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It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

-Goodreads

Book Information

  • Title: Artificial Condition
  • Series: The Murderbot Diaries #2
  • Author: Martha Wells
  • Page Count: 158
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 4.0/5.0
  • Date Read: May 27th, 2024

Opening Thoughts

I began my journey through the Murderbot Diaries in 2022 with book one. It just wasn’t clicking with me at all and I ended up DNF’ing it that first attempt. I gave it another go in December of 2023 and finished it out that time around. I had picked these up as they were just really short science fiction reads that I though I would enjoy dropping into a busy TBR off and on. I don’t think I was ready for the “diary” type of theme to the book initially. I had a closer expectation that second time around as well as with book two Artificial Condition which I completed in May.

This read was more of the same in that style of read where a sentient machine is sharing a story of their experiences with us. This read is just the type of book I expected from the series as I knocked this out just over the past weekend.

Pacing

The pacing of Artificial Condition was nicely done. I think I was better prepared with expectations compared to book one. These really do read like a diary and I just don’t think I was ready for that going into the series. This time around that wasn’t a surprise to me and once again as short as these early books in the series are, things go by rather quickly and smoothly in my opinion. I have continued this series with the narration performed by Kevin R. Free, which was nicely done. This might be another factor on my struggles with book one. Kevin’s narration was new to me for that one and was a bit more familiar this time around.

World Building

The world building was nicely done for book two. Since this is a rather shorter read in the novella page count, I don’t really expect to see an epic world unfolding in this book alone. I think this series would have to be looked at overall in that department. With that being said, though there was still a good mix of locations to enjoy in this story. I think the factions for the characters is more the focal point in Artificial Condition.

Character Development

The character development was the strongest aspect of this story in my opinion. It’s been interesting to see our main protagonist come into their own from book one to book two. But we had some solid supporting characters in the second book as well. Of those additional characters this was in form both of humans as well as another AI which was rather funny to see ART interact with Murderbot. There is also another bot in this one which was another interesting relationship to see progress. One of my favorite things about stories lately that have human and AI interacting is seeing the comparisons between the two and seeing the fact there can be good and bad on either side of that story.

Roundup & Recommendation

In closing, I would certainly recommend this series to anyone looking for a quick and easy Science Fiction read. Obviously, if you enjoyed book one, keep moving forward onto book two as well. I’m personally interested to see how this series progresses because I do know the length of the reads to get beefer later on. I’m looking forward to seeing how that transition is handled.

Scoring

World Building 4/5
Pacing 3.5/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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