I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Viral Series #1
Published by Gecko Print Publishing on 14 December 2017
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction
Source: the author
The world has become a place of comfort, where a shopping trip means heading to the first floor to collect new food tubes for the printer. Menial tasks, like cleaning up or cooking, are relegated to robots, and Robert’s job while finishing school is to maintain them. With only three classes remaining, he’s hoping for something better.Amazon • Buy the Book •
Then everything starts to glitch:
the robots, the building, and even the people.
What starts as glitchy videos, misbehaving touch-screens, and random fighting, grows into a race against time to fix the problem before it escalates. Maybe he can land a cushy programming job in the process, but this virus is more than it appears...
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Mild Violence, Mention of Suicide
“You might say that the true consciousness of human beings isn’t in one person, but in our economy, or our trade. Perhaps we’re all part of a larger organism that’s still growing. We’re spread into space. There are colonies on Mars and the moon. Perhaps that’s the growth of the being that is the human race.”
Welcome to the wonderful world of robots! This is the future techie’s have dreamed of: the implant that lets them communicate with computers, automated robots that do all the physical jobs, and even your food and clothes are freshly printed every day. Of course something is going to go wrong.
Our main character, Robert, works on market level robots; ones that clean and stock shelves and shopping carts that follow customers around (oh, how I would love that one!). He’s ambitious, but not exactly a people person, having just a couple of close friends and a crush he stalks on. It’s nice to know some things will never change. We feel your pain, Robert.
Amanda is our lead female. She’s less of a techie, having a job printing out food at a sandwich shop Robert frequents. I can’t say I particularly like her character. She’s not ambitious, has a meat-head boyfriend, and only seems to want a well respected man around so she can get a license to have a baby. Tsk, tsk.
The world McConnell created allows for the characters to live in one building for their entire lives. The living apartments, shopping centers, farms, waste management and everything else is located in their own building, so there’s no need to leave the comfort of their own building. I would have liked to see a broader scope of this. Mainly we see the shopping floor and the living quarters, with a peek at the farms on the roof and a bit of the school. I know there has to be a gym in there with a very advanced Wii fit, or was the Jetson’s awesome hairstylist machine ever made? I want to see more than just the food tubes!
The book does have a gorgeous plot- a virus infecting systems in a world were everything relies on computers and robots. BUT it often becomes slow and repetitive, and if readers are not into coding I’m afraid they might get lost in some of the jargon. Putting that aside for the moment, the ultimate sci-fi question comes into play: is AI life still life? If a machine is able to think for itself, then is it alive? It’s not asked straight forward in the book, but it is heavily implied and well pronounced.
Overall Viral Spark is a nice little sci-fi book with a compelling plot, but misses the mark a few times by being a bit too repetitive. It is short enough to get through in 1 or 2 days though, so for a quick read it’s not that bad.