In this third installment in The Murderbot Diaries series, Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells, Murderbot (a part-human, part android who no longer works for a corporation, having been freed by his scientist friend) goes looking for answers to some nagging questions. Why did the corporation that used to own him as a Security Unit (SecUnit) abandon a terraforming project? Is GrayCris involved in more deception? If so, and they weren't really terraforming at all, what were they up to?
As in the second book, Artificial Condition, a good portion of Rogue Protocol is set-up to the action that takes place in the last third or so as Murderbot goes through a space port and figures out how to get to its destination without drawing attention to itself. Once Murderbot arrives at its destination, it figures out a way to tag along with a group going to check out the abandoned station and, in the process, is obligated to make friends with one of the group's personal androids, Miki, who turns out to be smarter and more sensitive to nuance than expected.
Then, the action really begins. While Rogue Protocol and the previous book spent much of the time building to the exciting scenes, it doesn't matter one bit because there's always something happening. Unexpected extra passengers on the ship that obligate poor Murderbot to cram itself into a closet, for example. There are lots of little twists and turns and plenty of grumpy humor on the part of Murderbot. I did surprise myself by predicting one of the plot twists in this one but again, it didn't bother me. I just kind of nodded to myself and kept on enjoying the book.
Highly recommended - I bought the entire Murderbot Diaries series on a whim and pre-ordered the newest release before my book-buying ban began, so I've got more fun Murderbot reading ahead. Because most of the books are short (only one is novel length, so far; the rest are novellas) and action-packed, they make great slump breakers. Best whim ever. It was risky buying an entire series without having even read the first but I trusted my friend Alyce's recommendation and I'm so glad I did.
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