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mikkicrisostomo

The Moment Stealer

vN - Madeline Ashby Impossible to put down. It's been ages since I've picked up an honest-to-goodness sci-fi book with actual robots in it, and this is a sweet and clever return. It's amazingly heartfelt, for a story about artificial human beings, but it never moralizes and makes you feel like you just sat through a Sunday school lesson about humanity. "Show, don't tell" is the rule and this book does it well, especially considering the vast amount of backstory relevant to the setting.

In an age where robotics have advanced into eerie realism, Amy is a robot who crosses the line when she discovers that the failsafe that prevents all robots from even witnessing human beings being harmed is broken in her. After a series of shocking events (I literally gasped at several points), she is forced to go on the run and meets up with Javier, another robot whose failsafe works just fine.

And while some more attention may be given to robotic cannibalism and giant robot leviathans, I really loved the foil that Javier was to Amy. He presented a stark comparison to her increasingly human personality and an important turning point when he overrode his own programming to stay with her. And his sons are hilarious.

Generally I prefer my sci-fi on the screen, because the genre is ripe for sweeping cityscapes and amazing technological cinema magic, but this book looks right into the heart of the question of sentience and what it means to become human. That said, vN would make an awesome movie I would pay to see, because there is plenty of action and futuristic shenanigans in the story that would rock the theaters.

Originally, I groaned to see that this was just the first of a series, but now I'm looking forward to returning to Amy's world and seeing the evolution of her (and Javier's) humanity.