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Network Effect, by Martha Wells

15 reviews

inferiorwit's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny mysterious reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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kathleenmc's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

I was excited to read a full-length Murderbot novel and was not disappointed. Bit by bit throughout the series, we've seen Murderbot's new experiences and relationships chip away at the trauma it held from having lived under the control of the company for so long. It's connection to Dr. Mensah has most significantly shaped Murderbot so far, but in this installment, I was delighted to see
Spoiler ART
return and take center stage. Seeing them fall to pieces or be willing to rip worlds apart to save the other, demonstrates the deep devotion of their relationships even though they struggle to express it with words. 

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deedireads's review

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adventurous funny mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/.

TL;DR REVIEW:

Network Effect was my favorite Murderbot story so far. I think the full-novel length gives it space to appeal to those who don’t always gravitate toward hard sci-fi.

For you if: You are a Murderbot fan!

FULL REVIEW:

Network Effect is the fifth story in the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, but the first full-length novel. It’s nominated for this year’s Hugo Award, which is what put the series on my radar in the first place.

As the dust jacket says: “Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.” Murderbot is a SecUnit, short for security unit (so like, a badass fighter sentient robot) who hacked the part of its code that forces it to obey commands. That gives it the freedom to start really developing into a person of its own in all the ways that count (and watch as many soap operas as it can). Most of the characters in Network Effect are from the novellas, so you’ll definitely want to read those before you read this one. But if you liked the novellas (no spoilers, but especially the second one), you’ll like this one!

In fact, I liked the first four novellas, but I’m happy to say that this was my favorite Murderbot story so far. As someone who doesn’t read much hard sci-fi, the focus on how all the tech works was sometimes too heavy for me in the novellas. But this full-novel length gives Network Effect more space for narrative elements I do tend to like — development of secondary characters, a layered mystery, subplots. I hope she’ll write more Murderbot novels in the future!

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hanz's review

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adventurous emotional funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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booksthatburn's review

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adventurous funny tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

NETWORK EFFECT finds Murderbot summoned to help various associates and not-friends who are in danger and in need of help, with lots of Targets to shoot and interfaces to hack.

As the first full novel in the series, Network Effect handles the transition from novella to novel beautifully. It expands the scope and feel of the characters while still keeping things connected to the earlier books. My favorite thing was the addition of new point of view characters, it was strange but cool to get perspectives other than Murderbot, especially since they have some very specific similarities while obviously being distinct characters. Murderbot itself was delightful as always, it’s really grown throughout the series in terms of relating to other entities and figuring out what it wants, slowly becoming proactive rather than reacting against what it was ordered to do before. As usual for Murderbot there’s danger, rescues and heist things, which were all great. It really feels like a longer version of a Murderbot book, which is perfect.

This doesn’t specifically wrap up anything from the previous books, but it does continue developing the definitely-not-friendship between Murderbot and Dr. Mensah, which is noteworthy given how little time they spent together this time around. The main storyline starts here and wasn’t present previously, it’s definitely its own story, with the main plot being pretty self contained. It’s not the last book, and at the end it clearly leaves something for later books to pick up as Murderbot starts to picture a life for itself and gets an unusual offer. I mentioned before that there are some additional narrators, because of plot reasons they have a lot of similarities to Murderbot, but they are differentiated in some cool ways. This would make sense if someone started here and didn’t know about the rest of the series. The first four novellas were a set telling a complete story, while this volume is pretty self contained. Everything you would need to know in order to understand what’s going on gets explained, partly because Murderbot has to provide some explanations since the other characters mostly were not around in the other books. That means that Network Effect technically could be read by itself, but if the plot description intrigues you you should definitely start with the first novella.

This is a great entry in a fun-to-read series about sentience, personhood, and self discovery in space and on various planets.

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mariebreta's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional funny tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

The 5th volume in the Murderbot Diaries delivers like the previous episodes. This one is actually much bigger, at 400 pages, but Martha Wells manages to keep the rhythm of her novellas and provides climaxes at regular intervals to keep interest high. Our favourite cyborg faces bigger and bigger challenges, some of them being of the emotional kind. I was sometimes lost amidst the details of the plot, but the overall progression of the story was always clear. There were some great ideas in this volume, plot twists which were both unexpected and completely in keeping with the atmosphere of this series.

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reviewsandreadathons's review

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adventurous funny hopeful mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Murderbot is so relatable and hilarious. The action sequences were great, as were the relationships and dialogue. I just love everything about this series. 

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booksandbodylib's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional funny mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

ART + MURDERBOT 4EVAAAAA!!!!!!! I think this was my favorite of the series so far. This is the first full-length Murderbot novel, and it did not disappoint. We really got to see Murderbot develop as a character and build relationships in this installment, as well as take on a new mentorship-type role. All hail the church of Murderbot. 

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librarianmage's review

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adventurous emotional reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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thewildmageslibrary's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional funny tense fast-paced

5.0

Hello, full-length novel featuring Murderbot and friends (clients)! This had a very murder-mystery feel going on, but in space and with tons of snark because of course. I got so happy when certain characters came back! This series is by far one of the most entertaining things I've read recently. 

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