Review – The Machine Awakes by Adam Christopher

Posted: June 22, 2015 in Sci-Fi
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The blurb for Adam Christopher’s The Machine Awakes hooked me in. Even though I’d not read his first in the ‘Spider Wars’ saga in which this novel was set, I was intrigued to get to grips with the interstellar war raging between humanity and the machine AI called the Spiders, the secrets and horrors hiding within Jupiter’s atmosphere and the mystery behind the assassinations of Earth’s leaders.

Christopher takes a long time to uncover these plot points but it is a classic tale of intrigue and double blinds. Using an array of characters, we are introduced to Kodiak, a Fleet Bureau investigator who is initially undercover, and Caitlin Smith, a rogue psi-marine cadet who is aiming to murder the Fleet leader. Both, however, are sent on wild goose chases as they try to get to the truth of the matter. It’s here that the story becomes convoluted, pushing the characters down dead ends for seemingly little reason.

But, at the core of the book is a very interesting story and one that does pay out. What starts as a sort of police procedural with Kodiak and his partner tracking down Smith, turns into a ‘whodunit’ when it’s clear that the assassinations were an inside job. The story then unpacks itself to reveal that it’s something else entirely, with a corrupt mega corporation behind all the evil shenanigans.

Personally, I really wanted to find out how the novel tied everything together and I really enjoyed following Kodiak on his journey. I did feel that, for my tastes, there was a little too much fat to the book as certain things were over-explained or retold to the detriment of the story’s pace. Plus, and this is me probably being pedantic, there was a sort of verbal tick in the book that once I noticed I couldn’t overlook (though I won’t say what for fear of influencing your own reading).

Kodiak is a great character and the premise of alien machines vs. humanity is dealt with in a refreshing light. It’s all set up for more as the ending is suitably super-villain-esque. All in all The Machine Awakes is a great slice of sci-fi.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books

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