*I requested a copy of this audiobook from the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
Mech malfunctions are at an all time high. Instead of focusing on the programmers, Commander Cole Marsalis is leading the soldiers who are dealing with the androids that feel they can do better than humans at their jobs or caring for children. Cole notices the little things when tracking and fighting these AIs. They could easily kill, but don't. Could they be holding back? Why? In order to hunt down the leader of the Underground Network helping AIs escape, what will it take to convince a man to go undercover as what he hates. A machine. Cole is shown that door, and given the chance to hunt down the mech that ruined his life.
Joe is back with the first book in the series. He narrated the prequel to the series as well. Joe voices the characters with different emotional feelings. He fits right in to Cole's personality. I could see, with the projection of Cole's 'voice', he walks with a strong presence and belief in him. It got to the point that I didn't realize Joe was narrating the story as I was caught in William's writing and needed to keep up with what was happening. That's a plus!
Androids are growing in free will and choices in them, but still slaves and property to the world. This is a new twist on slavery with mechanicals who are not to have a conscious mind of their own. There are those who are supporters of the AIs on the run, collaborators believing they are helping androids like slaves were freed years ago. But Cole and others don't see the AIs as having a conscious mind and humanity like slaves of the past. They are created to do as told.
Oh the technology that's used in this book. Nice. We did see glimpses of what was hinted at in Silicon Dawn. It's refined and used here, but in a different fashion. And I like it! Cole is about to become what he hates. And hates with good reason. But now he gets a chance to stop who, or what, had broken his heart when his family died.
William keeps the world as a whole in the picture as he tells the story. There are different views on Mechanicals in different areas of the world. Japan has signed a bill granting mechanicals rights like humans, causing escaping AIs to flee out of the country to Japan and other sympathizer areas. This keeps the picture at a full scale instead of narrowing in on only our people and one place. It leaves a feel that there is more to play with in future stories. And with the end of this book, it could end here but there could be more stories built and I'm hoping so.
You know Cole'll come around to feeling sympathetic for the AIs, he has to right? There is a twist to this. He does, but he doesn't. lol. You have to read the story to understand, it's easy to pick out as you go and such a cool ending. As we go through the story we see his reason for being the way he is and history, but also seeing a touch of feeling from an AI in the beginning. There is a balance drawn for us that we got to experience both. I like that William chose to start with us feeling for an android at the beginning then switching to the strong feelings Cole has toward them. It gives us a sympathy for them first. But we also see there is a part in Cole that questions what he's seeing - could there be more there?
I really like how William brings the world alive as Cole and others live in it. There is true interaction with the world and creation to the story and plot. We get a wide view of the way things are with and for the mechs.
I'm hoping for more stories in this world. I will be watching for them!