Title: Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
Author: Martha Wells
Release date: August 7th, 2018
At this point in sci-fi/action literature, Martha Wells has established herself as one of the greatest living authors and you can reserve a place on each award ballot for whatever her latest Murderbot entry is.
I, of course, am playing catch up in the series. Book 5 has just came out a few weeks back and Tor announced Wells has signed on for three more books in the series. It was originally Patrick Rothfuss who turned me onto this series with his review of book one, but seeing so many folks loving this series, I’ve been excited to dive in.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect with book three, and after book one I’ve stopped reading the synopsis’, so I dove in, wondering what our sarcastic Murderbot would get up to.
What I liked: Book three continues the story of Murderbot trying to get to the bottom of what happened to them many years ago. This is explained in more detail in book one and discussed in book two, but in book three they decide to try and help out the Doc who aided them in book one by trying to find more clues about those events.
Wells has created an iconic character with Murderbot (they even have their own active Twitter feed!) and as always we find them struggling with their desire to get their own answers and ultimately be able to watch tv programs while knowing they ultimately want to help those who’re in danger or following directions that’ll get them killed.
In this one, we get another story line where Murderbot has to tolerate another robot/machine character and it’s here where Wells really excels with the internal workings of Murderbot and how much they despise pleasantries and inside jokes.
The story has a ton of action and acts as a fine stand alone but also pushes the over-arcing plot of the series, which sets up book four really nicely.
What I didn’t like: Ultimately, this was a bit ‘more of the same,’ where we know Murderbot is going to have to protect the humans as they do have a conscious and as much as Wells keeps trying to show us that Murderbot doesn’t care about humans, three books deep tells us otherwise. I’m hoping book four reduces that aspect a bit and we see Murderbot make bigger bounds towards embracing their empathetic side, but I doubt it, ha!
Why you should buy this: If you’re invested in book one and two, you’ll want to keep following along and while this wasn’t the highlight so far of the three books I’ve read, this was a really great follow up and a fun read.
Murderbot is a unique character in that they are, at their base, a killing machine, but it’s a bit like watching Robocop have parts of his human identity burst through and aid in overriding their directives. Book three was a fun time and I’ve excited to jump into book four shortly.