Audiobook Review: Network Effect by Martha Wells

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You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.
Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.
When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.
Drastic action it is, then.

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I only discovered the Murderbot diaries a few weeks ago, but since then I’ve eagerly waited for this full length novel to release because what’s better than a longer book with Murderbot. I started listening to the audiobook as soon as it dropped on my tablet and it’s been such a wonderful experience.

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After having gotten to know this world and characters in four novellas, I didn’t think we could get to know them even better but how wrong I was. The author takes the extra number of pages here as an opportunity to give us more knowledge about the working of colonists, corporations and their hostile takeovers, alien remnant contamination, and the various legal and political intrigue across different systems. I also found the author’s AMA very revelatory in which she mentioned that through the series, she wanted to talk about the exploitative nature of corporations, and how they get to decide who are treated as humans and given rights, and who are not. I think this theme came across much more clearly in this novel and I loved it.

I absolutely adore the conversational writing style of these books and I think it was more pronounced here, especially in the audiobook. The narrator also does a marvelous job giving unique voices to everyone, and also letting us feel that unique sarcastic tone of Murderbot which is so symbolic to this series. There is also plenty of action, suspense and thrill throughout this story, which kept me engaged and entertained and I never wanted to stop listening.

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And now coming to the best part of this series, the eponymous Murderbot. Irrespective of what was happening in the plot, I thought this was a great character study and we got to know so much more about how Murderbot feels about its various humans, it’s developing relationship with each individual and how much it wants to deny that ART is its friend. I was absolutely delighted to see how much it worried about Dr. Mensah’s mental health, it’s overprotective nature towards Amena and how  absolutely mad it got when it realized that ART was in trouble. Murderbot has changed so much through the series and sometimes, it’s hard to fathom that it’s not just a socially anxious human.

ART is snark personified and it brings so much more entertainment and energy to the proceedings. And however much they both try to behave antagonistically towards each other, it’s undeniable that they share a special bond and will do anything to save the other from harm. Their conversations and some of their reactions were so endearing and funny, that I couldn’t help but laugh and delight at them. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget ART’s “Operation Rain Destruction” plan and how overwhelmed Murderbot was when it got to know about it. All the other human side characters and a very surprise addition to the crew are absolutely wonderful and I can’t even say whom I like more. They are all a symbol of compassion and kindness, and the perfect companions/teammates for Murderbot.

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To conclude, this was so charming and fun and brought me so much joy during these bleak times. If you have never read this series, but love sci-fi and want some positive entertainment, and would love to get acquainted with a socially awkward AI construct who enjoys binging very unrealistic tv shows but has to save pesky humans instead – then go ahead and pick this series up immediately because I promise, you are missing out. My only hope is that we get many more books in this series in the future and ART always makes an appearance.

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6 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Network Effect by Martha Wells

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  1. Oh wow Sahi! Great review as always!! Omg how different does this book sound?! How do you even find this stuff love ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ Ooof you sound like you really enjoyed it too! I can’t keep telling you how glad I am for your diverse reading tastes. I wish I had that too! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ahana.. seeing your message right in the morning brightens up my day 🤩🤩🤩
      This series is actually quite popular darling, atleast among more sci-fi lovers. I had heard nothing negative about it and only gushing, so I thought I’ll read and the whole series turned out to be so much fun 😍😍😍

      Like

  2. Great review! I’m currently reading Exit Strategy and can’t wait to get to the novel – and I agree, I love the conversational style and Murderbot’s narration, I had almost forgotten how much (it’s been a while since I read Rogue Protocol). The Murderbot Diaries are really straightforward stories but the narration makes them shine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and I’m hoping you are having fun too. The narration really makes it better and I think the audiobook enhances the feeling too. Hope you’ll love the novel too 😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

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