Read iD by Madeline Ashby Online


Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a journey of redemption.Javier's quest takes him from Amy's island, where his actions have devastating consequences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either salvation... or death....

Title : iD
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780857663115
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

iD Reviews

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-05-27 19:09

    After being forced to poison his wife Amy, vN Javier goes on the run to find her backup. Can he find it before his enemies find him and shut him down permanently?Disclaimer: I got this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for reviewing it.iD takes place in a future where men and machines live side by side. While it's the first book in a series, following vN, it didn't take me long to get up to speed. I love the concept of self-replicating androids. Hell, there are a lot of great concepts in this one, like 3D printers capable of printing organic matter, for instance.Javier lies and fornicates his way around the world, looking for his wife's backup, all the while avoiding the legions of vNs looking to kill him. From what I gather, Javier was some kind of sexbot before he settled down with Amy and he uses his talents quite a bit in his info-gathering.The writing was really good. Like I said, I knew this was the second book in a series by Ashby did a good job of helping me keep my head above water. She also knows how to write some reprehensible characters, like Powell and LaMarque.iD was a really cool read, full of action, sex, and interesting sf concepts. Now I'll have to get vN and read about all the events that were hinted about in this one.

  • Bradley
    2019-05-31 20:47

    Disturbing, fairly nuts, and good for pushing buttons. The whole robot angle is a side issue. Most of this novel has a lot of sociopathy and exploration of emotional triggers as its main focus. It helps that there's institutionalized pedophilia that's all right because it's just robots. Yuck.But that's not even the main focus, either.It's Javier's PoV. It's a rather wild journey, literally swinging every which way, eventually becoming a quest to redeem himself. That was all kinds of all right. :)This book was definitely better than the previous, but there was still something about it that was off. And it wasn't just the ick factor. That was explainable by the general theme of the novel. It had a place. It was an ugly place, but it had a place.The things people do to people. Especially we downgrade them into robots that are just hardware. Good point to make? Absolutely. SF does its job well. :)

  • Lata
    2019-05-26 20:00

    3-3.5 stars, I think, mostly because like with book one, the ending/epilogue confused me somewhat. I liked how Javier dealt with his emotions and situations. Though, if certain things had happened in this book, Javier would not have had to run all over the country trying to fix the initial situation.And now we have a rather dire situation coming up in book three, after all the setup in this book.

  • Tabitha (Pabkins)
    2019-06-17 19:44

    Now Wait for it, wait for it..“We’re all facing the goddamn robot apocalypse because some nerds didn’t have the sack to ask a girl out.”That is just one taste of the fucking awesome iD is made up of. It’s also pretty much sums up really well what the story is about. Not that it’s about nerdy guys who can’t approach women but that a lot of people are using the humanoids as an outlet for things they either can’t, won’t, or really shouldn’t be doing with other people.If you haven’t already you need to read vN, which is the first book in The Machine Dynasty, you need to! Madeline Ashby writes a world that is essentially a possible future for our world. Robots have been developed by a religious group to be the companions for all those people that are going to be left behind once Armageddon or the ‘Rapture’ comes. So this group, New Eden, purposefully creates these robots for these people who they pretty much consider the less savory side of mankind, which is so hypocritical because everyone IN the New Eden ministry that we come across seems to be perverts. What does that mean folks? Well consider anything a sicko would get in trouble doing to a human they can instead do to the closest possible equivalent, a thinking, feeling humanoid machine that can do nothing to stop them because of a built in failsafe.But these crazy thumpers created something WONDERFUL! These humanoid robots to me are an entire new species. They think, feel, hurt, bleed – they are alive! This book will lead you to question just what constitutes being alive. iD also tackles some nasty issues, like pedophilia and rape. But even with these hefty things the book still manages to not be a complete Debbie downer. Its an awesome story about what if, and knowing when you make mistakes, and the fallacy of all people whether human or robotic.A piece of excellent advice:“Someday you’ll look at where you are, and all the choices that brought you there, and you’ll remember everyone you ever met and everything you ever said, and you’ll have to make peace with that, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted.”Javier is the lead and perspective iD is told from. He’s had quite a few iterations (kids) and he’s been through a lot in his 4 short years of life. I find him so refreshing and hilarious. It was wonderful to learn more about his background and to see just how resourceful he is. Javier is the type that is going to tell it like it is and how it is sometimes isn’t anywhere near what you want to hear!“Oh, so fucking me is taking advantage of my programming, but putting me to sleep like a fucking date rapist, that’s OK?”In iD he does something that he seriously wants to make right – something that could have just changed the fate of humanity and humanoids. So he’s on a mission to try to make things right. This is his story. But can he conquer his own programming to be who he really wants to be?With all that said there are adult scenes in this book, it’s not erotica so don’t think that – it just has adult themes and scenes so keep that in mind if you decide to pick this up.

  • Adam
    2019-06-08 20:51

    I love a book that kicks me in the head.You know what I'm talking about: you open the first page, start reading, and some idea, some turn of phrase, something about the book rears back from the pages and smacks you in the skull, leaving you breathless and starry eyed and saying, "Oh, wow" for the next two hundred pages. It's nice to have a comforting book, one that slowly pulls you in until you're in way over your head, but, every now and then, I need the kick, and iD by Madeline Ashby is chock full of it.(Disclosure: I have made buttons with Madeline's words on them, much to our eventual consternation. I have hung out with Madeline. I would write all of this if I hadn't, 'cause her work is so bloody good.)iD is the sequel to vN, her debut novel about a self-replicating robot who eats her grandmother (complications ensue). If you dug Javier, Amy's companion/foil/teacher/eventual partner, then you're going to love iD, 'cause it's all about him, where he came from, what he's done, and where he's going. There's sex and violence and so many geek references that I had to stop myself from emailing her every time I came across one.But that's just the carbon skin over the aerogel muscle and diamond-lattice bone. iD cuts deep into the questions of choice and free will and imperfection, and it hurts. Are the vN a reflection of humanity? Or are we the vN seen through a glass, darkly? How much of our own cultural and genetic programming drives our choices, makes us who we are? Would we be better off if we were nothing but a massive set of algorithms and processors? Can imperfect beings create perfect ones?iD comes out late June, which means you'll have enough time to get vN to prepare. Get both. You'll be glad you did. But wear a helmet. You'll need it.

