Monday, June 1, 2020

Sophia Rose Reviews: Network Effect by Martha Wells, Narrated by Kevin R Free

Today I'm welcoming Sophia Rose again to the blog to review a Sci-Fi #5 in the Murderbot  Diaries, Network Effect by Martha Wells, Narrated by Kevin R Free.

Network Effect by Martha Wells, Narrated by Kevin R Free
#5 Murderbot Diaries
Publisher:  Recorded Books
Published:  5.5.20
Time:  12 hours 48 minutes
Rating: 5
Narrator Rating: 5
Format:  MP3 Digital
Source:  Recorded Books
Sellers:  Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo

Add to: GoodReads   
GoodReads Blurb:
You know that feeling when you're at work, and you've had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot.

I'm usually alone in my head, and that's where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

Sophia Rose's Review:

Murderbot is back in a full-length novel.  Be still my wry, lethal Sec Unit-loving heart!  This futuristic space sci-fi series is an easy favorite and I tuned into Kevin Free's sensational narrative of this latest adventure with high anticipation that was met and then some.

Network Effect is the fifth in this tightly connected series of space adventure stories that do best in order.

In the last book, Murderbot went home to Preservation with Mensa as it's sponsor and found family life a bit stressful with all those weird, confusing human emotions to deal with from those around it so allows itself to be persuaded to go as Security Unit for a family scientific research trip with Mensa's daughter and brother in law along with some other familiar faces as crew.  Naturally, it all goes sideways not long in and it's corralling humans, fighting off attackers, encountering interesting surprises, sci-fi mysteries, and doing it in a way that no human can.

Network Effect is narrated entirely by Murderbot and I love how this author seems to hit the right balance between not-human and yet a character that the reader/listener can connect with easily when it comes to its personality and actions.  The Murderbot world is a colorful and exciting well-designed future setting that easily expands to draw in more details and curiosities.

The action is interspersed with humorous and many times thoughtful character development moments though the overall plot builds the suspense toward a riveting climax that I couldn't have paused if the house were on fire.  There are some good twists and a bit of a sci-fi mystery that layered with the action scenes.  The cast of characters around Murderbot included a few surprises as well that I loved.

I've listened to Kevin Free narrate early books in the series and love how he interprets the Murderbot character and voices others both human and not.  He catches the right tone and pace so that reflective moments and action scenes are equally engaging.

In summary, there was nothing about Network Effect that I didn't love and I was disappointed when the latest story came to an end.  Another year to wait for more Murderbot and I can't wait to see what comes of a friend's offer and maybe the appearance of more Three.  Those who enjoy sci-fi adventures should definitely pick up this series.

My thanks to Recorded Books for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:

Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novel is The Harbors of the Sun in 2017, the final novel in The Books of the Raksura series. She has a new series, The Murderbot Diaries, published by She was also the lead writer for the story team of Magic: the Gathering's Dominaria expansion in 2018. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, an ALA/YALSA Alex Award, two Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in sixteen languages.

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:


  1. Sophia Rose great review and I absolutely love when you said " Be still my wry, lethal Sec Unit-loving heart!" I have heard of her but never read her and I am a Sci-Fi fan LIVE LONG AND PROSPER right. Thanks I may have to give this series a try.

    1. This is a series I feel total fandom for. I think you'd get a kick out of Murderbot. He'd be a Spock fan, I just know it. :)

  2. I agree with Debbie, great review for this and glad it was such a great read for you!

    1. Why thank you! I came across this series when Kimberly and Anne reviewed the first book and I've been loving it ever since. :)

  3. I an glad to see you enjoyed this one. I hope to get to this seriea soon. Great review.

    1. Yes, it will be the best fun for you, Nadene. :)

  4. I have heard such great things about this series - glad it's still going strong. I have the first one on my audible wish list. Thanks S!

    1. I was so relieved when they announced this fifth book because I was worried that there would only be those first four. Audible is the way to go with these. :)

  5. Yay.. glad you loved it too! This series is fantastic on audio.

    1. It sure is. I've only listened to two on audio, but I'd love to go back and get the whole series that way in a re-read.

  6. Not something I would normally pick up, but sounds pretty interesting. Hugs, RO

    1. Exactly. It's pretty unique among sci-fis combining several elements.

  7. Murderbot sounds like an entertaining character with the balance of being a non-human, yet being able to connect to readers. I'm glad you're enjoying this series, and that the audio delivers. A year feels so long to wait when you are anticipating the next book in a much loved series.

    Lindy@ Bookish Escape

    1. Yes, it is a special gift that as a writer she created a character that isn't human and has no desire to be human, but humans can relate to. :)

      Oh man, the wait will be long. :)