Title: Machine Metal Magic
Series: Mind + Machine: Book One
Author: Hanna Dare
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 204 Pages
At a Glance: Fans of SciFi adventure with a little romance on the side should find plenty to enjoy in Machine Metal Magic. The warmth, emotion, and humor in the story was a welcome surprise.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The galaxy’s a dangerous place. Best not to travel it alone.
It’s been over a century since the AIs rose up and attacked, driving humans from Earth and leaving them scattered across the galaxy. Humanity survives, but always fearful of the technology that allows them travel among the stars, never knowing when it may turn against them once more.
An interstellar fugitive.
For Jaime Bashir, born with the ability to communicate telepathically with computers, his gifts are more of a curse. They also make him a target. On the run, he finds himself among a starship crew, one transporting a mysterious cargo. Even more intriguing is Rylan, the muscled guard watching his every move. Jaime has no reason to trust him, but nowhere else to turn.
A disgraced ex-soldier.
Rylan Slate is looking to leave his past behind. Joining a crew of smugglers is one way to do it. But capturing Jaime is both an opportunity and a danger. He starts out as a prisoner, but then becomes something more, testing loyalties in ways Rylan never expected. Will regaining his honor mean betraying Jaime?
Review: Set in a galaxy far, far away, in a society that’s still recovering from the aftermath of its reliance on the artificial intelligence that evolved, embraced its own sentience—its collective individualism, if you will—and then rose up against the humans who’d created it to form its own governing body called the Singularity, Machine Metal Magic gives rein to Hanna Dare’s imagination in some thoroughly entertaining ways. Including the wizards who can communicate with the technology that humans are now rightfully fearful of. The opposite side of that same coin, however, is that humans are none too fond of the wizards either, which is a misnomer but is what those who are capable of mind-machine-interface are called.
It’s better than being called a mutant.
Jaime Bashir is a wizard who is on the run. His past is revealed through memories that are the cause of his night terrors, and I liked him from the moment he was introduced. Dare gives him a world-weariness which is earned and that exceeds his age, and yet there’s also no doubt he’s young. There’s a good-natured confidence to him that comes with youth and which allows him to adapt to all the situations he’s confronted with after he’s captured by a smuggler from the ship The Wayward Prince. Trust me when I say, there are plenty of confrontations and danger to Jaime along the way, not the least of which includes that he’s got a bounty on his head, is captured by an extremist group that calls themselves Purists—so infer from that what you will—and he’s playing keep-away from the Commonwealth government. He quickly graduates from prisoner to crewmember on the Prince, which resolves and then further complicates things along the way. And he also discovers some things about his childhood that offer up a bit more backstory to how he ended up a part of the MMI and which adds to the world-building Dare metes out.
Rylan Slate is the ex-soldier turned smuggler who finds Jaime in the forest on a planet outpost, and let’s just say their meeting was an inauspicious occasion during which Rylan discovered firsthand exactly what Jaime is capable of. Rylan is exactly what you’d expect him to be, as an ex member of the military. He’s also carrying some secrets of his own, which means he isn’t anything like a warm and fuzzy or trusting kind of guy. That doesn’t mean he isn’t likeable, though, quite the opposite, actually. I ended up liking him a lot, and love, especially, how he evolved with Jaime. There was a brooding affection there that grows into an obvious love and trust by story’s end when all of his secrets are revealed.
The crew of The Wayward Prince are smugglers. Smugglers, not pirates (they remind readers), and there is a camaraderie and honor among them that made them feel a lot like a family. Captain Sebastian Garcia is a rogue and is witty too, and Rylan’s expectation of Garcia to behave like the Captain rather than the scoundrel he his was charming. I’m looking forward to getting to know Garcia better in his own book. The mysterious cargo being carried aboard his ship—an operation that was arranged by Rylan and promises a big payoff upon delivery—winds up causing a lot more trouble than the crew bargained for, for Rylan and Jaime in particular, and plays a key role in the political machinations thrust upon the Prince and her crew.
Fans of SciFi adventure with a little romance on the side should find plenty to enjoy in Machine Metal Magic. The warmth, emotion, and humor in the story was a welcome surprise. Dare’s storytelling is engaging, and her writing is addictive—I started this book and didn’t want to stop. And, in fact, I bought book two and pre-ordered book three before I’d made it halfway through this one, if that’s any indication how much I enjoyed the author’s delivery.
You can buy Machine Metal Magic here:
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