I’m really undecided about vN. I picked it up (along with sequel iD) during a sale at Angry Robot Books as I’d heard good things about it but…
But though it’s well-written in terms of being scientifically sound and thought-provoking, I found that the actual prose leaves a little to be desired. It has a prologue that doesn’t really add anything to the overall plot, long sections of description that I skipped over out of boredom, a vague romance and a main character who I struggled to care about.
Perhaps the latter is down to Amy being kept as a child for so long. She comes across as very childish for much of the book, only really showing any signs of strength when fighting for control of her body. I also wanted something more satisfying to come of the romance.
So while there is great potential in the premise, sadly the lack of its conveyance means that the story falls flat, and that’s truly a shame. I wanted to love the story, but I just couldn’t.
This book was purchased by the reviewer at their own cost.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Primary Book Format: Paperback (the reviewer’s copy was an e-book)
Publisher/Imprint: Angry Robot
Blush Quotient: 0
Smart Girls Rating: 3
Blurb: Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.
For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.
Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.
2 thoughts on “Review: vN by Madeline Ashby”
I read this book also. I thought the world of the von Nuemann machines and the science was fascinating. I did have some reservations. The romance, well, it was not exactly a feel good book so I don’t think I would really have bought the romance even if it were stronger. Plus, so much of the use of the androids was sexual exploitation & not much else so I was left wondering is that the only future? Sex robots?
I don’t know. There was just something that left me unsettled.
I find the cover pretty disturbing. Doesn’t sound like this would be a book for me. I am militant about needing a happy, feel good ending.
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