Friday, November 03, 2023

System Collapse by Martha Wells: review

5/5 stars on Goodreads

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse is the seventh MurderBot diaries book and it continues right after the events of the fifth book, Network Effect (book six, Fugitive Telemetry, was a skip back in time). SecUnit, ART the highly autonomic AI ship (or Asshole Research Transport), and their humans are still orbiting the planet that suffered from alien contamination. This time they’re trying to convince the colonists to evacuate—or at least not to accept the offer made by one of the horrid corporations, Barish-Estranza, as that would lead to slavery for them.

The story starts with SecUnit being in a funk of some sort, but it keeps redacting the explanation, like it often does with memory files it doesn’t want to handle. But the reader soon figures out it’s suffering from some sort of episode that is compromising it and its ability to make decisions, which isn’t good in a highly volatile situation where everyone relies on its ability to react fast. It takes a while before it’s ready to share with the reader what’s wrong with it.

SecUnit needs to pull itself together though, when it accompanies two of ART’s humans and Ratthi to an isolated colony they knew nothing about, hoping they get there before Barish-Estranza. They don’t. It’s time for SecUnit to save the day again, with the most SecUnit way so far.

This was a great book. SecUnit’s struggle to understand what is going on with its systems was real and relatable. The cast was small and things were kept tight, and while there were some action scenes, they didn’t take over. I had some trouble remembering who was who at the beginning, as no handy hints were given to the reader; I especially struggled to remember who Three was. But it didn’t matter for long. The ending was good, as SecUnit finally figured out what it wants to do next and who with. I simply must have more.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

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