Book Review: Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles Book 1) by Jadah McCoy

 
 
Syl has spent her whole life living in sewers with a few fellow humans, scavenging for food, and fighting off the Cull, genetically spliced, half-human/half-bug creatures. But then Syl gets captured, gets her own DNA spliced, and escapes into New Elite, a city she never even knew existed where androids reign. Bastion has his own problems---he's a Glitch, an android with emotion, and will be killed if he's found out---but, when he finds Syl, he feels compelled to help her, despite the danger it puts him in.
 

 
Book Review: Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles Book 1) by Jadah McCoy | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, sci-fi, genetic engineering, cyberpunk, dystopian, cyborgs/androids
Title: Artificial
Author:
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 225
My Book Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon
 

Review:

*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

From the very beginning I loved the feel of this book and the voice of the main character, Syl. She was gritty, raw, and rough around the edges, but not overly so. She just really came to life, and her voice stood out to me and felt so genuine. She’s had a tough life of living in sewers and fighting off giant half-human/half-bug creatures in order to hunt and scavenge for food, but her rough edges actually made her likeable.

Then there was Bastion.

I hear the insult behind her carefully concocted words: greedy whore.

I smile at her attempt to hurt me. It’s not an insult if it’s a fact.

This guy.

“It’s not a party until there’s a double homicide, I suppose.”

Seriously, this guy.

Definitely the most intriguing and sassy android I’ve ever read about, and I loved it. And his voice was so different from Syl’s, providing a nice contrast.

Also, apparently I’ve been getting really bad about having expectations for books, but it has once again worked in my favor. I was expecting this book to be kind of instalove-y and typical romance-y, but instead the story itself was gritty and dirty (literally—lots of sewers and blood and filth), and it really only had a hint of romance in it. Yes, something about Syl compelled Bastion to help her, and Syd clearly felt something toward him too, but that’s about as far as it went. It was more like a setup for future romance because you can tell that there will be something between those two, but the focus was really on the androids, the society, the psychopathic leader, the experiments, etc.

Another great thing—I’m not usually a fan of detailed world building, but this was incredible! The settings, the backstory, the food, the creatures, the technology—there was so much thought put into everything, and it showed in all the little details, everything from the creepy way the Cull repeat words they hear to the hallucinogenic moss.

And of course I have to mention the amazing cover!

The ending pushed my suspension of disbelief a bit and conflicted with my personal beliefs, but it left a lot of interesting possibilities for the next book, which I’m looking forward to.

I hadn’t read anything this sci-fi (I mean, genetic engineering, androids, other planets, and a dystopian society) in a while, and I had never read anything classified as cyberpunk, but I am so glad I gave this book a read because the amazing world building, gritty story, and compelling character voices really pulled me in!

 
 
Book Blurb

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.

Basic Info

Book Author:
Publisher:
Series:
Genre: , , ,
My Book Rating:
Series/Standalone:
Setting Location:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Non-Human Type:
Romance Type:
Extra Love: , ,

Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 

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26 thoughts on “Book Review: Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles Book 1) by Jadah McCoy

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  1. AngelErin

    I’ve never heard of this one before, but it sure does sound great. I like detailed world building and I don’t mind disturbing scenes (I’m a big horror fan) so it sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the great review. :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      Then it does sound like it’d be a great book for you! I don’t read much horror but do I read urban fantasy which often has lots of blood and guts, so I don’t mind the disturbing either ;-) Thanks, glad you like the review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      The cover is so pretty! And yeah, I’m interested to see what the author does with the next book, and the ending did make me think about my own beliefs on the matter, and I like when books make me think :-)

  2. Greg

    This has an awesome cover. I like gritty sci fi and androids and the cyberpunk element has curious. And it sounds like the ending is challenging. I think I would have thought this romancey too, so nice to hear she’s taking the slow track with that.

    Love that second quote!

