Tor. Sept. 2023. 448p. ISBN 9781250877734. $29.99. SF
Adrian Ross finds himself dragged out of his home one morning by the police and propelled into the center of a rapidly unfolding adventure that plays out across time and space. Adrian’s journey begins with a military-industrial complex conspiracy and its advanced artificial intelligence trained on esoteric magic, but it escalates as he wanders into his own past to unravel the secrets behind the AI’s early development, unwittingly unlocking the secrets of the universe. Evans (Swarm) brings his techno-thriller experience to the emerging sci-fi subgenre centering on AI and machine learning. While Evans seeks to deliver an action-packed thriller, the pacing leaves little time for reflection on Adrian’s odyssey and is complicated by a large and, at times, confusing cast of characters.
VERDICT Blending trending topics in emergent AI technologies and occult mysticism make for an intriguing premise, but Evans ultimately struggles to balance exposition and plot.
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