My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a short novella introducing the character of Murderbot, a free agent security android on its final contract with a surveying team on an uninhabited world, as it tries to avoid interacting with the clients (the humans) as much as possible and chill out watching serials and reading books. An introvert’s dream!
Unfortunately for Murderbot, the world is not as uninhabited as the team were told and Mb takes some serious damage rescuing two of its client scientists from the maw of a very large, very chompy hostile entity. Investigating how The Company could’ve neglected to warn the team about the local fauna highlights some discrepancies they have to work together to figure out and escape the planet alive. Much to Murderbot’s annoyance as those serials won’t watch themselves!
The story is told first person by Murderbot and this adds to the appeal of this story as Wells successfully gets us to empathise with and root for a rogue AI who has dubbed itself MURDERBOT (not the most sympathetic of names, is it?) but who really just wants to be left alone. The action is fast-paced but not rushed; the world building is just right for such a short book and the ‘touchy-feely’ parts that Mb hates so much make you think. A good all-round balance and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Kevin R. Free, which was 3h 40m long, and while Free’s narration style sounds an awful lot like Wil Wheaton it definitely fits well with Murderbot’s sarcastic and misanthropic demeanour.
This was book 40 of my Goodreads Challenge 2020.