  • Tez
    2019-06-21 22:00

    I really enjoyed the first book, vN, but this one didn't work for me. Doesn't help that this has a different POV (Javier, rather than Amy). The author's said iD is like her version of a James Bond story - complete with casinos, cocktails, and a supervillain. But I just couldn't connect with the story, or the characters.Book 3, reV, is due out late in 2015. Hopefully it's an improvement upon this installment.

  • Alexa
    2019-05-25 22:07

    It makes me sad that I have to give this one two stars, because I loved vN so much. Realistically, its probably a two and half, but Goodreads doesn't give me that option so I've gotta go with my gut here, and there wasn't a whole lot I liked about this book other than the initial premise. While iD has a lot of what I loved about the first book in the series, it was much more disorganized and just didn't hold my interest as well.It's kind of funny that the thing that gives Amy her true personhood, her malfunctioned failsafe, is what makes her a much more alien character. Javier on the other hand, still lacking a true sense of free will, is far more vulnerable and should be much more relatable. But I don't know if it was because it made me anxious to be seeing things from the point of view of someone so oppressed and marginilized as Javier, but I just really craved Amy's power and strength the whole time. Amy, with the combined effect of her android body and brain and the ability to decide her own fate, is practically a god. But Javier in this world is nearly an ant. He's subject to every perversion and corruption that falls across his lap, and there are many, and as such the story of iD is far darker. It was hard to deal with after a while, to read about the wide variety of ways human beings could be disgusting. Rape and molestation is an ongoing theme (and there is at least one scene that is could be extremely triggering for some), and Javier whose computerized brain fries if he's exposed to too much violence against humans is acutely attuned to it.But Javier sadly lacks focus, which has defined most of his life. Amy gave him purpose and meaning, but in iD he has to set out on a quest on his own. While he's clever and resourceful, he doesn't really know what he wants. He wants to be safe, he wants his family, and as the story clicks by he realizes that it's going to be very difficult to have both, especially when he can't actually hurt the people how are trying to hurt him and his own. The villains also pinball back and forth - Rory, the vN who tried to kill him and Amy at the end of the first book, makes a couple more attempts and then claims she wants to help Javier. Portia, Amy's psychotic grandmother, who has been unleashed as a malevolent AI all over the world serves as little more than an amusing side note as well as the occasional deus ex machina when she's not bringing about the apocalypse.There were parts that were just downright confusing, especially the ending, and I'm still not entirely sure what happened (view spoiler)[ but I was willing to just go with it because it meant getting Amy back (hide spoiler)]. Plot points and MacGuffins are brought up and then dropped completely within a few chapters. The pacing also got seriously fudged everytime Ashby took too much time describing the setting, which was often. Ashby is really fantastic at creating these kitschy futuristic cities that appeal to tourists and fans, and it was a lot of fun reading about that stuff in the first book. But in this one I just could not bring myself to care. We got to Mecha way too late and by then I just wanted the climax of the story instead of indulging in the background of the robot paradise.I'm glad we got Javier's perspective, but I'm way more invested in the bigger story going, that being the possible robot/human war that Amy may have jump started. And Portia, who do I need to bribe to get more Portia? Never bench the crass evil robot grandmother ever again, she is priceless.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-06-03 14:45

    In vN, Madeline Ashby provides a refreshing take on the idea of robots on the run. She tries to bottle lightning a second time in iD—and she succeeds. The second Machine Dynasty novel raises the stakes and allows Ashby a chance to explore both the backstory and future of this world where Asimovian robots have been reified. It’s not quite a full on apocalypse, but the world appears to be holding its breath.I’m going to assert that you needn’t have read vN to read iD; and, if you read this one, you could still read vN without that story being too spoiled. I read vN almost exactly two years ago, and consequently I remembered very little when I started in on this book. Ashby, to her credit, spends very little time on a recap or exposition—but this assumed familiarity will be a help rather than a hindrance to a newcomer, because there is actually very little you need to know about this world to get up to speed. Organic robots called vN—short for von Neumann machines, because they can self-replicate—exist as second-class citizens. They are supposed to have a failsafe that prevents them from harming humans (and, in fact, is so striden they can’t even watch simulated human violence, like movies). But the failsafe seems glitchy now; one vN named Portia has gone on a rampage stopped by her own granddaughter, Amy. And now Amy has flounced off to an artificial island refuge for vN, and the United States government is freaking the hell out.iD actually doesn’t follow Amy so much as it does Javier, her sometime-lover-not-quite-husband. That’s another reason why reading the first book isn’t as necessary: almost all of Amy’s involvement in this book happens behind the scenes, so you don’t need to be too familiar with her character. And after his involvement in the first book, it’s nice to learn more about Javier’s backstory. We come to understand his relationship with his father and how that affected his own iterations. And Ashby uses the nature of vNs, as well as Javier’s own clade’s existence as sex workers, to explore the spectrum of sexuality and sexual behaviour. iD is a very inclusive, very expressive book, and that’s really interesting.Javier’s relationship with Amy is defined almost entirely by the same unique aspects that have led to her celebrity. Amy is paradoxically both the most and least human-like vN: her lack of a failsafe means that she can hurt, even kill humans; but unlike humans, she doesn’t feel or experience pain. She has formed the kind of wariness and hatred for certain humans that few vN manage (I’d argue Javier is another), yet she also has some very startling and alien qualities. She swallowed her own grandmother’s memories, and now she is in constant communication with some kind of semi-sentient artificial island, mulling over the long-term survival of humans and vN through increasingly elaborate probability projections.For Javier, though, it’s simpler: he loves Amy, and he thinks she loves him, but she doesn’t seem to invest the same amount of emotional commitment into their relationship. And he wants her to hack him, to rid him of the failsafe too—but she refuses. She hedges as to why, citing consent issues. This allows Ashby to tacitly interrogate the thorny ideas of consent within an otherwise stable relationship. Science fiction has the cool ability to use new technologies to amplify the consequences of what we do already. We are, all of us, trying to “hack” each other—help each other develop better habits, make good impressions when we meet new people, etc.—and we have tricks for doing that. Imagine if you could literally reprogram someone though … and make them a killer.For a robot apocalypse story set in the probable near future, there is very little sense of “future” in this world. There are no flying cars, jetpacks, or asymptotic Moore’s Law processors. The Internet is largely the same. So aside from vN, it’s hard to understand how else this world has changed. This world lacks the otherness that characterizes similar stories, notably Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I’m not sure this is a bad thing, but I feel like iD loses some sense of dimension without it. The antagonists certainly feel very flimsy (I count Holberton in this camp).One particularly interesting and also annoying aspect of iD is the near-constant plot derailment. I feel sorry for Javier: literally every plan he makes goes sideways the moment he starts implementing it. He has this big plan to go seduce Holberton so he can get access to a backup of Amy’s … and that really doesn’t work out. In any way. And every other plan he makes falls apart, forcing him to improvise madly. On one hand, this is realistic and refreshing. It’s boring when a protagonist comes up with a plan, even a really clever one, and then the plan goes off without more than minor hiccups. On the other hand, Ashby’s fondness for these twists means that Javier is almost constantly reacting rather than acting. There is little sense of momentum. And then the ending comes, and we meet up with Amy again, and it all turns out not to have mattered much….iD is a really fascinating story about robots and humans and love and sex and life. If even one of those things interests you, you will probably like this book. (Imagine if two of those things interest you! Logically you would like it twice as much. Or four times as much if the relationship is not linear but geometric!) Ashby hints at even cooler things to come in subsequent (hopefully) books, at the possible solutions to the nascent human–vN divide. I say “hints at” because she has an almost uncanny knack for saying very little outright but drawing the blanks in such a way that you can fill them in yourself without much difficulty. Keywords like “generation ship” or “Stepford solution” dropped into the conversation are viral thought-bombs, exploding in your brain and generating a virtual panoply of narrative forks that eventually converge in the actual, but unstated, truth behind the story.That’s enough to convince me that Ashby is a writer of the first class, although iD itself might not fall into such a category. I love the ideas she’s tapping into and the stories that she tells with these characters. Despite dissatisfaction with some of the vagueness of setting and antagonism, I still found myself, as with vN, not wanting iD to stop, and not wanting to put it down.My reviews of the Machine Dynasty series:← vN

