Machinations, by Hayley Stone

Machinations

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.

What first attracted me to Machinations when I saw it on NetGalley was the beautiful cover. The epic imagery of the mountain in the background and the golden field; the silhouette of a woman with a gun draws the eye toward the title, and then to the juxtaposition below it. Excellent cover.

The Good: It’s a post-apocalyptic/dystopian story with a female protagonist. That’s definitely in my top three favorite genres. I think Machinations is what some of the later Terminator movies should’ve been. Sentient machines just got to kill the human race. Step up miss hero and show these rag-tag humans how to fight.

The Bad: Our hero, and face of the human resistance, Rhona Long dies. Oops, the humans just can’t seem to get their stuff together without their icon. Let’s clone her! Huh, machines blow up our cloning facility, and she’s kind of cloned, but not really. Gasp! What will we do?

The Ugly: The biggest complaint I have about Machinations is that it’s just a standard science fiction story. It’s been told before. I can’t even say that the author paraded out the old tropes in an interesting way. The story was very predictable. The similarities to the ‘post-judgment day’ Terminator franchise makes me scratch my head. I’m not sure if the tepid sci-fi story is because of the author (I hope not) or because the publisher, Random House/Hydra had five different editors cutting away all the unique stuff to make the book ‘more sellable.’ This story could’ve been so much better.

The Final Word: Man, this review seems pretty harsh. Not my intention. I enjoyed reading it, and would totally read the sequel, Counterpart. Standard sci-fi is still fun to read, and I’ve read some real stinkers in my day. Machinations is still worth a read, especially if you like commercial sci-fi. I suspect that most of my qualms are due to the publisher’s ‘design by committee.’ (I’m not biased, although I’ve gotten rejection letters from Random House/Hydra.) I’d give Machinations three and a half stars, and look forward to seeing Counterpart on NetGalley.

Hayley Stone

Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as an editor and graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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