System Collapse by Martha Wells | Book Review

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.)

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse by Martha Wells

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.

My Review

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.

and finally

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

My Links:

My review of the first six books in The Murderbot Diaries

My review of the Murderbot Diaries short story Home

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton | Book Review

Warlock was an old word. Normal people cast it around without understanding the ancient slur, thinking it meant male witch, when it meant traitor. It was reserved for practitioners gone bad, those who betrayed magic’s first tenet: “do no harm.”

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

SERIES: Adam Binder (Book #1)

LENGTH: 307 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Blackstone Publishing

RELEASE DATE: 13 October 2020


Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.

It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings… including his first love

My Review

The Three of Swords.

The Lovers.


Adam blinked.

“It’s always swords with you, Adam Lee,” Sue said.

This book had me hooked from Chapter 2 or 3. I had the sample of my Kindle (along with Dark Moon, Shallow Sea – same author, new book), and I couldn’t resist reading it.

Then I went and read the rest of it. In like, two hours.

White Trash Warlock has an incredibly addictive narrative, and an easy to follow writing style. The novel is also quite fast-paced. Plus, it’s fantasy. All of this is a recipe for a book I can’t put down, so it’s understandable why I read and absorbed it so quickly.


As I mentioned above, the prose and general writing style is great and easy to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble reading and absorbing information from a super in-depth high fantasy novel, but I do prefer simpler writing styles. Cuz they allow for me to read more/faster.

The nature of the prose also allows for a rather fast-paced adventure, and the plot usually gets to the point within a reasonable amount of time. Slayton doesn’t waste paper on meaningless filler.

Adam felt the color drain from his face.

“I’m kidding,” Argent said. “Of course I’m kidding.”

Adam glared at her. “You’re teasing me.”

“Yes,” she said.

“You’re a sword-wielding being of immense power, an immortal. And you’re teasing me.”

“Yes, I am,” she said. “What use would I have for a mortal soul?”

The characters in White Trash Warlock weren’t my favorite ones ever, but they were still pretty good. Adam Binder was our protagonist, and I liked him well enough. He went through a lot growing up, but he doesn’t let it define him, and he retains a kind heart and is willing to help out his brother’s fiance, despite a history of familial issues.

I actually found said brother, Bobby/Robert, to be a more interesting character. There’s quite an age gap between the brothers (around 10 years), so there’re a lot of communication issues and misunderstandings abound. Bobby also went through a lot growing up – dealing with the brunt of abuse from their father, and having to carry a lot of responsibility after the man disappeared. I’m looking forward to seeing where his character goes in the future.

Everyone else was pretty much a supporting character. They were all pretty interesting with their own quirks and secrets, but they didn’t feel nearly as important as the brothers. Well, except for Argent. She appeared quite often and was the book’s resident badass. I’d like to see more of her character in the future. I really liked her friendly banter with Adam – they seem like they might be solid bros in the future.

I’ve always been intrigued by tarot cards and what they symbolize. I love seeing them used in fiction, and especially when they have bearing on the plot. I think that they can work as an excellent foreshadowing device if utilized properly (like they are here).


I felt that this was by far the weakest aspect of the novel. The love triangle (or technically, love “v”) was annoying just as it always is, and none of the love interests got much development. Annie and Vic were definitely done dirty here.

I also never felt particularly interested in any of the couples. Annie’s presence is basically non-existent, and Adam did all of his protagonist activities without Vic and then explained the plot to him after events (thank god it was off-page). Plus, Vic and Adam were far to insta-lovey for my liking, so it was hard for me to root for them.

The only relationship to really get any interesting pagetime of note was Adam and his ex-boyfriend. They were also the only relationship that I felt had any sort of chemistry, not to mention they spend the most time together out of all the couples. But I still found them to be formulaic and predictable, and it was kind of irritating.

Final Thoughts

Adam thought that maybe, just maybe, they would be all right. In time. When the grief lessened.

White Trash Warlock is a pretty good urban fantasy series, with a fast-paced narrative. The characters are also pretty multifaceted and development, and are compelling enough to follow.

I think that those who enjoy some of the magic and world building of the Dresden Files or Supernatural (or Supernatural fanfiction) might like it. People who like fantasy with LGBTQIA+ will probably enjoy it as well.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links: