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Thanks to NetGalley and Atria for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: November 3rd, 2020

256 Pages

Synopsis: 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 movie, 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 doesn’t 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 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 Bladerunner.

The Preserve is a fun, fast-paced futuristic techno-thriller that had me thoroughly engrossed for the couple of hours it took me to read it. While the storyline is fictional, some of the political and societal issues involved mirror what’s happening in the real world, and I appreciated their thoughtful yet not heavy handed inclusion. As I often find when reading a novella, I think the plot and its interesting characters especially Jesse and Kir, could have benefited from the book being a little lengthier, but this is strictly a personal opinion. Overall I highly enjoyed The Preserve and can easily picture it being adapted for a tv series or movie. I highly recommend this for fans of science fiction fare like Westworld and Ex Machina.