    I clicked over to Goodreads to check this out and see she does videos too- have you seen her tipsy reviews? Pretty funny… :)

    Greg recently posted: Morning Glories Vol. 1

    1. Kristen Burns

      Seriously, I love the cover. I actually just now decided to look up cyberpunk since I didn’t actually know what it was lol, but yeah, I think it fits. Maybe I should read more of it. And ok, good, so it’s not just me who got that romance vibe. I mean, I do like romance, but I thought the book was great how it was with the focus on the other things.

      He says that quote so perfectly too, like, just a sigh and then resignation that now he has the annoying task of killing another android.

      I did not know about her tipsy reviews, but I am most definitely going to go look, haha.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think I might try more cyberpunk since I liked this one. I actually hadn’t even know what the genre was, but I think it’s one I might enjoy every now and then now that I’ve looked it up lol. But yes, if you like those things, gritty characters, strong voices, sassy androids lol, I think you would like this!

  3. Lola

    This sounds like a good book. I haven’t read a lot of books with androids so far, only a few probably. A sci-fi author who’s books I really enjoyed is Susan Kaye Quinn. I would recommend her books if you’re looking for a good sci-fi book. Or SJ Pajonas ofcourse ;). Her Nogiku series is a bit light on the sci-fi, but really good too.

    It’s great when you can connect to the main character like that and her voice sounds genuine. And that’s nice when the voices of the characters differ so much and you easily keep them separate.

    Sometimes it’s better to have lower expectations as the book can pleasantly surprise you then when it’s better than expected. I love books with romance in it, but sometimes a good slow building romance on the background is even better than one that is front and center of the story.

    I love detailed world building, the more the better! So that’s definitely a good thing in my opinion. I like it when I feel like there’s a lot of thought that went into the world and everything falls on it’s place and makes sense. Your could’ve make that sentence about world building your whole review and I would’ve intrigued already ;). And yes the cover looks great too, definitely got my attention.

    I’ll have to check this one out. it sounds like a book I might enjoy! Great review!

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #173

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ll check out Susan Kaye Quinn :-) I still have the Nogiku first book sitting on my kindle though lol.

      It’s always disappointing when characters all sound the same, but not only did these two sound completely different, they were both such strong, great voices. That was probably my favorite thing about the book. It wasn’t so much that I had low expectations though, just different ones, but it still worked out for the best :-) The building up of romance can definitely work well for me as I prefer that to instalove.

      Hahaha, your comment about how I could’ve made that one sentence my whole review is cracking me up. I didn’t realize you liked world building so much! It surprised me how much I enjoyed that part. Maybe I’m just more of a fan of world building than I thought, as long as it’s done well.

      Glad I helped you find something you might be interested in :-)

      1. Lola

        I think Susan Kaye Quinn her book Open Minds is free. I also would recommend her Debt Collector series, it’s dark and gritty and really good! I hope you’ll enjoy the first Nogiku book.

        It’s probably because I’ve been reviewing a lot of cozies and romance books lately, there’s no world building in those. I am really picky and critical when it comes to world building and when it’s done well I love it!

        Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #173

        1. Kristen Burns

          Oh! I have Open Minds on my Kindle lol. Perfect :-) But I looked up her Debt Collector series and noticed they’re all shorts :-/ and I just don’t do serials or shorts. I can’t get into stories in that few pages, and it ends up costing a lot more.

          I never thought about that, that there might be less world building in cozies, especially compared to SFF. I can see why you might miss it!

          1. Lola

            As it was free I thought you might have grabbed Open Minds already. I hope you’ll enjoy it :).
            Yes Debt Collector is a serial, every episode is short, but it does tell one longer story. They also sell the whole season in one book I think, so you don’t have the short story feel as much and can read it as one long book.
            I don’t read a lot of serials either, so I can see why you would stay away form them, but I thought this one was really well done and the author really makes use of the format to tell her story and it doesn’t feel rushed.

            I usually focus on the setting then instead of the world building in cozies as there’s no real world building in them.

            1. Kristen Burns

              Haha, you know me so well.

