The Murderbot Diaries #1

All Systems Red

Martha Wells

I was recommended it by a few friends to start out a reading habit, mostly due to how short it was. I wish it wasn't as short. I'm someone who reads fast, but struggles to actually finish books -- and I gobbled this one up in about 3-4 reading sessions. The wonders of an engaging narrative!

I was surprised to see it was in first person because of its rep in the book world, but the author worked it extremely well. One thing I cannot get over is how the characters actually speak like real people would; very often I think things like swearing are unnatural and jarring, but not with this book. Murderbot's sense of humor is also very realistic and relatable, and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times despite any dire circumstances.

Overall a very fun read, and I will be adding the other books in this series to my to-read list.

Start: 2024-02-11

End: 2024-02-12

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

The Murderbot Diaries #2

Artificial Condition

Martha Wells

If I praised the dialogue in the prior book, this book gets a 6/5 stars on it.

It was so interesting to see how murderbot thinks when it's alone - or at least, with no humans to protect; for something that dislikes humans so much, it surely is relatable as hell in its own cynical way. I had to stop and go pace and/or stare at a wall quite a few times throughout the book because the resemblances to my own way of thinking were kinda uncanny.

Also, even more points for the casual queer representation (as does the first book). I do like stories where it's the focus of course, but something in me gets even happier when it's casually mentioned.

A fun time, though it does leave room for thought on your own human motivations if you're an overthinker like me HAHA

Start: 2024-02-13

End: 2024-02-15

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

The Murderbot Diaries #3

Rogue Protocol

Martha Wells

With every book, Murderbot continues to get more and more human, it creates the impression that it's settling in to its openly free-willed life as you read along, which is a very interesting experience!

Spoilers for the middle: After a whole book's worth of Murderbot not working for anyone, it felt absolutely wild seeing it back to the SecUnit life. It feels familiar, of course, but strange (in a good way). The contrast between its new crew which hasn't worked with a SecUnit before and the previous crew left me chewing at my screen, they saw Miki as their own!!!! I loved Murderbot's dynamic with Miki as well, I left a couple of 🥺 on the pages.

why it isn't a 5 star:

This book nearly lost a whole star to pacing, but it does pick up. I just didn't know where the story was going for about too much time to not bring it up. Maybe it was the real-life break I took, idk.

Spoilers for the end ahead: I understand we're seeing the story from the POV of a robot, and that robot almost died, but I felt the ending was perhaps a bit... rushed? I don't know, specially with Miki's death (RIP), I expected a little bit more focus on it from Murderbot itself. But then again, it's not like it visibly cared about Miki much. :(

Still, at the end of the day, the author did hurt me and being able to create such emotional attachment to words on a page is noteworthy.

Start: 2024-02-17

End: 2024-03-09

Rating: 4.75/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

The Murderbot Diaries #4

Exit Strategy

Martha Wells

In some very short terms: this was my favorite book of the series so far.

It wraps up loose ends, deepens the connection the characters have with each other (you can see it in the book's page so don't claim spoilers; but last we saw these guys was the first book and they were in a very different environment.), and most of all, made me feel almost... nostalgic? In a sense?

If you enjoy fast-paced sequences peppered with absolute brilliant quips... you're in for a treat. I had almost 100 notes between prose highlights and memorable dialogue.

Murderbot being .5 seconds away from biting Gurathin's head off in rage is my new favorite dynamic, probably. Their rivalry is unparalleled. It had manifested as just general mutual discontent previously but I like the active arguments more.

Start: 2024-03-10

End: 2024-03-13

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

The Murderbot Diaries #4.5

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory

Martha Wells

A short glimpse into someone else's mind. Not much else to say, though it was nice.

*Does show a decent amount of trauma-related response(s), so maybe skip it for now if you're not prepared for that.

Start: 2024-03-13

End: 2024-03-13

Rating: 4/5
2024 • sci-fi • LGBT • short stories

Ice Planet Barbarians #1

Ice Planet Barbarians

Ruby Dixon

TLDR: Is it a masterpiece? No. But in my humble opinion it's just not trying to be one. Half the grade is what you needed to pass a class in my school years (60% now that I'm in uni but that's maybe TMI), and that analogy is the only way I can describe my feelings, and not in a particularly bad way.

In my opinion it's a good romance to read when you want to turn your brain off (though only do it after the setup is done bc jesus christ)... but I am more inclined to science-fiction elements and I like when those show up.

The characters are... nice. Rivalry between women is something I'm tired of seeing in romance books, I'm so so so glad there isn't any of it here. A cute LI too. Unironically a pretty good romance, despite being unhinged.

Start: 2024-03-22

End: 2024-03-24

Rating: 2.5/5
2024 • sci-fi • romance • NSFW • Unhinged

Ice Planet Barbarians #1.5

Ice Planet Honeymoon: Vektal and Georgie

Ruby Dixon

Review TBA.

