Review: Robogenesis by Daniel H Wilson

Robogenesis
Daniel H Wilson

Doubleday
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released June 10, 2014
384 pages
Sci-Fi / Post Apocalypse / ROBOTS!

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The stunningly creative, epic sequel to Wilson's blockbuster thriller and New York Times bestseller Robopocalypse

"The machine is still out there. Still alive."

Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the earth was left in tatters . . . but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed.

In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping. In a series of riveting narratives, Robogenesis explores the fates of characters new and old, robotic and human, as they fight to build a new world in the wake of a devastating war. Readers will bear witness as survivors find one another, form into groups, and react to a drastically different (and deadly) technological landscape. All the while, the remnants of Archos's shattered intelligence are seeping deeper into new breeds of machines, mounting a war that will not allow for humans to win again.

Daniel H. Wilson makes a triumphant return to the apocalyptic world he created, for an action-filled, raucous, very smart thrill ride about humanity and technology pushed to the tipping point.

I had absolutely no idea there was going to be a sequel to Robopocalypse. I found it completely by accident, scrolling through Edelweiss on my phone when I needed to waste a few minutes. When I saw it, well…

After staring at the cover for several minutes, waiting for my brain to reboot, I immediately requested it from Doubleday and I’d like to say I made a nice, polite request to receive access to Robogenesis, but that would be untrue. Instead I think I ended up writing something that was somewhere between begging and total incoherency. If I could have put the written equivalent of puppy dog eyes in an email, that would have been my request.

Okay, those are turtle eyes, but you get the point. Despite my extreme excitement, once Doubleday took pity on me and gave me access to an e-ARC, it took me months to finally open it. I was afraid. Robopocalypse was everything I could want in a nightmare-fuel evil robot book and I didn’t know if Wilson could match up with a sequel.

Daniel H Wilson is the king of my nightmares and that is not a title he intends to relinquish easily. I finally gave in and started Robogenesis.

Once I finally dived in, he had me yet again in his creepy clutches and I had a difficult time tearing myself away from the book to do silly things like sleep and go to work. Didn’t the rest of my life understand there were ROBOTS FIGHTING?

So my actual review?

While it didn’t have the novelty of the first one and the parameters of the robots in Wilson’s world were formed, Robogenesis was everything I could have hoped for in a sequel. It took me a little bit to remember all the players and how things ended up at the end of last book, but once things started coming back to me, I was hooked. It picks up just days after the end of the war when a false sense of hope that humanity can start living again starts sneaking in and carries through the next 11 months as everything starts falling apart yet again.

Once again the book is formed through the point of view of several characters after the events of the Robopocalypse have finished. The narrator, who provides small paragraphs of context at the beginning of each chapter, has found another historical recording of the events in key players’ lives and is transcribing the memories from neuron patterns accessed through remaining technology. This narrator splits the stories into three parallel set of events, claiming he’s trying to understand how everything happened in the “True War” that makes up the plot of this new volume.

There’s new tech, new types of robots, new super creepy things that crept into my dreams. A new threat starts creeping in around the edges of humanity, a new computer that claims to be a smarter and cleverer predecessor of Archos-14, the computer program that caused the original war. From the first page, an ominous atmosphere is set in place and Wilson uses his knowledge to flesh out the technology that makes up this world. While some of the newer pieces of tech start veering into the realm of fantasy rather than being real world based, that didn’t stop the world from jumping off the page.

The plot is not nonstop action with slow moments allowing for the world to be added onto while trying to match three different plotlines along the same timeline. Most of the heroes – or at least the ones who are still alive – from the original Rob war reemerge and begin piecing together that danger hasn’t disappeared completely. There is a lot of walking in this book, but there is enough new elements thrown in to make each of the long journeys more interesting. And of course, there are a couple of truly horrifying moments that will stick with me for a long time.

Unlike Robopocalypse, Robogenesis is wide open for a sequel, more or less setting up a giant confrontation between multiple big bads with the good guys finally teaming up to try saving what little remains of the human race. I look forward to seeing what other things Wilson has in his head that he will implant into my nightmares. I won’t doubt him again. I mean, he is a doctor.

I received an e-ARC from the publisher in return for an honest review. All squee is my own. Gifs belong to those who created them, but they've been spread across the interwebs and I couldn't track their owners.