Review – System Collapse

Posted June 26, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Review – System Collapse

System Collapse

by Martha Wells

Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 243
Rating: three-stars

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I love Martha Wells’ Murderbot books, but System Collapse ultimately didn’t quite work for me. I think it might’ve been tighter at the novella length like the earlier books, or more fleshed out with a longer plot. This way, it felt like there was a certain amount of filler, where I’d have tightened up e.g. the opening. Admittedly part of that gives Murderbot the time to talk about redacted and build up the curiosity about that, but honestly I kept just reading that as being evasiveness about the events of Network Effect anyway…

Overall, the plot felt pretty thin. There were some nice moments, like Murderbot’s realisation of how to reach the colonists — and the fact that that helped boost Murderbot’s performance. Important development does happen here, too: more glimpses of ART’s crew, a little peek at what Three might do now, some aftermath from Network Effect for the colonists, and of course, Murderbot’s obvious need for trauma therapy (which has been a long time coming).

I just… hoped for a bit more when promised another novel in the series, and perhaps that’s also part of my rating here. Here’s hoping for more of Murderbot and ART soon (and perhaps, maybe, a few more glimpses of Three, and the other newly freed SecUnit).

Rating: 3/5

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2 responses to “Review – System Collapse

    • I’m hoping it picks up again with the next book! In a sense it feels like the first four novellas were the strongest part because they had a definite narrative arc (and provided a sort of closure), and maybe things feel a little less focused now? But we’ll see!

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