero Protocol by Victoria Zagar

Elias has been homeless for a while, still affected by the death of his boyfriend ten years ago and preferring the freedom to be himself over having a home but being forced to be someone he's not. But one day he fixes a broken synth that he finds in a dumpster, and it leads to bigger consequences than either could imagine, and both will have to decide what they're willing to sacrifice for what they think is right.

Book Review: The Nero Protocol by Victoria Zagar | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, lgbt, m/m, androids
Title: The Nero Protocol
Pages: 138
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

It was clear pretty much from the start that this author could write. The writing flowed well, and the characters’ voices came through strongly, especially Elias’s. Ever since his boyfriend died 10 years ago, he hadn’t been the same, and he’d been homeless because, to him, that was better than being forced to be someone he wasn’t and to live a life he didn’t want. He was partly sympathetic, partly frustrating, and overall believable. It was also revealed later in the book *SPOILER (I wouldn’t call this a spoiler, but since it wasn’t told to us right away, I’m hiding it to be safe)* that he had autism, which was why he was able to understand and connect with synths better than he could with humans. *END SPOILER* There was also a twist that I had not seen coming but that brought out a thought-provoking aspect and made me rethink my whole view of the things in the book.

I think, however, that this book could have benefited from being longer. There was so much potential and so many thought-provoking and interesting topics that could’ve been explored (like the whole thing about synth rights, *SPOILER* how Elias was trying to make them more human, how he had been in love with a synth, *END SPOILER* and even Elias’s relationship with his father), but there wasn’t enough time for any of it to really be developed. A lot of things, including Elias’s feelings for Ario, felt rushed. And as I got further into the book, the writing got more telling and dialogue heavy, things started making less and less sense, characters started changing too suddenly to be believable, and it seemed as though things were changing according to what the plot needed.

So overall, the book felt rushed and like it didn’t have time to develop everything that it tried to tackle, but it was still thought-provoking and had a great premise.


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  1. Greg

    Ooh synths. I thought this looked kinda cyberpunk-ish. Kinda reminds me of the show Humans. The twist sounds cool. Too bad it wasn’t longer- it does sound like it needed more time to develop. Maybe there’ll be another one? The synth rights thing totally sounds like Humans, actually.

    Sorry to hear the ending was a bit disappointing.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never seen the show Humans, but if it’s like this book, that sounds good. Though I really do think this would have been better if it were longer. I don’t think there’s going to be another one.

  2. AngelErin

    This sounds interesting, but not for me. Sorry it felt rushed for you. Sometimes I think that books really could benefit from being longer.

  3. Brooke Banks // Layaway Dragon

    Oh, it’s so painful when books are good but need to be longer. I find it particularly annoying since so many are padded to death. But I’d rather have the former than the latter so I’ll still be checking this one out.

    Thanks for your review 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s disappointing because those books have so much potential! But I don’t know, I think I might rather books be too long than too short. Maybe it depends on the book for me lol.

  4. Olivia Roach

    Thought provoking sci-fi is life. Hence why I love Ender’s Game so much. It sounds like this one kinda covers all the bases – writing style, character, plot twists. It just had to be longer. And detail isn’t something you want to lack with the sci-fi genre!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve actually never read Ender’s Game. Maybe I should. That’s a good way of putting it. This one covered all the bases, but it wasn’t long enough to fully develop everything.

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    The book sounded interesting and I looked at the spoiler and liked how the whole autism aspect could have been explored in relation to Elias connecting with synths and then you go and say it got worse as it went along with the story being rushed and you get told stuff rather than shown it. It’s frustrating when good books go bad as this could have been a really cool story if more work went into the second half it could have had a greater impact. It does sound pretty interesting and such an original idea.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve had that happen to me with a lot of books lately for some reason, they start really strong and I get all excited, but then they go downhill a bit. This one did have a neat idea though.

  6. Lola

    This does sound like an interesting read, but that’s too bad it was a bit rushed. Sometimes shorter length stories work great if it fits the stories, but it always makes me sad when I am reading a short story that feels rushed and like it should’ve been a bit longer. And it’s a shame when people change or happen just because the plot needs it and not because it feels believable/ realistic. It still sounds like it was a decent read :).

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel the same way. Sometimes short is okay, but other times it’s disappointing when it feels rushed and like it could have been better if it were longer.

  7. verushka

    I wonder how this book ended up being so short? It sounds like it’s filled with such good potential storylines — like a taste test!