Monday, June 3, 2013

REVIEW: Sanity Vacuum by Thea Isis Gregory

The ABACUS Protocol: Sanity Vacuum Sanity Vacuum by Thea Isis Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought the book would be more exciting because of the blurb, but it wasn’t. Action scenes were few and irregular, considering they were in regard to the villain trying to kill the heroine. Yet everything worked for me. I enjoyed the book.

+ the plot

The plot moved leisurely, but I never once felt the inclination to skim, and the book largely consisted of quotidian science work and introspection. “Hi, I’m Vivian, a scientist. I’m doing science.” “Hi, I’m quIRK, a sentient AI. I’m contemplating my existence.” Sure, there were the occasional scenes where Bryce did his deranged best to furtively kill Vivian. “Hi, I’m Bryce, Vivian’s boss. I’m trying to kill Vivian. Sssh. Secret.” But largely it was “science” and “to be or not to be,” and it worked. The alternating 3rd person POVs between Vivian, quIRK, and Bryce engrossed me.

+ the characters

I liked Vivian. It was the second time in the month where I read about protagonist who is a person of color, specifically blue. LOL. (First time was And All the Stars, though to be precise she mutated into blue but it still counts IMO.) Vivian was very believable as a scientist, and I liked the fact she was the kind of scientist who had ambitions, won’t be cowed, and kept a level head when danger struck. I liked how half of the time when danger struck she rescued herself and the other characters who were collateral damage, that she wasn’t just going to lie down and accept the role of the Damsel in Distress the plot repeatedly forced upon her.

Even quIRK was part of the collateral damage. In the beginning, he alienated me with his jokes and thoughts because they were kind of cold and threatening in which I didn’t know if he was being serious and I hoped it was just gallows humor and not a setup as an Evil Machine (trope: A.I. Is a Crapshoot). But after a couple chapters, I warmed up to him. quIRK was a tolerated, neglected, lonely being who was just trying to learn about people and morals. I liked that through quIRK the book turned the overused trope of Evil Machine on its head and showed that maybe it’s not the machine that are bad, but the humans themselves.

Bryce served as a good example. I liked his character development, such that the book didn’t dismiss the character as someone who was just born evil and not worthy of readers’ consideration, that however deranged the guy was, his reasons for his deplorable actions were all too human. I really liked the juxtaposition between Bryce and quIRK. On one hand, you have someone, flesh and blood, who believed in his superior existence and held no qualms doing whatever to rise to the top and assert his existence. On the other hand you have someone, of wires and circuits, who had to hide his sentience for fear of being “killed” and tried to understand why people do bad things.

In Conclusion

I rate Sanity Vacuum 3-stars for I liked it. The horror elements may have been subtle, the plot not that exciting, but the book was no less interesting. The book had a lot going against it because of my literary preferences but the characters and the accessible science fiction elements won me over.

Goodreads | Amazon

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