I had a lot of issues with this book. Like a lot. The flow was nice, there were even some comedic moments. Even the idea of the Masterless was fun. Hilarious even. But there were so many things going on that made this a frustrating read and a difficult review.
Firstly Audra, best thing up in this book. Every time she as an AI pointed out the flaws in Tiago’s decisions it was good fun and annoying. Mostly because some of those things were so obvious it begs the question how was Tiago skilled enough to steal a ship in the first place.
The masterless. There’s no denying that the whole insect thing is just stupid-interesting. It’s a nice and obvious way to translate just how dangerous a flaw in design can be. But it was a good way to tie up the end of the book and only half unexpected. The AI’s destroying humans plotline is so overused that at least this gave it a different twist. That and the head masterless was just hilarious. She’d be all I don’t want to talk right now and be gone then Tiago would just call her back. Just fun fun fun.
Tiago is where things fall away a bit. There are a lot of protocols that stop the Sims from accessing certain things in the ship. The fact that he is baffled by this is odd. It’s stupid obvious it’s to prevent something like the AI’s taking over the ship yet he persists in trying to undo all the protocols, and then, because of his modifications a foreign entity is able to do just that, take over. Even after all of this he doesn’t seem to grasp that having SIM’s with physical bodies that register as human to the ship might not be the best idea. My biggest issue with him though was he stole a ship, and ran away from humans and the whole crux of this story is about him finding other life forms because he is lonely? Sigh. If he cared that much why didn’t he bring an accomplice with him?
The ship. Yes, yes and yes. Every time the ship refuses to do something and forces Tiago to reword a sentence was just pure fun. I mean bucket loads of it. Tiago not being smart enough to understand this as I said was a mild annoyance when compared to his reactions. Even though the reason for the protocols is obvious it was definitely interesting to read his emotions especially when they were coupled with his dislike of government propaganda. The best bit of this was when an activated SIM says he can’t be the captain and therefore is a government enemy who will be arrested on site because Tiago didn’t know his last name. Biggest laugh of the book.
It would’ve been nice to know why he stole the ship but it’s not that deep. I mean the ship in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was stolen literally just to get to Magrathea by someone who is already president of the galaxy so a real reason in the context of this story isn’t that important. On another note, the talk of choking out SIMs was hard to decipher cause they don’t need air to breathe so how are we going to choke them out.
The ending was a big let-down though. All those pages read and, although the Masterless were a good read, it was just over. Literally with one sentence. All that hype for one sentence, and, if that was all it took, it’s extremely hard for me to believe not a single other human thought this. Tiago is smart but, as the masterless said, he isn’t the smartest so what gives.
Even with all these flaws, the pacing was good. The funny parts were on. My annoyance with Tiago being bewildered by the ships protocol might go right over other peoples’ heads and creating SIM’s that go from holograms to full-blown passible humans is definitely the stuff sci-fi dreams are made of. Even being able to see the end coming didn’t take away from the story too much. In all fairness other than the ending, it was only Tiago’s inability to see why the protocols were in place that bugged me. There was enough of it for me to take notice but not enough to take away from the fact that within this genre all of these things are the equivalent of irrational decisions in romance novels. It’s what the readers expect regardless of how illogical it may seem.
It gets five stars, flawed and all because regardless of how I see it it has all the markings of fitting within the parameters of what readers will expect from this genre. Even with the way too easy ending, I’d still recommend this to lovers of sci-fi. And the best selling point is this is the first in the series and it actually concludes in a way that ties up this entire novel while also signifying there might be more, and that part of the ending is extremely satisfying.