Review: Rogue Protocol & Exit Strategy

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Murderbot is back!  I finally got around to crush the last two novellas in this series. Too bad Network Effect, the full length novel, isn’t slated to come out for another year or so, but in the meantime, Martha Wells keeps teasing us along with such a fun series of books, with of course our ever lovable, but murderous Murderbot.

In Rogue Protocol, we find Murderbot or “Rin” as they are going by at the moment, hitch hiking to a terraforming station that GrayCris Corp owns, but may have been using it for nefarious activities. Our favorite bot attempts to get more evidence to be used against the foul Corporation, but something is wrong on the station, and Murderbot stumbles into yet another ambush.

These stories have begun to feel episodic and that is not a weakness at all. If anything, it only increases their fun and helps keep us involved with Murderbot as the ultimate introvert we(human introverts) all aspire to be. Rogue Protocol takes a bit to get underway, but in Murderbot fashion the action ramps up and continues until the end.

Wells does an excellent job with the internal monologue and the prose is typically pretty brisk and not weighted down by description or lengthy issues of dialogue, because our protagonist doesn’t care about the former and doesn’t want the latter. It makes for a relatively clean story and one that tends to hit you in strange ways, considering you’re following an artificially driven killing machine. That must always be commended.

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After leaving our favorite Murderbot in the last novella, we find them en-route to meet their former owner, Dr. Mensah with possibly damning evidence on the GrayCris Corporation, which will help everyone out in the long run. All the while, Murderbot is asking the question of, will Dr. Mensah be able to trust them?

This last novella, which is our last installment until the full length novel, was fantastic. Wells has clearly hit her stride and it shows, between what has become the classic snark of  Murderbot to the pulse pounding action that forces you to turn page after page, I must have read this novella in about two sittings.

The action does not wait to start, considering our favorite SecUnit is heading straight into the viper’s nest and it does not let up for a moment. Topping it all off is the somewhat completion of how Murderbot recognizes their lack of rights and it becomes a clear subplot of this novella as the story progresses. Dealing with these lack of representation issues is huge and an additional kudos is due to Wells for managing to weave this complex issue so tightly to the main plotline.

Don’t sleep on this series! (Or maybe do, so you don’t have to wait so long for Network Effect!

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