              I’ll look into the whole season in one book thing. But the individual ones were just too much money for the amount of pages to be worth it to me :-/

              Yeah, I suppose cozies don’t need much world building because the world is the same lol, but good settings can still be fun to read about :-)

  4. Daniela Ark

    Did u say “a gritty, raw, and rough around the edges” voice??? Yay! I’m in :)
    I think it’s great when a writer manages to give each character a very distintive voice.
    I requested this book after reading your GR updates :) and got it! You know that BFF is really moody and unpredictable :) [I hope my readers realize I KNOW it is the different publishers who approve the requests and not NetGalley. I hope they know I’m not that brainless lol]
    I think this is indeed one of the best covers I’ve seen at my BFF’s!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I did in fact say that :-) Lol. And yeah, the voices were probably my favorite thing about the book since each was so distinct AND so strong just one its own.

      Honestly, I actually wasn’t 100% sure if you realized that or not, but I wasn’t gonna say anything because I figured you probably did, and it didn’t really matter either way lol. And I love how you refer to Netgalley as your BFF lol.

      And I totally agree about the cover—I love it!

  5. sjhigbee

    Ooo… this sounds like something that would tick all my boxes:). BUT I have a CRAZY number of books to read! And so I’m going to hold off for a while. Meanwhile, many thanks for a lovely, detailed review – I love your blog…

    1. Kristen Burns

      If this sounds like your kind of book, I definitely recommend it! You can always bookmark the Goodreads page or put it on your TBR and come back to it to decide about reading it once you get through all the other books :-) I get you about that crazy number of books though. And thank you so much! I’m glad you like my blog :-D

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    This isn’t something I’d necessarily pick up on my own, Kristen, but I love gritty, raw stories. I also love detailed world building so long as it doesn’t overwhelm the actual story and in this case, it seems that was accomplished. Plus, it kinda seems necessary with the kind of world Syl is living in. It’s hard to imagine without some help, yeah? I love the quotes you shared from Bastian. He does seem like quite a guy! ;) Overall, you just have me really curious. I might take a chance – the last time I took a chance and stepped out of my box, it really worked for me! (I Am Just Junco series by JA Huss) Nice review! :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hmmm, I don’t know your taste quite well enough to know if this is your kind of book or not. But I did think it was great, so it’s a good choice if you want to try something different :-) I thought the world building was great—definitely necessary and not overwhelming. And Bastion was kind of awesome lol. Thanks!

  7. Lola

    Couldn’t reply anymore so I start a new comment, lol. I agree that short stories often are pricey. Too much for the actual pages. I got the debt collector series for review and got a few ones when she ran a free promo, which is nice. I usually am not willing to pay a lot for short stories either, it’s a shame so many authors price them too high in my opinion. I like it when they do box sets as that’s usually more affordable.

    And I noticed Artificial was still on netgalley so I requested it! Let’s hope they approve me!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oops! Didn’t realize I had the comments set to a certain number lol. Maybe I should fix that. But yeah, I’m more likely to read serials when they’re all put together into one book. One of my favorite authors is writing a serial right now, so I’m waiting for the box sets!

      Yay! I’m sure they’ll approve you :-) They just auto-approved me yesterday (which I’m still excited about lol), so they seem pretty great about giving review copies to people who are interested. I’ll be curious to see what you think!

  8. Aralyn

    Oooooh, I’m not usually for adult fiction books dealing with romance (I don’t handle hetero sex as well as m/m), but the story and characters sound intriguing AND the romance is a hint, you say? I may just have to give this a shot then. I love sassy robots. And I’ve not read many books with androids (read as: none), but I do feel like i could enjoy androids that have human feelings. (Especially when they’re sassy??)
    Nice review :)

    1. Kristen Burns

      This one actually doesn’t have any sex since the romance is only kinda of barely just starting. I’m not sure if there was even a kiss, but it’s been months since I read it. I don’t know what the future books in the series might have though. But yes, I loved the characters! He was definitely sassy lol. I’ve not read a ton of android books, but this is a good one if you like those types of characters I mentioned :-)