*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Edition Machinations – Book 1 of Machinations series by Hayley Stone

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The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race. A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a machinationsrescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself. Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

I loved the opening and thought the passage where she died was very strong. Stone has a memorable, effective writing style and especially in the earlier scenes, I felt her characterisation of Rhona was effectively layered – the dilemma of a clone with an impaired memory was movingly depicted. There was a strong supporting cast – Samuel and Camus both bounced off the page, although I did slightly wince at the love triangle aspect. Not only has it been done to death, it really jarred in the context of the story arc, I felt.

Given this was an apocalyptic scenario, the world had to be convincing and Stone’s description of a shattered landscape where people are holed up, eking out a minimal existence worked well. What was less successful was the depiction of the machines. While it is mentioned there are a variety of them, there only seemed to be one sort and they appeared to be very easy to disable. I also found it difficult to visualise what they looked like, apart from the red eyes and the whirring noise they made. While I didn’t expect huge swathes of information about the rise of the machines and the original premise made entire sense, there wasn’t a particularly strong sense of how they went about attacking or what the higher echelons consisted of, which I found slightly frustrating.

The other problem I had with the story in the latter stages was that Rhona became the poster girl for the human uprising on the strength of one inspirational speech. She didn’t quite tip into being a Mary Sue – the protagonist who can do it all perfectly – but it came uncomfortably close, which was a shame, given the nuanced, clever characterisation at the beginning of the book when she was coming to terms with being a clone.

However, both these issues were more irritations than dealbreaking flaws, and they don’t take away from the fact that this is an interesting beginning to the series, with a strong protagonist. I look forward to seeing what Stone does with this world in future books.
8/10

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8 responses »

    • I’ve just nipped across to your blog and read your review. We more or less came to the same conclusion, didn’t we? And I’m blown away by your recent book haul. Wow! What an amazing trove of authors you have there…

  1. I have mixed feelings about trying out this one. Your Tuesday bit and blurb got me interested, but things you mention in your review might be a dealbreaker for me. Or it might be the size of my TBR that makes me dubious about anything that doesn’t make me scream “I WANT TO READ IT!” :).

    • Yes… I enjoyed it and the start is very strong indeed. But if the worldbuilding is important to you, then I think it could be a dealbreaker. Given the robots are what have brought down civilisation, they are somewhat fuzzy.

      • I’m not crazy about wordbuilding (I don’t need the world’s whole history and workings relayed in the novel), but I like when it’s solid and believable. Fuzzy robots that are crucial to the story might indeed not be enough for me. Especially not when I’m not desperate for another book to be added to my TBR list. 🙂

  2. Sounds like one I’d enjoy! I can handle a few snags in the first book in a series. Adding this one to my wish list.

  3. I can finally read your review now that I’ve written mine! Lol.

    I swear I almost mentioned in my review that I didn’t know what the machines looked like until about 80% when she gouged one of their “eyes” out, and I figured out they must’ve just been human-esque, like robots. But I was wondering if it was just me having missed something or if there really was no description. It made it hard for me to envision some of the scenes.

    I also felt similarly about the other things you mentioned. I was somewhat confused by the world in regards to the machines and felt like Rhona’s character came close to being a little too perfect. But I loved the exploration of the emotions about being a clone, so I enjoyed the book too.

    • Oh yes – I think it’s particularly strong when exploring the ramifications of being a clone. The only other book that comes to mind that also addresses those issues as insightfully I read recently, is Outriders by Jay Posey which is coming from the situation from a completely different angle. But I am more than happy to continue with the series – I want to know what happens.

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