Book Review – Murderbot Diaries
If you’re looking for a great escape, I highly recommend the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.
I stumbled onto this series by accident – it was one of those recommendations provided by the Amazon algorithm, but it just goes to show that computers really do know you better than you know yourself, because I’ve totally loved this series. I recommended it to all my family, and they’ve binge-read it too.
What’s the story about?
Don’t be put off by the ‘Murderbot’ in the title. The story is told as a semi-diary form in relentless first person. The protagonist is a totally paranoid android, named Murderbot (well, that’s its private name. In public it’s called ‘SecUnit’). Murderbot aka SecUnit is a robot construct, built of cloned organic tissue and electronics. Built as a security bot, it is leased by an evil company to explorers, miners and other participants in frontier missions. But SecUnit has a secret – it’s hacked its governer module. Which means the company can no longer tell it what to do. More importantly , it allows him to download as much media as he wants.
The story is set in the far future, in a civilisation dominated by the Corporation Rim, where might means right, and non-corporates which, as SecUnit says, can be great places or total shit-shows, you never know.
What is free will?
The Murderbot Diaries are fast-paced, as SecUnit faces various trials and deals with them using a mixture of old-fashioned violence and ultra-fast hacking. It’s funny, too, as SecUnit learns to talk to people without its protective armour, and argues (and sometimes befriends) other, also self-aware bots. But the best part of the Murderbot Diaries is the dry, self-aware voice of SecUnit, as it learns what free will means, what it is to have a friend, and slowly discovers what it really wants from life.
What is intelligence?
This series is a must-read for fans of intelligent, funny action-packed narratives. I especially recommend it for teen boys (which can be a hard group to find books for! 🙂 ).
I binge-read all seven books in the series, and then read them all again, because I loved them so much. Each book is a stand-alone, but as they take place consecutively, so it’s helpful to read them in order.
The first books are relatively short (and inexpensive), but as the series progress the books become longer, which is great because every story in the Murderbot Diaries is brilliant, so the longer the better, I think. I really, really hope it gets made into a TV series!!
You can find Murderbot Diaries online or (if you’re lucky) at a bookstore near you.
(note: the links in this blog post are Amazon affiliate links so I may gain a small commission if you click on these links and make a purchase)
PS, If you’re looking for books for teen boys, you might also like this blog post – Great Books for Brainy Boys