Machinations follows Rhonda, recently returned from the dead (she's a clone of her previous self) because her job, as a hallmark of the rebellion against the machines isn't over.
In this robot-apocalypse, where the bots have decided to fight 'the war to end all wars' by exterminating people, what drew me most was the struggles Rhonda had with coming to terms with one) dying and second) coming back.
It made a nice and interesting read and I certainly plan to read the sequel as well.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
1.5 stars. Not quite an OK story for me. There were several deal-breakers here, including the "bland" narrator, the romance part, and the 1st person POV present tense narration, not to mention the science & technology parts that weren't detailed enough.
First, present tense: I find it very difficult to make this type of narrative voice work, and often it just doesn't at all. I can't exactly pinpoint how exactly, but I know it made me cringe often enough that I stopped counting. It doesn't bother me so much in short stories, although I suspect that's because they're short and I don't have to trudge through that tense for a whole novel.
Second, Rhona herself. I couldn't bring myself to care. Sure, we have that first chapter scene, and it seems intense, and... that's all? After that, she wakes up as the "new" Rhona, yet it's difficult to compare her to the one she has supposedly replaced. Perhaps because the novel doesn't show us enough of the "original Rhona". Perhaps because the new one is too self-centered and not active enough to stand by herself, watching from the sidelines half the time. Of course there wouldn't be any point if she immediately found herself again, was the exact same person. I just wish she had been more than a woman who mostly behaved like a somewhat shy teenager—and this brings me to...
...The romance: too much of it, and, as in too many novels, the only real form of validation. The whole quest-for-humanity part, Rhona having to find out whether she IS Rhona or merely a carbon-copy without humanity nor soul, is definitely an interesting theme... but why do such things -always- have to be presented in the light of romance? As if only True Love (whatever that means) could validate one's existence. Who cares that Sam, her best friend, is with her all story long and doesn't give a fig about whether she's Rhona or not (for him, she's his friend, period)? The really important part is to find out when The One True Love finally acknowledges her. And I feel all these stories completely miss the point: that there is so much more to a person than their so-called significant other, that they're the sum of so many more factors than just that one restrictive form of love. Meanwhile...
... the machines, the science, the technology: too few and too little of those, considering the blurb that made me request the book at first. This story would've benefitted from more explanations when it came to the cloning part, considering how it permeated the whole narrative. Rhona is a physical clone, but her memories (or part of them) were also transplanted. How? A chip to map neural pathways and transfer data is briefly mentioned, yet much more was needed here to satisfy the vague scientist in me (I don't think I'm asking for too much here). As for the machines, they weren't present enough in order for the human survivors to be truly pitched against them, as well as for Rhona to be fully confronted to her new "nature" that, in a way, made her a biological machine. They felt more like the threat in the background, over-simplified, although they could've been made more "alive" (no pun intended here: I really think there was potential here for a chiasmus between human-Rhona-turned-thing and things/machines-turned-sentient).
This novel should've grabbed my interest, for sure, but it turned out it wasn't for me. Alas.
At 9% I was excited by the action
At 19% I was bored with the characters and felt no connection
At 39% The characters cemented their place into the cookie cutter hall of fame
At 83% I was looking forward to the ending, I just wanted to be done with it.
At 100% I knew I had just read The Terminator meets The Mockingjay.
I really have nothing good to say about it. Okay the first 10% had me intrigued. Rhonda was a poorly written character, unbelievable, a cliche'. The story was unoriginal, with ridiculous lines and plot. Mix the Terminator and the MockingJay and you have this book.
The Main Character was a stupid girl who spent too much time pinning over her lost love. She thought about him, all the time, she was the stereotypical obsessed teenager you see in cheesy movies. What makes it more ridiculous ,she couldn't even remember him so why was she so obsessed ? That whole romantic story line was so crazy, nothing made sense.
This girl Rhona, was not trusted, not believed in. Hated, feared and cloned by the human group she used to be a member of, in her old body. They have good reason not to trust her, and yet. Suddenly she becomes the face of the resistance ? That was insanely ridiculous, she became this voice for the resistance, the one who would broadcast her words of "Go Get Them", her face. The dumb stumbling hormone obsessed teen girl ?
The evil machines ? What did they look like ? How did they function, power up ? There was never a clear picture. I added the terminator movie types into the story. They acted like the terminator so why not ?
The ending, wrapped up for quickly and predictably.
I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review