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Kardashev IV

A singularity of books.

The Machine Dynasty

vN (The Machine Dynasty #1) - Madeline Ashby iD (The Machine Dynasty #2) - Madeline Ashby


Amy is a vN, a self-replicating humanoid robot.  She is programmed to love humanity, to obey them.  The failsafe that insures that love will destroy her if she even witnesses violence against humans, let alone participates.  


Or maybe she isn't.  Maybe she has no failsafe at all, and can act as she pleases.  But that would make life very dangerous for Amy, wouldn't it?   With her crazed grandmother loaded into a partition on of her mind, and accompanied by fellow vN Javier (and his son, Junior Number 13, who he gave birth to with Amy's help) she's off on a road trip fight for survival.


vN and iD are not perfect books-sometimes she shows instead of tells, sometimes the plot arcs feel a little uneven, and there's a serious deus ex machina or two.  I love them for their exuberant ideas, particularly the pitch-dark take on the three laws of robotics-the failsafe makes the vN easy prey for predators and pedophiles.  The romance between Amy and Javier-two characters who come to love each other deeply without it making them any more human was another high point.  


Despite it's flaws, this is one of my favourite series, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book (though it looks like I'll be waiting awhile yet, Ashby has announced she's working on another project).  For those who like to sample before they buy, a prequel story, The Education of Junior Number 12 is available online.   

vN (The Machine Dynasty #1) - Madeline Ashby
"I'm tired of loving humans, Amy," he said. "I'm so fucking tired of loving them, because I know how it's going to end before it even starts, but I start it anyway because that's how I'm built."