  • Jonathan Lin
    2019-06-10 19:53

    3.5 stars.I couldn't really get into this book, even though I really like the first book (vN). The book is full of action and things blow up and people (and robots) die, but the story didn't feel as coherent. I liked the overall concept and the best thing about this book is the fluidity that Ashby moves in between human and android, male, female, and not-just-quite-in-between.The ending ties everything up and feels a bit too miraculous - everything is ok at least for a little while.I'll read the next book, reV, slated to come out early 2019. Any prospective readers should start on Book 1 (vN) to really get what's going on.

  • Nadia
    2019-06-01 14:46

    It wasn't terrible, but I had to take off a half star for every really unsubtle Blade Runner reference. So many. So painful.

  • Lex
    2019-06-25 20:07

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Angry Robots for the opportunity to read it.Don't you think this book is weird? lol.I got so many issues with this book that I do not know where I should begin. I like the idea of robots. Of vN co-habiting with humans. Working as a nurse, gardener, teacher, etc. I like how they could think of their own but they could not even think of harming a human for it would 'failsafe' them. I think that is such a good idea since in the past, I have watched movies like Terminator, who harms humans because they started to think on their own. Failsafe is like a guarantee that robots, or vN rather, will NEVER hurt humans for they function to serve, protect, love and make them happy.I get the story of the series. Of Amy's clade having a kind of failsafe glitch. Failsafe is an exemption to Portia and Amy. Of Amy being a vN who thinks of her fellow vN to have some sort of freedom. In this certain book though, the past was revealed. Sort of. And the main protagonist in this story is Javier.So it was all Javier's thoughts, past, actions, we are seeing. Reasons why he do what he did. I kinda like that the author change POV. From Amy for the first book, to Javier in second. It's a good knowing what were his thoughts. So, what I didn't like about this book?1. It's a bit boring in the first part.2. All Javier thinks of is getting Amy's panties down. It's like, every single time they're together he's asking to fuck her. >_<3. It's all 'FUCKING' in this book. Fucking as in sex, fucking as in curse. 4. I don't like that it was said that Amy is just a kindergartener a year ago (which is true in the first book), and then for this second book, Javier wanted to fuck her. Please! I mean, I know what kind of vN he is. But still, this does not seem right. It's like Pedophile but then again, Javier is like 4 years old only. I know the norms does not apply to robots (vN) but still. WEIRD.5. I hate that one moment, someone from Javier's sons or himself, speaks Spanish AND IT WAS NEVER TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH. How would I know what they said?! I'm not a Spanish speaker. I do understand PUTA though. Cause I curse using that word sometimes. Yeah, got Spanish terms here in the Philippines too. 6. I can't even categorize this book to Young Adult because of the language used and the actions shown. I can't even say it's a New Adult or Adult book because of the age of the characters. That does not seem right to any option.Guess that's it? Oh wait, did I ever told you it really is weird that even male vN iterates which in a simple word means, pregnant? lol. And the book also shows... male to male sex. WTF right? Well, I'm actually not against MM, I love MM. But I'm not reading a Male to Male book, in the first place. If I want to read books like that, I'd turn to my Yaoi mangas.I am not trying to degrade this book, it might not just be my preference. I do admit I am weird so I got weird tastes sometimes. I'm just trying my best to say what is on my mind as honestly as I could. Did I enjoy some part of the book? YES.Did I enjoy the book, overall? NOT SO MUCH. It just kind of dragged.Will I recommend it to some friends? MAYBE. But to only those who got a strong stomach, doesn't mind the word 'fucking' every now and then, can somehow understand Spanish and who is a bit techy.It might just be me. You might like it better than I do. So please don't judge the book because you read my review. Good luck and hope you'll have a fun time reading ahead of you! :)

