This is a spoiler free review of Willful Machines by Tim Florence, a standalone science fiction novel.
I gave this book a 4/5 stars and for the most part, a really enjoyed it.
“‘The real question isn’t whether 2B’s are alive,’ she said. ‘It’s whether humans are anything more than machines.'”
Set in the near future, this book follows Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the United States President as he navigates his life at the elite boarding school Inverness Prep. His already tricky life gets a lot more complicated when Charlotte, an artificial human whose been terrorizing America begins attacks on Lee’s school.
Now, Lee realizes that he is Charlotte’s next target, and the people he thought he could trust, may be working against him.
But through Charlotte’s attacks, Lee uncovers a whole new idea of what life truly is.
“The first guy asks the second guy, ‘Do you believe in free will?’ The second guy answers, ‘I have no choice.”
My main complaint with this novel was the pacing. I felt as though the beginning of the novel moved drastically slower then the ending, which felt a little rushed as key information was provided less then ten pages before the end.
However, while I did not think the ending was very clear, the author has stated that he has plans to return to these characters in the future, so I don’t mind the fairly open ending.
Plot Twist and Characters
While I was able to partially predict some of the major plot twists, it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment of the story.
I really loved the characters in the story, and especially the relationship that was formed between Nico, a new kid at Inverness Prep, and Lee. I also loved Lee’s friendship with Bex, and while we did not see a ton from her throughout some of the major plot points, her character definitely had a great bond with Lee.
While I am still not sure how I fully feel about the novel, I can say that I highly enjoyed most of it, and would recommend it if you are a fan of futuristic contemporaries or science fiction novels.