Author: Martha Wells –
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. –
Genre: Sci-Fi –
Overall rating: 4/5 –
Writing: 4/5 –
Duration: 3:17 (All Systems Red), 3:21 (Artificial Condition), 3:46 (Rogue Protocol), 3:46 (Exit Strategy), 12:48 (Network Effect), 4:24 (Fugitive Telemetry) (short) –
Narrator: Kevin R. Free –
Narrator/performance: 4/5 –
Impressions: 4/5 –
Performance errors: 0/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 1/5 –
Murderbot Diaries is an addictive series about robot combat written by a very able author. It is tricky to pin down why these books are so satisfying to read. There is the usual set-up with a character whose integrity and exceptional abilities are limited by unthinkable circumstances and a cruel society. While the story is told, it continues to capture the readers’ attention. It is like space poetry, using combat missions as anchors, producing jumbles of energetic sentences all around them. It is witty, well-paced and modern. The main character has – of course – the typical traits of a recluse superhero.
Although, save for “Fugitive Telemetry”, the stories are – in my view – not complicated enough to remain in one’s memory for long, the series is a pleasure to read. It is not easy to decide what explains its success. The reason may be, when all is taken into consideration, high attention to detail. The production is smooth and well rounded, like a battered but dearly cherished spaceship. Given the quality of Martha Wells’ other written works, the effect may be explained by the writer’s creative prowess. The books seem effortless and light, yet there are reasons to believe that there is much concerted effort behind them. If so, these books are meant to be the cozy productions they are, ready to be consumed and appreciated.
I enjoyed the covers for the series very much. They are made with a great attention to detail and clearly convey what is to be found in the stories. They are all made in the same style, varying slightly in the color theme but not in ambiance. The illustrations are highly creative, well-balanced all around and skillfully produced. Other art by one of the creators – Jaime Jones – may be visited here (highly recommended).