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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Blog Tour & Review: The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter

The Preserve 
by Ariel S. Winter

Thank you Atria Books for this stop on the blog tour and review copy.

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler
Publish Date: November 3, 2020
256 Pages
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Thriller

The critically acclaimed author of the “bold, innovating, and thrilling” (Stephen King) novel The Twenty-Year Death and the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel Barren Cove returns with a dark and compelling mystery set in the near future.

Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.

Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.

The Preserve is a fresh and futuristic mystery that is perfect for fans of Westworld and Blade Runner.

“[E]ntertaining... fun, twisty mystery.” Publishers Weekly

“Winter does his worldbuilding gracefully… Robots may not be so different from humans in this fast-paced futuristic mystery.” Kirkus Reviews


“Winter reveals his world slowly and subtly, forcing you to follow his trail of clues even as his detectives follow their own—unraveling two mysteries at once. In sparse, hardboiled prose, he invests real warmth into a human/robot friendship and finds time between shootouts to ask fascinating questions about the future of both species.” —Isaac Marion, New York Times bestselling author of Warm Bodies

My Review:

Robots? ✔ Murder? ✔ Sign me UP! Oh... this is a dystopian future where mankind has been almost completely depleted by a plague and complex AIs are now the ruling majority? Oh, and the robot government decided to say some of the preserves can be designated human areas where there will be no robot interference.  Sound a bit familiar? 😉 Clever.

I'm a bit torn with this read.  Concept is fantastic.  It's moderately paced and we get a lot of story for 239 pages but I do wish it was a bit longer and incorporated more background to how the robots took over and maybe expanded to see if any humans lived among the robots and what that would look like.  I'm super curious about it!  More robots please!  I'm a crime fiction kinda girl as y'all know... so for the police procedural part of this book, it was a fun murder mystery... I think I just wanted more sci-fi. 🤷 

Basically, concept is amazing, loved the idea of the layers within this new society but needed more expansion and less surface level type world building. Am I mad I read it? Not at all.  It has all the ingredients that would normally wet my appetite... it just didn't quite hit that sweet spot.

Definitely give this a go if it intrigues you and see what you think of it.  I'm in the minority here so go look at other reviews before passing this up.


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