This is a series review, so things will be a bit vague as far as the plot, no spoilers I promise.
“Your soul is bigger than your programming.”
Oh this series is just so marvelous. Everything I usually want in a science fiction book was here. Adventure, action, evil corporations and governments, space flight and visiting other worlds. No aliens though, but that was ok. And then of course the romance. This is an amazing romance that unfolds slowly and brings into question what it means to be human and to have a soul. The story deals with a lot of issues around religion, humanity, what it means to be human and to have a soul. There is a lot to think about while you are enjoying all of the rest of the story.
“Ester would tell her to dance faster, leap higher, to laugh out loud with all the breath in her lungs. That’s what the dead would tell the living, if they could—to grab hold of joy whenever it comes.”
Noemi is such a great character. She is so protective of those she loves, and she will do anything to save her planet. Her ideas and perspectives on religion and God were very insightful and thought provoking. There were many times that I stopped and had to think about what she was saying. Her acknowledgment of Abel as more than a mech meant so much to both of them. It was her capacity to see beyond the fact that he was created, to the fact that he could feel and love, which made both of them better people.
“This is what greed does to humans, Abel thinks. It makes them ignore the love they have in favor of what they can never attain.”
When we first meet Abel, he has been alone for thirty years, entertaining himself with his powerful AI brain. Over the course of the first book, you can’t help but find him endearing and lovable. He so wants to help Noemi and Genesis. My heart just broke when he finds out what his true purpose is, why Mansfield created him. The change in Abel over the course of the books is subtle, but you can see him change as he experiences the world and love. He truly does have a soul and is unlike any other AI out there. Abel’s thoughts and ideas about humans were also very insightful.
“Humans frequently (and inaccurately) speak of mechs as ‘cold-blooded,’ unable to care. It seems to Abel that humans deserve the term far more. Mechs don’t have the ability to care; humans do, yet often choose not to care at all.”
There are some great secondary characters in this series as well. I loved Virginia, a tech genius that they meet and befriend in the first book. She also is able to see Abel for what he truly is and his potential to become more than the sum of his parts. She comes to understand herself better because of her friendship with Abel and Noemi. She was also good for some sarcasm and witty remarks when a laugh was sorely needed.
“The opposite of Faith isn’t doubt. The opposite of Faith is certainty”…”Being humble before God means accepting that you may not possess the only path to Him.”
The main plot is pretty basic. Earth has become polluted and too hard to live on, so people have taken to the stars to find new homes. Earth continues to want to control them, however, and has been at war with Noemi’s home planet Genesis for many years. But we don’t really see or hear much from Earth’s government. They are just sort of in the background, causing issues for everyone, so we only see what their laws and decisions do to the people around Noemi and Abel. Mansfield, Abel’s creator, and his daughter are the ones that show mankind at its worst, greedy and self absorbed. I felt some sympathy for Gillian, especially at the end, but not enough to like her.
“There’s always one core purpose in our hearts that we’ll sacrifice anything for. Noemi thinks, Love is Directive One. ―
Great story, great romance, lots of adventure and excitement and some kickass characters. Now is the time to pick up this finished series, you won’t be disappointed.