I gained interesting insights, ART- drone said. You should stop worrying.
Yeah, I’ll just code a patch to stop feeling anxiety, wow, why didn’t I think of that earlier. (That was sarcasm, I have too much organic neural tissue for that to work.) (Of course I’ve already tried it.)
SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries (Book #7)
LENGTH: 245 pages
GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction
RELEASE DATE: 14 November 2023
Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.
Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back.
Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.
But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!
Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.
I am not meant to function without multiple simultaneous inputs. If this was what being a human was like, it sucked massively.
Sooo… this review is like, extremely late. I had fully intended to post this review sometime early last week, before Thanksgiving, but I just ended up being too busy and stressed out.
But I’m back at the blog, and finally here with my review of System Collapse by Martha Wells. This was probably my most anticipated book of 2023 and it was… fine. Pretty good even. It just turned out a little differently than I expected. Honestly, I’m still on the fence about my rating for this novel – I’m torn between four stars or four and a half.
Let’s just get into it…
• The characters
ART- drone reached out a limb to Iris. My function is impaired, Iris. So is SecUnit’s.
Will you shut the hell up? I said.
You shut up, it replied.
“Let’s everybody shut up and get in the flyer,” Iris said, and shouldered ART- drone’s limb, taking part of its weight.
I’ve always felt that the characters were the strongest part of the Murderbot Diaries, particularly its titular character, and the same is still true here. But this story focused more on an internal conflict that Murderbot is dealing with. So the other characters I love from this series took a backseat in this book.
SecUnit also didn’t seem to be nearly as sassy as it usually is. There weren’t all that many fantastic and funny quotes and dialogue compared to the rest of the series that I noticed. And that’s one of my favorite things about this series – I love how sassy and fun it is. And yeah, I understand that Murderbot was working through something, but everything seemed to matter a lot less than its thoughts on what it was going through. Constantly.
But when other characters did feature, and SecUnit did interact with them, it was fantastic. These were my favorite moments reading and I wish there were more of them. ART actually had more pagetime than I initially gave it credit for, now that I think about it, and its banter with SecUnit is always a treat.
• The plot
“I’ve fucked everything up,” I’d told ART.
ART had said, That’s nothing new.
I didn’t really care about it. It was about saving the descendents of the colonists that were found on the planet in book five. But I never found myself caring about these people, then or now. They just felt like a motivation or a plot device in order for SecUnit and ART and its crew and Preservation to do stuff.
Honestly, the A plot just felt like it was stalling in order for the B plot to happen. Which was Murderbot’s inner conflict – that its organic neural tissue is starting to exhibit signs of PTSD. Which was far more interesting to me than the thing with the colonists.
• Other favorite quotes
I didn’t say anything. (I know I get pissed off when humans don’t acknowledge my work, but why is too much acknowledgment also upsetting? Sentience sucks.)
You’re stalling, ART- drone said. I am not. I can stand here and be useless without any ulterior motives, thanks.
So the next time I get optimistic about something, I want one of you to punch me in the face.
I was not even going to respond to that. ART had told Mensah it wouldn’t push me. Just because its MedSystem was certified for emotional support and trauma recovery it thought it knew everything.
Wow, you don’t think it can get any worse, and it always does.
• Final Thoughts
This review is a little shorter than usual, but I’m honestly struggling with stuff to say about it. I think that’s another reason why this review took so long. I just don’t have too many opinions on it.
But System Collapse is still a solid addition to the Murderbot Diaries. It was still fun and sassy, even if it was less so than usual. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the rest of the series, especially since the ending sets up a new arc for the series.
Thank you so much for reading, and have an awesome day/night!
See ya ~Mar