Sunday, November 1, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Preserve, by Ariel S. Winter {ends 11/8}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The drone led them back to the cemetery’s main entrance. Across the street, there was another small plot with much older gravestones of various shapes and sizes. Standing in the shadow of a tree in the midst of the graves was a white-haired woman, bone thin, collarbone showing over her argyle-patterned strapless sundress. She wore lightweight virtual reality goggles, and held a phone in one hand out in front of her, no doubt using it as a remote control for the drone. As it reached her, she took off the goggles, and plucked the copter from the air.

Laughton pulled the truck to the curb, and the partners got out.

“Excellent voice modulator,” Kir said as they approached the woman.

“Thank you,” she said. Her real voice was light and warm, suffused with amusement that showed at the corners of her eyes. She turned her attention to the chief. “Jesse Laughton,” she said, as though taking stock of him. It made Laughton long for his mother, which was not the best place from which to start an interview. He wondered why he hadn’t heard from Betty about her mother.

Crisper looked back at Kir, her eyebrows lower, her jaw set forward. “I don’t like having this one here.”

In a world where the robots created by humans now outnumber humans, the preserve is the one region only populated by humans. The Chief of Police of one of the towns in the preserve reunites with his old robot partner to try and solve the first human murder.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Preserve, by Ariel S. Winter {ends 11/8}
Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.

Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.

Usually the only crimes on the preserve are meaningless acts of boredom and drunkenness. Most of the humans don’t have much to do, since the robots are the majority of the population, and taking care of themselves. When a cyborg (still considered human) is found murdered on the preserve, the Chief of Police feels a little rusty in his policing skills. As he investigates the crime and finds a link to some crimes in the robot world, he calls for help from his former robot partner, and unfortunately many other robots in positions of authority follow. The robots question the wisdom of giving the humans their own area—the preserve—to live without robot interference.

While the appearance of many of the robots is close to human, they will never have the full range of emotions and empathy that the humans have. This is part of what makes Chief Laughton’s relationship with his former robot partner Kir so interesting. They never forget that they’re not the same (as the loving insults they say to each other prove—‘metal’ and ‘meathead’), but they’ve come to rely on each other in human-like ways, and Kir has developed relationships of a sort with the Chief’s wife and daughter.

Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. The evolving relationships between humans and robots was part of the point of the book, but it sometimes made understanding the plot a little confusing. This would be a great book for those who like this type of sci-fi or speculative fiction stories.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley enjoys reading, listening to a variety of music, and taking care of her family. She also blogs and reviews more books at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Preserve!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Sunday, November 8th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified by email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Preserve, by Ariel S. Winter


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