  • Beezlebug (Rob)
    2019-06-23 16:06

    Machine Dynasty SequelSummary:Full disclosure I received an electronic copy of this book to review from NetGalley. iD is the second book in Madeline Ashby’s The Machine Dynasty. Having read the first book in the series back in August 2012 I can honestly say I don’t recall very much of the overall series except for a few basic plot points and characters. In fact, when I read the summary for iD I assumed Javier was a new character not realizing he played an important role in vN. With that said I think if you’re coming into this book having not read vN you’ll be able to get by but might not pick up on all the backstory elements and the world in general.iD is the continuation of the events from vN focusing on the lives of Amy and Javier. As you can pick up from the plot summaries the story quickly focuses on Javier exclusively in his efforts at redemption for himself and to save his family and species. To give away any more than that I think would be a disservice to you as it would spoil the early portions of the book.Upfront anyone picking this book up needs to know there is a fair amount of sex. Nothing graphic or explicit by any means but it might be enough to turn some people off (no pun intended). In all honesty the sex isn’t gratuitous , but instead is meant to give insight into Javier’s character and the driving factor behind his actions. This insight was useful but also confusing and frustrating because at times I struggled with believing why he did some of the things he did. Again, difficult to go into without spoiling the book, but there is one ultimate betrayal Javier commits that was difficult to believe in some regards.Overall, iD is a worthy sequel to VN and continues to develop this interesting world. If anything I feel there is still a significant portion of this world left to explore and hope to see that covered in the next book. For instance the threat of Portia (a carryover from vN) was not resolved and was one of the points I was a little disappointed with. Not disappointment that the issue wasn’t resolved but more so that we didn’t get to experience the world’s fear and reaction to the threat she represents. Instead she was the fifth wheel that was demoted to occasional bit player in the overall story. I personally also found a portion of the ending to be a little confusing and will need to go re-read that again. In general if self-aware androids/robots in a near future setting with a little bit of sex, action and intrigue throw into the mix are your thing then iD is worth the read.

  • Matt
    2019-06-22 21:53

    Since the days of Isaac Asimov, robots have been a huge part of science fiction. With this being true, it’s a wonder that more writers aren’t trying to do what Madeline Ashby has done with iD, and that is make the idea of humanoid androids actually something fresh and exciting again.iD, which is the second novel in the Machine Dynasty series, takes Asimov’s laws of robotics and uses them to create real ethical dilemmas and just perfect philosophical tension. When androids get to the point where their minds are so sophisticated that they are almost identical to humans, what’s ethical? Twisted humans are taking advantage of androids’ built-in inability to harm or resist humans, and it leads to one killing another against his will. This raises questions that aren’t just simply a matter of personal ethics, but there is an aspect of the novel that seems to ask for religion’s answer to robotics and artificial intelligence.The subject material may end up being too dark for some. There is sexual assault, lots of general violence, and a lot of things that will make some readers uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. Those who love Asimov and are open to having their view of robotics broadened will definitely find something to love about this book, as Madeline Ashby is clearly a brilliant writer. The novel is also a perfect example of how science fiction can be real literature, and isn’t simple escapism.Despite the fact that iD is the second entry in its series, it stands on its own and is easy to get into. Ashby introduces and takes away character quickly, but even those who are only with us for a few chapters are well-developed. It really is a modern I, Robot, but with a lot more grit, moral depth, and more interesting prose. Madeline Ashby ought to be seen as one of the big new names in science fiction.[This review was originally posted to Hardcover Wonderland, a web magazine about literature of all kinds.]

  • Timothy Ward
    2019-06-01 19:43

    Formal review to come on SF Signal.I'll admit, I was really worried about my rating for this book. From 35% to 75% I wasn't really enjoying myself, and for most of that I was pretty repulsed. There's rape, a trip to a pedophile club, and fantasies about sex robots that I won't go into. The author doesn't portray these in a positive light at all, but it still wasn't easy to read.But then the ending went and surprised me, and even made me see why the main character of this story had to have had those guy on guy and rape scenes--well, maybe not "had", but all the characters and their motivations and weaknesses played a crucial part to the conclusion.I wanted this book to be the mega war between robots and humans, and it ended up being the sequel to the love story that started in Book One, vN. The first third shocked me, and then the last five percent shocked me even more, so much so that it turned a probable two star into a four. Even better, I will most likely read the next book. The fight is only just beginning and hopefully the sex aspect doesn't need to be such a big part anymore.

  • Kate
    2019-06-16 22:07

    Just as awesome as the the first one!I liked all the sci fi references that none of the vNs ever got, to Bladerunner and Star Trek and The Prisoner and probably others that I didn't get.

  • Matthew Lloyd
    2019-05-31 16:41

    "What you have to know about humans is what they don't know about themselves," Arcadio says. "They're machines, too. Humans are just machines. They run programs just like we do, they just run different ones."- iD, p. 116In my review of vN, the first of Madeline Ashby's Machine Dynasty, I said that it was an action-adventure story brimming with ideas. I also said that it didn't proffer many answers to the questions it asked. iD, the second Machine Dynasty novel, is different. Its adventure is less action-packed - in this novel we follow Javier, Amy's companion who has the failsafe that prevents vN robots from harming humans. It's more of an investigation, as Javier tries to find Amy ((view spoiler)[or rather, a copy of her memory (hide spoiler)]) while also uncovering other shady goings on in New Eden Ministries - the church that created the vN - and the human world as a whole. And while the book is still brimming with ideas, most of these are less questions than metaphors. Compared to its predecessor, iD's story may be less exciting; its metaphors, however, are fantastic.The central theme, it seems to me, is the question of power, free will, and consent. The vN are intelligent beings, but the failsafe means that they are unable to resist the sexual attraction of human beings. The failsafe makes them want it, but it also makes them incapable of choosing. At the start of the novel we see Amy and Javier living together on the island where they ended vN, but Amy refuses to have a sexual relationship with Javier because her slow upbringing and lack of a failsafe make her "just human enough" that she cannot tell if he can consent. Human beings are not so generous. They use their power over Javier to manipulate him into situations over which he has no control. It's shocking to read at times, but I found the metaphor to be clear and strong: consent is impossible to determine where there is a power imbalance.There are several other themes behind this major one. Ashby frames the question in an explicitly religious context by making the creators of the vN a religious sect, New Eden Ministries. In the prologue, the bishops and founder of this sect explicitly equate themselves with God as creator. Furthermore, Amy (who lacks the failsafe) is identified as an atheist; Javier is not, and his relationship with humans throughout the novel reflects this. There's also the continuing dehumanization of the vN - we, as readers, see the world through first Amy and then Javier's eyes and thus understand them to be intelligent beings, but in the background, in what others say, they are called dolls, inhuman, unreal. Again, I found the metaphor to be a powerful one.While the ideas are good and Javier is a great protagonist, iD is not perfect. Much of it feels like set up for the final part of the trilogy. There are some dei ex machina that make sense, but lend a certain hollowness to aspects of the novel. It is possible that ReV will be so good as to render at least the first of these complaints moot, but for now iD is a great but flawed book.

