Book Review: The Municipalists by Seth Fried

 
 
When the US Municipal Survey is attacked, straight-laced employee Henry gets sent on a secret mission to Metropolis to figure out what's going on. Sent with him is a new technology: a projection of OWEN, an impulsive, irreverent AI. These two opposites have to quickly learn how to work together when they end up in a much more dangerous situation than they expected.

Book Review: The Municipalists by Seth Fried | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction
Title: The Municipalists
Author:
Publisher:
Pages: 271
My Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

If you want to read about a lovable AI getting drunk, flirting with other AI units, learning about the fragility of humans, imparting life lessons, and making a friend, then this might be the book for you. OWEN was the best thing about this book for me. Such a lovable little artificial intelligence.

I also really enjoyed the unexpected friendship (well, unexpected to the characters) between Henry and OWEN. They were such opposites, and those types of friendships are so much fun to read about.

And there was no romance! Not that I don’t enjoy romance, but it’s refreshing to find a book now and again that doesn’t have it.

There was also an interesting mystery that unfolded as the book went along with a fair amount of fast-moving action, and the book had a mostly feel-good, light-hearted vibe, despite the gravity of the situation the characters were in. It kind of felt like a thriller with a bit of a futuristic twist.

I did have some issues though, one being there was a lot of telling-not-showing, but then sometimes there were whole pages describing a setting and the people walking around, or the history of something, though I imagine that was meant to reflect what sorts of things were important to the POV character.

I also felt that Henry, the protagonist, was somewhat emotionally flat. And by that I mean, he was this rule-following, straight-laced, pencil pusher kinda guy, and suddenly he was breaking laws and spying and punching people and sneaking around and literally putting his life at risk, and it just felt kind of off because it was like none of it even fazed him. He did at least show some growth in the end though.

But overall, I got to laugh a few times, I enjoyed getting to know OWEN, and I found this to be a quick, feel-good read.

 
 
Book Blurb

A novel about an unlikely pair of lonely outsiders–one human, one AI–on an adventure to save the great American city of Metropolis written by “one of the most exciting new voices in fiction” (Charles Yu)

*Named Library’s Journal’s “Debut of the Month” and one of NYLON’s “50 Books You’ll Want to Read in 2019″*

In Metropolis, the gleaming city of tomorrow, the dream of the great American city has been achieved. But all that is about to change, unless a neurotic, rule-following bureaucrat and an irreverent, freewheeling artificial intelligence can save the city from a mysterious terrorist plot that threatens its very existence.

Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer. Soon, Henry and OWEN are fighting to save not only their own lives and those of the city’s millions of inhabitants, but also the soul of Metropolis. The Municipalists is a thrilling, funny, and touching adventure story, a tour-de-force of imagination that trenchantly explores our relationships to the cities around us and the technologies guiding us into the future.

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  1. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I didn’t really like Henry that much either, but what really made this book for me was Henry’s backstory and the grief over his parents that he can’t quite seem to shake. It made me understand him more. And yeah, all the crazy at the end was a bit too much!

  2. Olivia Roach

    I recently finished reading Illuminae so AI books are high on my love list at the moment because I loved that book. The friendship sounds so good and but it’s a shame about the flat main character. I am a huge fan of a good romance but I also love a refreshing book with no romance as well. Lovely review x And that’s such a great cover. So bright coloured!

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Shakespeare Themed Unboxing!

  3. Greg

    OWEN sounds like a lot of fun! I’m really enjoying reading about AI’s lately and how they struggle to fit in, or just seeing their perspective. And futuristic thrillers definitely work for me, depending on the subject matter and whatnot. Glad this one was mostly good!

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #290