My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an interesting story set nearly 100 years in the future. The world building was pretty good, extending a lot of currently trends to something of an exaggerated evolution. For example, we now have swarms of micro camera drones everywhere that follow people like pig pen’s dust cloud, completely eliminating any expectation of privacy (unless you use more tech to sweep and secure your space). This makes nearly everything you do a public performance … so it is important to always look you best, because the ever present “tip jar” (which seems a lot like a cryptocurrency wallet) doesn’t fill itself. The more extreme the stunt or performance, the better. Sort of like the “Truman Show” but for everybody. News is “curated” by verified experts in something like a reputation economic … combined with a more prevalent “gig” economy for the rest of us. Clothing can dynamically change and Blox (smart metal) can warp into different objects as needed. Bio-Hacks are pretty much routine; although genetic [expression] based pills have replaced the more physical/cyborg modification … in fact, you can cook up most of the pills you need in your kitchen. Then you have rocket clubs, that apparently can launch stuff up into orbit just for fun … or to supply the orbital colonies. Finally, you get to the tech that in the foundation of the story … we all have access have Weak Artificial Intelligence (WAI), with the Holy Grail being a Sentient Artificial Intelligence (SAI). Enter the Machinehood; the AI/Robotic servants that do most of the work now, leaving may people struggling to compete. After the initial assassination, the story settles into a Blade Runner type story while the protagonist tries to figure out who the machined is and how to stop them from shutting down the pill pushers … which apparently leaves humans vulnerable to malicious virus hacks (yes, real viruses). While I won’t want to actually live in it, I found it a lot of fun trying to figure out how the heck we could get there (and for the most part the logic was easy to follow).
The protagonists were all very relatable for me, but nothing really special. They start off pretty jaded and never really change or grow much. The personal drama can be a little off sometimes (and does trend into political issues a bit), but for the most part, I though the drama was limited and didn’t impact the story that much. Over all, I would give the characters a 3.5 and the world building a 4.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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