  • Michael Whiteman
    2019-06-15 22:03

    This is the sequel to vN, and in a lot of ways is more of the same. We follow Javier this time, as he goes on his quest to restore Amy after he was forced to poison her by a religious fanatic abusing his failsafe. The issues around the failsafe (which prevents vN from harming or failing to prevent harm to humans and can kill them if they do) and consent are probably the most interesting parts of the book, as Javier begged Amy to remove his but she refused, leaving him vulnerable to exploitation from humans. Otherwise, it's mostly a trip from one potential lead to another through a near-future of vN ghettos and a finale on Cosplay Island. Along the way, Javier attempts to deal with his own daddy issues and reconcile his efforts to be a decent father to his own iterations while also being essentially a living sex doll who can only influence people by seducing them, knowing at the same time that he has to go along with anything they ask from him. Despite the non-appearance of the third volume so far, this suffers from a lot of the worst middle-book syndrome symptoms, padding things out and providing a diversion before getting to the events that end this book and presumably set up the real story to come. Unfortunately, the ending itself is a mess of enemies just deciding to stop antagonising Javier, enemies deciding to actually help him, Amy saving the day and revealing she could have stopped things at any time but chose not to, a rapid-fire reconciliation between parents and children who haven't met (and the child thinks the father murdered the mother) and the removal of the failsafe worldwide. I was happy with how everything finished up but the way they got there was at best unclear and at worst made no sense. In the end, the worst parts of vN felt amplified here and the potential of the earlier book is all put on hold for a possible future sequel.

  • Lloyd Duske
    2019-06-16 15:57

    The book's pacing was quite well-set, moving from event to event quite quickly and since it was only through Javier's POV, there was less of a lull in the smoothness of the flow. I thought that this book was be a better opportunity to explore the different types of vN and maybe more different perspectives of humans toward vN or vice versa, but all we got were the same old ones like Rory and all the other Amy bots. Although this was a quick and easy read, I didn't really see the point of the entire book, as the ending really just destroys the whole quest motif Javier had going. If Amy was still alive and watching him all along, and all Rory wanted to do was kill pedophiles and not actually kill them (Rory seems to be quite fickle and useless), and all Portia did was send creepy messages to humans, then there wasn't really a point. Mecha was still around and Portia ended up helping Javier when he needed it so she wasn't a threat, Rory wasn't a threat in the end either because she just decided to forget about her entire plan, and even the whole Javier VS his failsafe/humans abusing his failsafe really failed because Amy just swooped in anyway. There wasn't a point to having this first-ever unique hybrid of Amy+Javier in their daughter either, since she only showed up at the end... and did nothing much. I felt that the ending really undid the whole book and could have been taken in a completely different direction that could have showed more of the Machine Dynasty world and maybe what Amy and Javier's daughter could do, instead of just bringing Amy back.

  • Dan
    2019-06-18 16:54

    Following on how much I liked book one, I was really looking forward to this, and it didn't disappoint. Picking up within moments of the finale of the first book, this one launches full tilt into the conflict between humans and vN, the "androids" who are essentially the other dominant species on the planet by this point. And things escalate from there, coming to yet another finale that leaves things open for another volume - which has been added to my wishlist for when it becomes available on Kindle.

  • James
    2019-06-04 21:04

    When androids dream free will.A great follow up to vN. The story extrapolates on the theme of what happens when software limited AI finds a way around the limits, will it be the end of humanity? Read on to find out!

  • Brian Gaston
    2019-06-25 17:55

    A solid SF book. An interesting take on intelligent machines. My only caveat is that I have trouble relating to the feelings of these particular IA machines (people?).

  • Greg
    2019-06-19 16:43

    Madeline Ashby’s The Machine Dynasty series takes place in a world where Christian leaders have created robots (called vN) to provide for those left behind in the event of the biblical Rapture. This has not happened, and the aftermath of their preparation is neither utopia or dystopia. What we do have is a compelling story of a person seeking retribution and redemption, who just happens to have a few more abilities than your modern man. That in a nutshell is the story of iD.The second book in The Machine Dynasty, iD is the tale of a Javier. In the first book, vN, he was the accomplice of Amy Peterson, and cause for much of the ruckus that drives the developments of the story. The shift in focus is understandable given the developments of the first book where Amy became, for intents and purposes, the most powerful being on the planet. The shift in point of view is necessary because, like Paul Atreides in Dune, Amy became too powerful to be relatable.Javier, on the other hand, lacks such power, which is frustrating given that he is a purpose-built robot. Javier and his model were designed to work in the wild and aid in reforestation efforts, thus their feature set includes the ability to jump and climb better than most other vN, as well as being able to recharge by collecting solar energy. But Ashby’s been smart in her conceptualization of robots. No one vN has every feature set, much like smartphones or laptops, and it’s those restrictions that aid in the sense of tension. The biggest restriction faced by most vN is that the sight of blood will cause them to shut down, which is a means of ensuring that vN never harm humans – a more practical version of Asimov’s three laws of robotics. All vN must also consume plastic and metal, which gives them the same basic animal drive readers can understand. That lack of superhuman ability helps to give an additional element of humanity to Javier and his kind.The frustration of this weakness, which can become anger and desperation, allows Javier to struggle for his goals in the most human of manners. He experiences a range of emotions, which previous iterations of robots, such as those by Isaac Asimov and Rudy Rucker, never did. And Ashby is well aware of this, even going so far as to state that vN are made in the image of their creators, who themselves are imperfect. This imperfection is key to making Javier a likeable and understandable protagonist.Javier’s impotent nature can be distracting though. Just about the only things he’s capable of are jumping and having sex – two features of robots that, beyond the movie AI, are rarely highlighted – because of his model’s feature set. Time and again Javier appears active, making decisions with forethought and purpose, only for his apparent actions to become shown for the reactions they are as other characters have already pre-empted. Antagonists, love interests and side characters all herd him down a gauntlet of trials and tribulations that result in a more learned and self-aware Javier at the end. At the same time it may leave the reader feeling that Javier was ineffectual in the grand scheme of things.The larger picture is actually what’s at stake in iD. Ashby’s robots are changing the world. By concentrating on one character she has brilliantly humanized an artificial person. That helps the story as a whole as the reader is never left overwhelmed by the political and cultural developments. Focusing on the story of one vN provides a narrow, understandable narrative that’s all the more interesting because it’s about the role of one robot in the grand scheme of things. The impact of robots going rogue and all the competing agendas and philosophies between humans and vN creates a dynamic world that few other authors actualize. The Machine Dynasty is not a world of dichotomies but shades of gray with vibrant flashes of color that offset the horror humans and creations are so intent on causing to their own kind, with the kindness and heart of a love story.Madeline Ashby is asking a lot of interesting questions with her books, which is what you hope for in good speculative fiction. And while she isn’t breaking new ground, her reimagining of robots and how they could be anthropomorphized makes for excellent reading. iD has pushed The Machine Dynasty farther towards an uncertain yet entertaining future where robots rebel, but to what end we won’t know until the next book. In the meantime, if iD is where you where you want to start then you should have no problem understanding and enjoying the world that Ashby has created.*Note: This review was original posted on Adventures in SciFi Publishing at http://www.adventuresinscifipublishin...

