ARC Review: Machinations

Machinations by Hayley Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Release date: July 26 2016

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 rescue 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.

This post-apocalyptic novel is on the possibility of machines overtaking our future, exterminating us and the human resistance fighting to survive. Pretty standard stuff, if you ask me, one that has been done in many movies and books, or at least in some variation of it. The addition, which I first thought would set it apart, is that the leader of the human resistance is resurrected via cloning. She is in her late 20s, so I don’t think this would classify as YA by the age of the protagonist, but the situations are in the vein of the genre.

Rhona 2.0’s first obstacle is the fact that she is not initially accepted as her original, at least by the ones in the know. More hurtful is the fact that her boyfriend, her partner in commanding the resistance doesn’t even want to be around her – he is convinced that she is only a pretty good facsimile of the woman he loved, and any feelings are due to remnants of her memories. For her part, she just has a new body – her memories have been almost completely transferred to this clone. So, it brings up a question of identity – if our memories are what define us, then are mind and body separate? Also, she has had more experiences now in this new body than her original, so technically she is not even the same person anymore. I wish this was explored in more detail byt the author. However, with a war looming with the machines, all these truths have to be hidden and she has to present a normal face to the general public.

The good things about this book are fast pace, good action sequences, non-existent love-triangle drama despite the existence of a love triangle, and the fact that the characters seem level-headed and work through their problems. It doesn’t hurt that Rhona, despite being impulsive, is also a great strategist and leader. She loves Camus and is determined to show him that she is just as real as the woman he loved, but it ultimately comes down to moving on from the memory of her previous death. While the action is good, I feel the villain (machines in this case) were not that formidable – sure, there were close calls, but the higher echelon seems like a distant threat. Also, while I like that there was something unique, I did not think the arcs of cloning and AI overlords had much to do with each other – they just didn’t come together in the storyline.

In conclusion, it is a good exciting read but ultimately doesn’t offer anything new.

Received a free galley from Random House Publishing Group – Hydra, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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