Book Review: Willful Machines – Tim Floreen

Willful MachinesIt’s very difficult to write a review about this book. There are a lot of things that I could say about it – mostly positive and maybe some philosophical shit but I’ll try to incorporate the notes I’ve written while reading it. First thing you need to know – this is one fucking lovely book! I don’t find the premise too original but I find it very unique. Huh? I know right? It is unique because the author decided to use LGBT young adult characters and that is what I loved most about it. The author could’ve easily follow the “straight characters” YA route that would obviously garner much more readers but fortunately, He gave us this wonderful story where the main character is gay albeit very much closeted at the beginning. I know there are a lot of LGBT theme young adult novels coming out these days but it’s very seldom that we read something from this genre. It still the same teenage angst but it’s more current, much exciting and very much provocative if I may say.

Willful Machines takes place in a future where scientists create a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. Everything is good and dandy until she decided to terrorize the world via the internet.

Enter Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee’s not too concern about Charlotte because he’s got other things to worry about including his crush on Nico, a new student at his school he’s trying to impressed until an attack at his school led him to believe that Charlotte’s actually targeting him. Should he trust Nico with his plan to uncover Charlotte’s plan? What is he willing to sacrifice to get the truth?

This is one of those books that make you stop reading it to think. Stop. Take a break. Hmmm. Think. Then read again. And read again until you’re done. It’s one of those special books that you’d both take by its face value and look underneath its written verses. Here, you get to be in the places of Lee and Nico respectively. It was solely narrated by Lee but there’s a very definite description pertaining to Nico’s actions and emotions.

One particular point that really struck me was when Nico vehemently said that “being willing to die for a cause you believe in isn’t the same thing as just wanting to die” pertaining to the bomb planted into Nico’s body. I thought about the suicide bombers used by the terrorist nowadays. I guess you get the drift and I guess those people especially the kids or pregnant women used as one doesn’t really wanted to die but they have no choice in the matter – they may have been forced. Kids, I would have to agree about them being forced to do it along with the majority of women /men but there are people who are really willing to die for what they believe in right? They’re doing it for something that they aggressively believe in regardless of the end results, in today’s cases, a bloody and chaotic end results. At one point in the book, I thought – it must be this strong feeling from them that pushed them to do it. I am not validating their deeds, I do not agree with them personally but there’s definitely something in it right? It was a thought that really made me think about these people who are doing what they’re doing. Just the whole WHY thing percolating inside my brain.

And I guess at one point, this would happen yeah? I mean the whole human-robot thing finally realized. I.Robot is scary enough if that would be the case but it’s very possible especially with the deluge of new technologies almost everyday.

I need to sum this up now because I don’t want to spill more spoilers about the book. You’d definitely get a kick out of this book. It’s nothing if not an incredible imagining of what could our future world will be like. Very much recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: October 20th 2015 by Simon Pulse

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About The Author
Tim Floreen writes young adult fiction. His debut novel, WILLFUL MACHINES, will come out from Simon Pulse in the fall of 2015.

One of Tim’s earliest memories involves sitting in front of the television and staring in awe at a raven-haired, star-spangled Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. He went on to spend much of his childhood running around in a paper tiara and bracelets and tying up his grandma with his “magic lasso.” When not doing that, he was developing crushes on his Masters of the Universe action figures, memorizing the entire libretto of Les Miserables, and carefully maintaining his huge (and now mostly worthless) comic book collection. Also, he read a lot and wrote a lot.

Tim majored in English at Yale and earned a master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University. He now lives in San Francisco with his partner and their two cats. His recollection of the words to Les Miz and his adoration of Wonder Woman remain fully intact. He has yet to manifest super powers of his own, despite doing lots and lots of yoga.

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
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