  • Mieneke
    2019-06-07 15:57

    vN was one of my favourite debuts for 2012, only beaten out by Tanya Byrne's Heart-Shaped Bruise. I loved Amy's story and the world Ashby created. I was looking forward to returning to the world and seeing how the developments of the last book would echo through this one.While iD is just as great as vN, it's the complete polar opposite of its predecessor. vN dealt with the child-like and innocent Amy who was forced to grow up fast, while Javier is far more adult, though younger in actual years than Amy. As a consequence, where vN might even have been marketed as a crossover novel, iD is definitely for adults, as Javier's story clearly investigates the less savoury side of people's connections to vN, with large roles for Jonah Lemarque and the son he victimised.After the events of vN, Javier, Amy and his kids have settled down with other vN on what is just known as 'the island', the heap of electronic waste material Amy is able to control and mould into a habitable place. We pick up the story from here, but this time the story is told from Javier's point of view. We learn of his past, of how he was forced to grow up fast, how his dad abandoned him in a prison and how he got out. I found his story fascinating, because despite all that had happened to him, Javier remains a hopeful character, always striving to create a better future for himself and the ones he loves. Also interesting to see how he experiences failsaving, the shorting-out that happens to vN when they either commit or see violence against a human being. The fact that he shorts out on Amy, asks interesting questions about what makes one human. The one fundamental difference between Amy and other vN is her broken failsafe, which in essence means that she's regained free will.The book is darker, especially toward the end, with Javier encountering the darker side of humanity and being used to do things against his will. The way the failsafe enables people to force Javier into having sex and the consequences implied and shown – there is at least one encounter shown that I'd classify as rape – might be triggering for people, but it's also a crucial plot element in iD—it's why Javier does what he does, it's why Amy refuses to sleep with him, as she feels it would be taking advantage of her impact on his Turing system. It's an interesting look at sexual power politics in which one half dominates the other due to – in this case literal – programming that, especially in light of the current discussions on equality in SFF-dom, makes for a powerful social commentary.The way the vN are treated by the humans and the plans humanity has for dealing with 'the vN problem', particularly in light of the fact that the expected Rapture hasn't happened, is horrific and in some ways can be seen as a final solution variant. I found it shocking and perhaps that reinforces the fact that Ashby's succeeded very well in making the vN's into full-fledged entities, who should have rights and privileges just as much as humans. I loved the resolution to this attack though, it was a clever way to subvert humanity's treachery.The ending of the novel rather took me by surprise as I hadn't expected it to end on that note and as such the epilogue confused me a little at first, but after rereading, it made sense and left me feeling triumphant and hopeful for our protagonists' future. With iD Ashby closes out an excellent duology, one that is both thought-provoking and extremely entertaining. Hopefully a third book will be given the go-ahead and we'll see more of Javier and Amy and their family, but I look forward to reading whatever Ashby comes up with next.This book was provided for review by the publisher.

  • Bibliotropic
    2019-06-15 20:45

    In the previous novel in the series, vN, Ashby introduces us to Amy, and we follow her story of self-discovery in a futuristic world where humanoid robots have been created to fulfill a person’s every whim. And I do mean every whim, because yes, pedophilia is touched upon in this series, and the future is not entirely a comfortable place.In this sequel, we instead follow Javier, Amy’s companion and love. Where much of vN had a focus on finding a sense of self and learning about who you are when developing from a child to an adult, much of Javier’s point of view centres around sex. Which isn’t done just to be edgy and erotic, but because for much of his life, Javier saw himself in how he related sexually to others. Specifically, humans. The story starts with him remembering how often he was oh-so-kindly disregarded and put down by sexual partners, because in being vN, he was a disposable pleasure toy and not a partner.After being forced into poisoning Amy, Javier leaves their island home and goes on a search for her backup, to try to restore her. Along the way we see flashbacks of what was considered his childhood, his awkward relationship with his father (ie, the vN who iterated him), and seeing how he grew into the person we see during the main part of the story was supremely interesting. In vN we got to see some of Javier, and he definitely played a major role in the story, but with the focus being entirely on him now, we get to learn so much more about him, and we also get to see how Ashby shines as a character writer. Her characters are wonderfully flawed, gritty, idealistic, so very real that you close the book feeling like you’ve just been talking to friends in your living room, not reading about them in pages.Javier’s approach to sex may cause some consternation in readers, because while he certainly uses it to his advantages as he travels and seeks information, his view on it is highly subjective. From a rape early in the story (which caused him to feel guilt over the act in spite of being forced into it via his failsafe) to later and more willing sexual encounters to gain what he wanted from others (which he demonstrated less guilt over), it may come across as very inconsistent. I can somewhat see where the distinction lay and why he would feel less guilt over a willing encounter than a forced one (obviously), but I would still have expected him to feel somewhat more guilt over the willing encounters due to his feelings for Amy. It’s a very complex thing, and I’m not completely convinced it was conveyed well in the story.Also of note is the way Ashby inserted a few non-English languages into the mix, which was a combination of both good and bad. Good in that it was done realistically, in places where there would actually be languages other than English spoken or written. Bad in that, well, while I could understand the French and Japanese, my Spanish leaves something to be desired, and there were many lines that I simply were lost on. Nothing essential to the plot, thankfully, but I was still left with the feeling that I missed something. Keep a few language dictionaries handy, or be prepared to Google some things.From Javier’s search for Amy and the search for peace and growth within himself, we get a very interesting story that expands on what was established in vN, and this is one sci-fi series not to be missed. Ashby has a wonderful imagination, an eye for detail, and characters that I don’t want to part from. From the beginning of the first book to the end of the second, I was hooked, and I’m eagerly looking forward to anything that Ashby does in the future.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-25 21:47

