Willful Machines by Tim Floreen (5 out of 5)
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I’ve read some pretty crappy books in the young adult arena lately. I mean, really. About 10 different ones in the past month that didn’t warrant the time spent on them. Happily, this one exceeded my impossible expectations. I mean, look at that ominous cover! You knew this sucker was going to be a sweet read. And it was. I think the closest I can compare this to is William Gibson, who wrote many sci-fi classics in years past (and a favorite of mine). But for teens. Winner, winner, Charlotte is going to make you dinner.
Charlotte? Who’s Charlotte? She- it- is an artificial human created by scientists in our future times. As things of this nature often develop, Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the public at large, and begins attacking the American public at will. Blame the machines? This is what happens. Except is she a machine? Is she AI? What or whom is Charlotte? Whatever Charlotte is, she’s wrecking holy hell everywhere she goes, and America is terrified- except for Lee, the son of our current POTUS. Lee’s got his own bag of worries to be anxious over- namely, whether it will get out that he has a crush on a fellow young man at school named Nico and that he’s in the closet, pawing relentlessly at the door to get out. Lee’s recently tried to kill himself, and those sort of revelations are the type of things that a Secret Service detail will go to great lengths to conceal. However, Lee’s own brand of ignorance comes back to bite him big time when things start going haywire at his school and around him in general, and he quickly realizes that not only is Charlotte after HIM, but that his infatuation with Nico may not only result in letting that cat out of the bag, but that Nico could also be used as a pawn in Charlotte’s big game play to crush Lee underfoot. Can Lee figure out what her next move is, save himself and Nico from harm, as well as the world,a and can he be honest about his life and who he really is, and learn to be happy? First, he must save the world. Can he do it?
This book- Wow. Just wow. Really not more that I can say than that. I haven’t been this excited about a young adult book in a long, while. This is an ever encompassing tilt-a-whirl that Floreen takes us on, but you can’t help but be drawn into this world and turn those pages. I seriously couldn’t put this book down, and couldn’t wait to see how it ends. Lee is a great character, and although Nico took awhile to warm up to, once I got into those characters, I couldn’t wait to see how it played out. That ending? Well, I can safely say that I didn’t see it coming, and I really hope there is a sequel. I really hope there is. An excellent book for the young adult sci-fi fans to dig into once it’s released. Willful Machines will be out on October 20, 2015, courtesy of Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster’s teen imprint. READ IT once it comes out. You won’t be sorry!