My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save humanity, they must give up their own.
Adam’s muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam’s only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero.
Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam’s game. Created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam’s life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam’s dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.
Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat…before Sigma destroys humanity.
This tale of teens transcending from their organic bodies to silicon ones, while sounding very outlandish in the blurb, is very realistic in it’s execution. On a sci-fi level, this one might be more closer to fact than fiction. As Alpert explains in the end of the book, neuromorphic circuits are currently in development, while brain mapping is a thing. What’s more, is, recently, scientists have developed a way to map more efficiently – using a net-like fiber to encase and map brains – okay, that has been done in mice so far, but human application is not far, I tell you. So, from a scientific standpoint, this one wins 5 stars – even though the concept of downloading a brain into a circuit may seem impossible in theory.
At first, I didn’t like Adam when he was introduced – it seemed he was a regular sports-obsessed guy, and let’s not even get me started on that creepy virtualization of his best friends. Actually, he doesn’t seem so interesting as a character, but his story is. See, he and these five other kids? They are going to die – so they enroll in an experimental program that downloads their genius-level brains into circuits. On a non-scientific level, you could say their souls were being liberated from their earthly shells and freed to occupy any neuromorphic circuit. At first, the experience is very jarring for them – because if they don’t have human bodies, are they really human? If they can’t breathe, eat, or perform biological activities, are they still human? It brought to me that famous line – I think, therefore I am. But this isn’t enough for other people, who think they are just intelligent machines – like Adam’s mother for example. She refuses to believe it’s her son in there, and he doubts it too. Because he is basically a copy of Adam, not the real person. It’s a very interesting concept put forth. Similarly, the AI Sigma is also debating how to classify them, since they are human-machine hybrids.
While this book is quite good, it isn’t flawless. Sigma was boring as a villain, even when it was kicking every country’s ass. I honestly don’t get it’s actions – for an intelligent AI, it waited too long to do anything. Look, I am no genius, but keeping the humans alive for their technology stretched the limits of my belief a little too much. On a character standpoint, as development goes, this book didn’t really go into it. Jenny was one-dimensional – her role being the third angle in the love triangle, and to further development of the protagonists. In fact, most of them are limited to one-line descriptions, while lines were wasted on Adam’s inability to laugh. *eyeroll* In summary, a pretty good book, and eager for the sequel.
Received a free ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or review.