    I was really excited for the second book in this series about ai written by a woman author. I love getting to see scifi topics like ai explored from a woman’s perspective. So I was a bit disappointed to have the story shift focus from a woman in the first book (Amy) to a man in the second (Javier).Ripping Amy out from under us is an interesting choice. On the one hand, I appreciate series that switch perspectives like this because we get to see more of the world of the novel and gain a clearer understanding of it. On the other hand, part of why I liked the series to begin with was that we were seeing a powerful female robot for once. So I was skeptical about this choice at first. Ultimately, however, the perspective switch worked for me because it basically is following the hero’s sidekick when the hero is decommissioned. It’s still interesting to see the gender swap happening in the sidekick. It’s also interesting because although Javier is male, he’s also a robot with a failsafe, so he is more akin to an enslaved person than to a humanoid free male. It’s interesting but it saddens me that this perspective makes it seem like things like trading sex for travel are the only options for people in that situation. Sex is power, yes, but it’s not the only tool women have available to them. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that the book seems to be saying that anyone in that situation, regardless of gender, would use these resources because they have to. I can see not having a lot of choices. And I can understand having to choose to do something you don’t morally want to do because the end result is so needed. But I would expect to see a lot of soul searching and thought process behind that choice because it is still a choice. Javier doesn’t seem to do much choosing or thinking, and I think that’s not a fair representation of what it actually is like to be a woman. We still have choices, and because it’s not always easy to do precisely what we want to do, what choice we make takes more thoughtfulness, if anything. There’s not always a good choice available. But there are always choices. I would like to have seen Javier doing more thinking and choosing between different difficult choices rather than seeing himself as having to do X to get to Z.The world building is still strong in this book. Instead of being stuck on an island for the whole time, the events in the beginning of the book allow us to see much of the world, not just America, through the eyes of Javier. There is, unfortunately, quite a bit of confusion in the world at this time so it’s difficult to understand precisely what is going on or how the world got to this place. I believe this is just the situation that is typical of a second book in a series (or the third book in the trilogy), so I expect a lot of the confusion to clear up in the third book. If anything the mystery increased with this book, which is not a bad thing.Overall, this book builds further on the world presented in vN through the eyes of Amy’s male sidekick, Javier. Some of the precise effects of the gender swapping and queering of gender in the robots isn’t as well thought-out as it could be but this does not detract from the interesting perspective on artificial intelligence presented by Ashby. Fans of the first book should hold out beyond the first couple of chapters and give Javier a chance as our guide through the world. The perspective he brings is still unique to the world of ai scifi.Check out my full review.Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Tsana Dolichva
    2019-06-23 15:53

    iD by Madeline Ashby is the sequel to vN, which I reviewed last year. It picks up not too long after the first book ended and deals with the consequences of events in the first book. This review will contain some spoilers for vN but not for iD. It's also the kind of series you have to read in order for it to make sense; iD depends on a lot of worldbuilding laid down in vN.iD starts with Amy and Javier, our two protagonists from vN, living a reasonably idyllic life with Javier's kid (from the first book) treating them both as his parents... and then of course, everything goes horribly wrong. The majority of the book follows Javier as he tries to fix things (like the world and his life). We also learn much more about his character — who was more of a friend/sidekick figure in book 1 — and about his past. Amy isn't in it very much.The first book dealt a lot with sentience and humanity through Amy, a vN without a failsafe. (The failsafe being the coding which makes the vN shutdown/bluescreen/die if they harm a human or through inaction allow a human to come to harm.) By contrast, Javier has an intact failsafe and his story is more about exploring his identity independent of humans and interrelationally with humans. The reader is confronted more often with the reason why vN make good prostitutes/lovers — because the failsafe makes them want to make humans happy, they feel compelled to be good lovers even though they might not normally be interested. What constitutes rape when it's done to a robot? Is sentience enough to condemn it as a deplorable act or does the fact that the vN don't feel pain mean it isn't really rape? These and other interesting questions are addressed as we follow Javier's journey.I have to say, I didn't enjoy reading Javier's character as much as Amy's. Not because he was badly written or anything, more just a matter of personal preference. I was interested to see what would happen next, what was going on in the world and how it was all going to turn out, but I felt ambivalent towards Javier. I can see why Amy wasn't the point of view character this time, but I do hope Javier isn't the focus of the next book. Maybe one of the kids will be.I originally thought this was a duology, although in retrospect that's probably because I've read so many Angry Robot duologies recently rather than any specific marketing I saw. I did think it was going to wrap up until I got to the end and then BAM! Epilogue! So I'm fairly confident there'll be a sequel even if the internet won't confirm that. And I look forward to reading it. The epilogue set up a potentially very interesting book three.I enjoyed iD and I definitely suggest reading it if you enjoyed vN. If you're new to the series, I highly recommend it to fans of science fiction and/or robots and suggest starting with book 1. I look forward to reading about this world and the characters in future books.3.5 / 5 starsYou can read more of my reviews on my blog.

  • Deniz
    2019-06-24 16:48

    ARC was provided by Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 StarsJust like in vN the first book of the series Ashby wowed me with her world-building. I love the concept of 3D printers that can print food, clothes ect but also the concept of reproducing Androids. While vN was Amy's story, iD is Javiers. It's written from his point of view. And there are many back-flashes of his life before he met Amy. The story picks up exactly where vN stopped. While I think it's preferable to have read the first book, this could even work as a standalone. The only connection actually being that this is set after previous story. The plot is often fast paced, there is action, violence, sex and some really good geek humor as well. I think the pacing was better in this one than in the first one. I love how different this feels in compare to the first book, but it still is totally connected to it. There were several twists in the story that I really didn't anticipate. Ashby managed to keep me on my toes through the entire book.This is Javiers book, as far as I'm concerned. I really liked him in the first book, having seen him through Amy's Eyes. Seeing the world through his eyes was interesting and very different. Amy's POV in vN was obviously way more naive and childish, with her being so young and inexperienced. Javier's view is much darker. I really enjoyed getting to slowly know his past and understanding why he did certain things. The amazing thing though was how little I cared for the humans! Ashby had me totally siding with the vN. I think this has to do with two factors: I could easily connect with Javier, his short-comings and weaknesses but also that Ashy wrote such good human villains. The humans that these vN interact with were all terribly broken and flawed. Ashby writes them amazingly, just write, not to much so they would become cartoonish, but rather very human and in some ways likeable, which makes them even creepier. I think the character building is way better in this book than in the first, which is the main reason why I rated it higher than the first book.The world-building is once more ore inspiring. Ashby created a weird and enticing world in vN and she didn't miss a beat in iD as well. I kinda expected unique after reading vN, but Ashby managed to vow me over and over again, definitely exceeded way beyond my expectations.The writing is really good. I enjoyed Ashby's beautiful descriptions as much as the well written action scenes. The best part of her writing in my opinion is her humor and her cool geek references.The interesting thing about the series is, that the first book left me mind-blown by the world building and with the question how much vN were like humans. iD left me with way more philosophical questions, questions of humanity, justice and choices.

