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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
Silas is a household simulated intelligence robot, known as a ‘simmi’, navigating the perils of an America reduced to a wasteland by a war between humans and the robots they took for granted. Silas wants to reach New Valley, once a major city, where the leader of the simmi revolution, Riley, and the rest of the simmis have taken over the Limbys Technologies headquarters where they all once were made, designed, and given life. But Silas hasn’t the advantages of a military grade simmi and navigating the world is difficult when both humans and military simmis are against you. He struggles from one day to the next, from one battery charge to the next, as a warning beep from his chest regularly reminds him that he’s out of oil. His quest seems futile until the day he befriends a human called Deacon.
Chris Yee blends dystopia, westerns, and an AI revolution into a unique and poignant tale of family and friendship. Silas is a lovable character with some unexpected personality quirks, considering that one expects an AI’s fundamental processes to be grounded in logic. Deacon’s motives for working with Silas are unfathomable at first but begin to make sense as more of his personality and backstory comes out. This unlikely duo forms a heart-warming bond as they face electromagnet simmi traps, dangerous human scavengers, and the harsh desert landscape. The viewpoint of the narrative is a little hard to follow at times but doesn’t distract from the overall excitement and thematic development of this uplifting dystopian novel.