HEY GUYS! You may, right now, be asking, “Mhairi, why did you start the review with capslock?” That is honestly a great question. You and I both know that my tumblr days are over (mostly). So, what could make me turn back to my all capslock days. Hem, hem.
AUTONOMOUS IS BRILLIANT. This is up there with my favorite arcs that I have ever read.
Autonomous ingredient list:
- A drug pirate. She’s named Jack.
- A human robot-slave named Threezed.
- International robot cartels.
- AI with souls.
The main character, Jack, is a brighter than a supernova. Just out of college, she realizes the job market is saturated and decides to become a drug pirate. In other words, she is relateable and also a badass.
Drugs in the 22nd century have become able to enhance performance, essentially making people happy to do their work. Only the rich are able to afford it, meaning they are the only ones able to get jobs. After injecting a large volume of Zaxy’s newest drug into the lower-class market, Jack realizes it has been carefully engineered to be addictive. She may have just addicted the entire world to working and upset Zacuity’s illegal drug tampering. Now she has to fix it.
Meanwhile, Eliasz and his robot friend Paladin have been sent to find and kill her. She is a drug pirate, after all. Their mission confronts them with the nature of love in the age of robots, and what it means to truly be Autonomous.
Jack wants to bring the work-productivity and life-extension drugs to the public. Paladin just wants to understand his programming. The overlapping narratives of hunter and pirate wind closer and closer through the African Union, Canada, and the Free Trade Zone. Eventually, Eliasz and Jack will find each other. Will the global drug-patenting firms that keep healthcare from the poor prevail? Will Eliasz and Paladin find out if robot’s can have souls? Will the morally ambiguous questions of love, gender, and programming find an answer?
The answer is: read it.
This book is aggressively eloquent. It forces up the walls of this new world by sheer literary force. Unlike some sci-fi, it doesn’t use inaccessible techno jargon that takes a seven book series to understand. It bridges science fiction and young adult with an addictive plot of drug piracy, espionage, and robot crushes which can attract even the most set-in-stone YA fan.
The characters are honestly more complex than I’ve seen in most literary fiction. Jack is the kind of androgynous, technie heroine that I have been missing all my life. Paladin is the sweetest robot ever, who really just wants, more than anything, to know that he’s alive.
This book is seriously amazing. Newitz is seriously amazing. And I’m just proud I only used capslock twice in this review.
And Happy Reading!