  • Shaheen
    2019-06-23 16:44

    Taking up close to where vN left off, iD follows Javier's journey to set things right after everything goes wrong on Amy's island. Although I liked the book well enough, I feel that some of the magic was missing, and I'm not convinced that Javier is as compelling a protagonist as Amy was.Javier makes a few silly decisions throughout this book, and the idea behind them is that he lacks the freedom to have done anything differently. While the focus of vN was very much about the rights that a robot can expect in the human world, iD closely explores the consequences of the failsafe in robots. The failsafe ensures that robots freeze or blue-screen if they harm a human being, or witness harm being done to a human being and fail to interfere (like Asimov's three rules, but subtly different). The failsafe is the reason that Javier, initially programmed for the use of humans to gratify their ... cravings, is especially vulnerable. The question of whether a human can rape a robot, especially one that is compelled to do everything it can to make sure humans are happy, is at the forefront of this story. I'm not sure how I felt about it. I think it's an interesting, compelling question to ask, but I soon tired of just how many sexual interactions there are in the book. It made me deeply uncomfortable to see Javier treated that way, and to see him use sex as a tool to get the answers he was after. But this is very much the idea behind the book.I liked getting to see other communities of robots, and especially learning what they thought of Amy, her rebellion, and her island. I think these interactions provided a lot of information about lives of different castes of robots. The world has also expanded so we get a feel for what humans feel about robots as well - the last book was filled with humans who wanted to control Amy because her failsafe wasn't working, but this book features humans on a broader spectrum.I had difficulty connecting with the plot of iD - something about it failed to engage with me. Most of this can be attributed to the change in protagonist - as I outlined before, he failed to really click with me. However, I also think this book is less thrilling in general, and iD feels like it was extended or padded out. A lot of the action could have been condensed into a shorter, punchier book, in my opinionOverall, iD is an enjoyable read, but I struggled with the changes in protagonist and focus. I liked getting to know the story-world a lot better, and am still sufficiently invested in the characters to be excited about the next book in the sequence.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.

  • AmandaSOTP
    2019-06-05 14:59

    This series started with vN which followed Amy, a robot made for the pleasure of humans. In Amy's case, her owner treated her as a person and kept her innocent like a child as long as he could. We are presented with the idyllic setting of a human caring for a vN as if it were a human child and teaching it while it aged but didn't grow, but Amy was an unusual case. Most vN were created to do work for us, to be there for us in any and every way imaginable, and with a built-in failsafe preventing them from ever harming us. And when I say 'every way imaginable' that is the truth. Most of the vN have been used by humans for their sexual pleasure and do not know that not everyone wants to have sex with them. In a way, even the 'adult' vN are like children. iD picks up where vN leaves off with Amy and Javier on the oasis Amy has created as a sanctuary for vN. But soon the seclusion they have fought so hard for is destroyed and Javier is on his own searching for Amy. Javier, unlike Amy, was not raised as a child loved by parents. His father abandons him soon after Javier is iterated (how the vN reproduce) and Javier finds himself in jail. From there he makes his way through life, iterating his sons, and struggling to provide for himself. He learns that humans want him in sexual ways, and he uses that to his advantage.After reading other reviews, I thought perhaps I was missing something while reading this book. However, I think it's that I am not as sensitive as others to certain topics. The sex scenes depicted were not overly detailed or offensive and they served the purpose that the author intended by including them.The author reveals much about the darker side of the human's plans for the vN and while some will see these instances of sex and depravity that made Javier who he is as gratuitous, they are not. They provide an insight into the lives of the vN and makes you question not only your own reactions to the scenes, but also to question, can robots be human? Do they feel like we do or is it only because we have programmed them to? Are we taking advantage of them or is it our right since we created them?The book takes many aspects of robot and human coexistence into question and while it seems to conclude rather quickly, it draws out so many thought provoking ides, that you hardly notice it's over till you're left wanting to know more.I highly recommend this for anyone who likes 'what if' science fiction books. This isn't hardcore science fiction, but it will certainly make you wonder long after you finish it.

  • Peter
    2019-06-04 14:45

    iD picks up where vN leaves off, except it focuses on vN Javier, who's found love with Amy but still has his failsafe that makes doing harm to humans unthinkable. And that fact is used against him, to force him into betraying his love. Once that's done, he must go on a quest for redemption, falling on his old techniques of charm and seduction to find someone who might have a backup copy of Amy's personality. The book deals with many of the same themes as the first one, but even less subtly. That sounds like a criticism, but really, it's more mixed than that, and it does some good hammering home the point of the horror of being forced to be in love with any human you come across, but at the same time it's hard to be excited about it. The ideas aren't as novel the second time over, and there's very little new, and some of the villainous characters are even more cartoonish than they were before. Focusing as it does on a character who's mainly survived as a gigolo boytoy, there's a fair bit of sex in the book, mostly, but not exclusively, of the male-on-male variety and some of it fairly explicit. This may put some readers off... personally, it doesn't bother me, but nor does it even give me the undercurrent of enjoyment that straight sex might (although, given the context that much of the sex occurs, perhaps it's for the best that it doesn't trigger pleasurable feelings), so mostly it just didn't interest me. The only thing that stood out for me positively, beyond just "more of the same" was that I did like the bit at the beginning, where one of the people who develop the failsafe is somebody who acts a bit robotic himself... I'm not sure it entirely paid off by the end, but it was a nice bit on it's own. Overall, it feels like one of those movie sequels where it doesn't take many chances with the storytelling, it just attempts to replicate mostly what you liked in the first one, with a couple twists. Like Men In Black 2... fans of the first one can enjoy it, but it doesn't quite capture the magic. And in that regard (assuming the sexual content doesn't put you off) it's largely going to be successful. I certainly enjoyed it. I'll probably read book three, if there's a sequel. I'm just not as excited over it as I was the first.