My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Review: Host: Systemic - Book 2

Host: Systemic - Book 2 Host: Systemic - Book 2 by Chris Lodwig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: ****
Performance: ****

A Solid Second Act to Systemic

This book is the sequel to Systemic, previously reviewed here; which, although Host can stand alone, you will get more out of it is you read Systemic first.

It picks up the story some 300 years after Systemic, when the Global AI that controlled humanity went silent … known within the story as the Great Calming. The process by which the AI had been governed in how it “guided” and protected humanity was preserved in enduring printouts documenting how decisions should be approached … and the “System” has been preserved by academics dedicated to that purpose and teaching it to the folks in the outlying villages (aka nodes). As time passes, the new wetware system has degraded, but questions (heretics) about the process as not tolerated (Bridgers). Strangely, for a world that seems to have its initial foundation in tech, it appears to be stuck in an almost Luddite stasis, unable to advance or otherwise change despite its evident on going decline. 

Into this world, we get our main PoV, a young neurodivergent and naive girl (Reyan) who questions everything. This allows a slow reveal/world-building as Reyan struggles to make sense of her world and what her place in it should be … and it helps that she is presented in such a way that it is very hard not to like her. Did I mention this was a slow start? Despite my own fascination with the apparent convergence of IT lingo/slang and structure (I am an IT profession, so that was an easy sale), it is still very slow going at first and relatively easy to put down and come back later until we get past the halfway mark. At that point the action picks up and pulls you through he rest of the story until the end (which I did NOT see coming).

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Host #Systemc #FreeAudiobookCodes #KindleUnlimited

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.