Summer Reading: vN

Cover vNI’ve just finished vN by Madeline Ashby, and I’ve got to admit that I felt  a little out of my depth reading it, but now that I am finished, I think I should start reading SciFi a little more.

Amy is a vN, a self replicating humanoid robot, being slowly grown to have a more human childhood in her mixed family of human father and android mother. She is five, graduating kindergarten, when her grandmother make’s an appearance, threatening Amy’s mother. Amy reacts promptly and eats her grandmother alive. And with her grandmother lurking in her memory circuits, authorities, among others, trying to catch her, as her mailfunctioning failsafe means she is a danger to society, she is on the run, trying to come to grips with the world and herself.

Apart from the techno babble about Amy’s composition, which I didn’t get at all (I decided I didn’t have to understand), this book drew me in from the start, making it very hard to put down. Amy’s story is engrossing and exciting, and her experiences are vivid and her reasoning clear. I like the supporting cast, I like most of the world building, though too much is hinted at and not explained/shown.

But at some point I began finding it difficult to keep track of things, like I had been skipping pages (which I hadn’t). Things got too technical without prober clarification, Amy’s goals started to blur, and things just seemed out of sync.

Especially the ending frustrated me, and in several ways.

  • The writing itself is very unclear and abstract. I had to reread paragraphs several times and they still didn’t make sense.
  • The storytelling choices baffled me. Shifting POV in the end was incredibly frustrating, as much as I like Javier, I don’t want to read his view on things, I want to read Amy’s, I want to know what it is like for her, I want her reasoning, I want her emotions. (I think Madeline Ashby wanted clear up any doubt about Javier’s emotions, but since I never doubted them, it was totally unnecesary)
  • And the ending itself is frustrating. It feels like Amy in a way reverts back to who she was when the book started, which is just stupid.

Though vN left me feeling more frustrated than good is, I am going to read the sequel, iD, which I hope will be more concise and hopefully give a little more nuanced view of the human/android relationships.

My summer holiday is coming to an end, and though work is now going to cut in to drain away my time and energy I will still stick to my reading plan. Next up is Nevil Shute’s A Town like Alice.




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