Goddess in the Machineby Lora Beth Johnson was a refreshingly different YA book. The main characters are Andromeda (Andra for short), a girl from a futuristic earth, and Zhade, a boy so far ahead in the future that the world has devolved into believing tech is magic. The two of them are thrown together, whether they like it or not, and they both have very different agendas. Andra wants to get back to her colony, which she believes is still in orbit somewhere. Zhade wants to overthrow his brother and take the throne for himself.
The author’s “evolution” of language was pretty good. I liked how some of the terms could have evolved from our current slang – charred, for example, where instead of stating that a person is “hot,” they’re “charred.” I don’t know if I quite liked her changing every “ly” ending to “ish”; I wasn’t sure it entirely worked. However, overall, I thought her language was pretty neat. (I’m still not sure what “marah” means, though.)
Altogether, I was so pleased to finally get a book I really ended up enjoying. I would love to see more stories like this–books that rely on plot, concept, and characters to sell the novel rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator. I look forward to seeing the next book in this series.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill
Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations; 18 mild obscenities; 4 religious profanities; 9 derogatory names; 7 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 1 offensive hand gesture; 4 f-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: A girl feels like she is drowning; characters frequently verbally fight and argue; a child kills a dog-like creature; a character’s family is reportedly dead; character is banished; characters are threatened by a sand-like “pocket” of deadly destruction; report of a murder; a woman is scarred; a character gets burnt; a character’s arm is severed; characters suffer pain during healing; characters are frequently threatened with bodily harm or death; characters are executed; a character wakens in a prison cell; a character kills soldiers and “‘bots”; a character is injured and nearly killed; a man is killed; a rocket explodes; a character hears people screaming and slips in a pool of blood; a man tries to attack a woman and is killed; characters’ lives are frequently in danger; characters are often attacked; a character will be used as a sacrifice; guards are brutally injured and a man slits a girl’s throat; a character deliberately injures another to save someone; characters are shot at; a girl is held by the throat; a character is betrayed; implication that someone was turned into an AI; a prison cell is full of human waste and dead vermin; a prisoner is dragged out in brutalized condition; a prisoner is murdered; characters battle with swords, and one character is wounded numerous times; two characters battle to control the same tech; a character corrupts nanobots in order to manipulate them, and pulls a “pocket” into the city; a character is dying from a stab wound; an AI updates her tech by stabbing herself; a character is seen to be sacrificed with a nano dagger; characters are in hiding.
Sex/Nudity: A character in cryostasis wakens in naked condition; there are several mentions of a character’s memory and embarrassment at being seen naked in a cryotank; a character realizes a boy saw her paunch and thighs (not sexual – the character was in cryostasis during this time); a girl is uncomfortable in her tight clothes; a boy subtly flirts with a girl; boys and a girl sleep together for warmth; report of a boyfriend possibly having a new girlfriend; a boy takes off his shirt to wrap a girl’s wound; report of a boy’s illegitimate birth; report of a girl being married and with child; a girl’s shirt gets ruched over her stomach while she sleeps; a boy kisses a girl’s fingers, which turns into a more passionate kiss; a girl hugs a boy; a girl does an awkward butt-jiggle dance; a boy and girl dance, and the boy’s shirt collar hangs open; a boy thinks about a girl; a man suspects two people are in love with each other; a girl denies her feelings for a boy; a boy holds a girl while she cries; a woman embraces a man; a man is told he has a child, and the woman he loves is not married to another; a girl plans to flirt with a boy; characters kiss passionately, fall onto a bed and kiss some more, and the girl puts her hands under the man’s shirt, and they lay together (not overly sexual – no clothes come off); a boy and girl hold hands; a girl tears a boy’s shirt open to tend his wound.
Mature Subject Matter:
Religious conflicts; socioeconomic conflicts; death of a family member; death of a friend; ethics; murder; execution; human sacrifice.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters serve a drink; a man pours himself a drink; mention of people smoking pipes; a girl sees a half-drunk glass of alcohol; a man holds a glass of liquor.