Start: 2024-03-24

End: 2024-03-25

Rating: 2.5/5
2024 • sci-fi • romance • NSFW • Unhinged

The Murderbot Diaries #6

Fugitive Telemetry

Martha Wells

I'm running out of things to praise this series on at this point. What can I say, I enjoyed the ride!

I love how the author expands on the universe without making it sound dragged, how Murderbot is put into a very different kind of setting and how it reacts to it (this one is much closer to a mystery, which I haven't experienced much of, so it was fun to theorize and try to figure out what Murderbot was talking about when it was vague about its own theories... and then I was wrong. In a good way).

The consistency in its cynical behavior is truly everything to me. It still hates human interaction, but now shows it much more clearly. Maybe it is an asshole, but it's entertaining and refreshing to see someone who doesn't hold their tongue back even with important figures. Get their ass.

Start: 2024-03-14

End: 2024-03-27

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

Ice Planet Barbarians #2

Barbarian Alien

Ruby Dixon

Okay, so. This one is a Whole Thing. The LI is a little pushy at times, but not enough for me to hate this 'enemies to lovers' kinda deal we got going on. I'm just as surprised as you when I say these characters are more nuanced than most enemies to lovers (or bad boy LIs) I've seen in a while: they have their moments I (and them) find them annoying, others where I sympathize with them on a 'I need to put you in a mason jar and keep you safe' kinda way.

The end is a little bit of a rollercoaster, and it surprised me how I was subconsciously invested, which is nice.

Start: 2024-03-28

End: 2024-03-29

Rating: 2.5/5
2024 • sci-fi • romance • NSFW • Unhinged

The Murderbot Diaries #5

Network Effect

Martha Wells

So, that was a lot*. I don't know if this one is my favorite of the series, but it's a damn highlight for sure.

*A lot = I have 160+ notes on it, and I was holding back a little. While I can't say it's fully 'action' packed, it's full of twists and turns, bad news + good news + secret third things. It's a whole roller-coaster. My poor blood pressure...

It's technically a standalone novel, but I can definitely see someone getting lost if they start with this one. Start with the first book, you (probably) won't regret it, and it'll make you more emotionally invested :) (also, my review is biased due to being a fan of these books. no point in hiding it)

Spoilery section ↓

Guess who's back, being a bitch and taking no shit? IT'S ART! While we had seen it in its assholery in Artificial Condition, this book definitely highlights it. I have a feeling that Murderbot would have flown at its neck if it had one; I certainly would and I nearly cried at the prospect of it dying/being deleted. It's a well-meaning character, though through questionable methods. Speaking on Murderbot's relationship with it... it's so fucking awkward and even toxic (imo), but they bite each other's knees off back and forth enough for it to be... balanced? As much as a SecUnit and a giant ship can be, I guess. It's funny enough that I've assigned a whole notation color to them.

Start: 2024-03-27

End: 2024-04-01

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT

The Murderbot Diaries #0.5


Martha Wells

I do feel bad giving it such a review: the writing is good, the pacing is good, but a glimpse short as this... I don't know, really. It's not that I'm apathetic towards the things going on, it just felt like it was cut short in a sense. I feel like I could change my mind about it, though.

Start: 2024-04-02

End: 2024-04-02

Rating: 3.5/5
2024 • sci-fi • short stories

The Murderbot Diaries #7

System Collapse

Martha Wells

⚠ This book contains discussions of trauma in quite the detail. It's about as subtle about it as getting hit in the face with a frying pan, but it's not disrespectful or anything. It's to the point I've assigned a whole notation color for it.

Maybe... maybe it's a good thing it's the latest book in the series released as I read it, because I need to go stare at the ceiling for a day or two. Murderbot continues to be a great example of a mentally ill character (which, same) and it's not even human. Fuck, it's only partly organic. What I'm saying is, it's a relatable character, and it made me think about my own responses, maybe in more detail than what I'd like, but that's not a bad thing.

Trauma responses aside, it's still one HELL of a good story. It's a wrap up of Network Effect's loose ends, and it does so satisfyingly with the usual dose of action scenes, crazy plans, and whatever else it needs to pull it off. Not that I expected anything else.

TLDR: Murderbot is not the system that's collapsing, I am. I can barely wait for where it goes next.

Start: 2024-04-02

End: 2024-04-05

Rating: 5/5
2024 • sci-fi • favs • LGBT


A Study In Drowning

Ava Reid

I usually make an effort to omit spoilers from my reviews, but I can't be paid to care about that right now. I need to be a hater. In short, it's an excruciating story and every single step the MC took made me want to either make her drown in the ocean or drown myself in the nearest sink. My friends have also reviewed this book (here, here and here) and while I haven't read them in preparation for this review to have my own thoughts, we agree on most of the points (we've been discussing it on the gc).

This review is way too long for this page. You can read it by clicking here.

Start: 2024-04-07

End: 2024-05-03

Rating: 1.5/5
2024 • mystery • bad