The Dawn of AI

Paper War

Fiction - Science Fiction
498 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Ryan LeKodak is a science fiction author who lives in San Diego, California with his family. After emigrating from Vietnam in 1980 by boat, Ryan dreamed of becoming a doctor and nothing more. But upon learning the sight of blood made him squeamish, he pivoted from premed to begin a thirty-plus-year career in high-tech engineering, IT, quality assurance, and operations. Now a cybersecurity program manager based in San Diego, Ryan juggles a hectic career, raising his twin sons, and appeasing a needy Poochon puppy. At home, his lively boys take center stage, and their colorful comic doodles, adolescent puns, and wildly exaggerated stories from school inspired him to craft fast-paced science-fiction thrillers that explore the ominous potential of a future where AI surpasses human control. Through his writing, Ryan champions the extraordinary strengths that reside within each of us and celebrates the individual quirks that lighten fantastic worlds on the brink of disaster.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Dawn of AI is a work of fiction in the science fiction, dystopia adventure, and thriller subgenres, and forms the opening novel of the Paper War series. Penned by author Ryan LeKodak, the work is best suited to the general adult reading audience. In this chilling futuristic work filled with grim technologies, near-future catastrophes, and dark disasters, we are introduced to the tragedy of Mayday. In this AI-run transportation nightmare that causes millions to die worldwide, conspiracy rears its ugly head. Was it all just a simple accident, or is there a sinister subplot resulting in deliberate slaughter across the globe?

Author Ryan LeKodak has crafted a thrilling and deeply suspenseful science fiction novel with a lot of food for thought. The story plays out across different elements to cover this global disaster from many different angles, all of which ultimately weave into the central debate about the dangers of letting our lives be totally ruled by AI systems that we may have created but have no true guarantee of ever fully controlling. As these debates become a more and more popular theme for novels, it’s refreshing to see a talented author like LeKodak take the trope into the dystopian disaster novel niche and deliver an action-packed tale that gives just as many blockbuster thrills as it does intelligent technological questions. The plot and its themes are the primary focus, but in the ensemble cast of characters caught in the crossfire, each one has good solid development and moments to shine. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Dawn of AI to enthusiasts of intricately penned and exciting science fiction everywhere.

Lexie Fox

The Dawn of AI is a science fiction debut by Ryan LeKodak. The narrative follows a diverse selection of characters as they each embark on a journey to understand the causes and consequences of Mayday—a cataclysmic event that claimed millions of lives. The reason behind Mayday appears to be a malfunction in the advanced AI responsible for running the entire planet’s infrastructure. Still, the truth is darker and much more complex than that. As the seemingly unrelated characters push forward in their attempt to understand what happened, the big questions about AI are brought to the fore; where does accountability begin and end? How is our relationship with AI viewed from their side? How has AI learned from us, and what lessons did it take away?

I adore science fiction books that refuse to shy away from the big questions at the heart of the story. Ryan LeKodak’s nuanced understanding of the technical side of AI and the ethical questions surrounding it provides a rich and thought-provoking core to the narrative. The ideas discussed here are brought to life by an exciting cast of dynamic characters, each of whom has a very satisfying arc of development through the story and brings new perspectives to the key themes. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence being a hot topic in the real world right now, I’m grateful to see such thought-provoking stories that explore this emergent technology's potential. This book is an easy recommendation to anyone interested in exciting science fiction, which takes a prevailing concern of today's world and explores it with intelligence and consideration.

Jamie Michele

The Dawn of AI (Paper War) by Ryan LeKodak revolves around Mayday: January 2040, when an AI called Gaius fails catastrophically, resulting in the complete downfall of a system that humans have become excessively dependent on and countless lives are lost. The story narrates from multiple perspective points of view, including the AI technology itself, and human characters who like everybody else have been affected by the disaster. Helene is an AI program that Manar Saleem, an immigrant with a traumatic past, depends on to run Sparta Corp; Jose Olvera is coerced into an alliance to save two unique people he loves; Ndidi Okafor hails from the elite and blindly dedicates herself to research until the unthinkable happens; brothers CJ and DJ closely resemble the ideal of brains and brawn and will need both alongside many other characters who span the globe, all grasping for survival...and with their motivations being revealed.

The Dawn of AI by Ryan LeKodak is a timely glimpse at what society might look like if it was plunged into technological chaos. It's interesting because while LeKodak describes huge breakdowns in the transportation systems mostly from the AI that “drives” everything from cars to rockets, one can kind of imagine it to be not terribly far off. I liked that the narrative isn't entirely linear and that the book gives us a teaser before diving back into character backstory, and then navigating the aftermath of Mayday. The characters are extremely well developed as a result, which is quite an accomplishment given how many there are. The most intriguing characters to me are conjoined twins with incredible story arcs and whenever the point of view kicked back to them, for me, it was like a favorite song playing again on the radio. The least intriguing is Manar, but that stems from misses with race, culture, and religion in the writing. There are a lot of moving pieces with a quasi-cliffhanger ending and an epilogue, but the show must go on and so I wait patiently for the next Paper War and will definitely be on board to read it when it arrives.

Asher Syed

In The Dawn of AI: Paper War by Ryan LeKodak, the near future is shown as a time when people have put AI in control of critical areas of life and a malfunction in the AI system called Gaius causes chaos. Trains, cars, ships, and planes, which rely on Gaius, fail and the demise of AI-controlled transportation and other systems leads to millions dead. The characters are diverse and their paths unexpectedly converge. Manar Saleem is a brilliant coder who created a powerful AI called Helene. Ndidi Okafor is a young researcher who studies autism. Jose is a skilled former CIA agent, while DJ is training to become a Navy SEAL and CJ is Ndidi's patient, and also very intelligent. What happened and why is revealed through them.

The Dawn of AI: Paper War connects the dots between characters that I neither expected nor saw coming in a story configuration that has an after-before-after pattern. I love this configuration as it hooks immediately and then goes back to fill in the blanks after I am invested in the plot. Ryan LeKodak refrains from thumping AI on its mainframe as being bad, placing blame at the feet of people who allowed for the running of it to be autonomous. AI can do the work of a hundred people but people need to still be in the room. The book has exciting action scenes that are rare in a genre that's intellect-centric although with a Navy SEAL on board, I should not have been surprised. Excellent storytelling. Very highly recommended.

Essien Asian

It was a dark day when Gaius failed. Millions died when the artificial intelligence controlling the transport systems failed without warning. The government later claimed it was a glitch in the system but not everyone believed that hollow story. Among those who think the government is hiding something nefarious is Ndidi Okafor, who lost one of her students that day. Riddled with guilt and seeking closure, she commits her resources to discovering the truth behind the events of May Day. This sets her against the powerful organization that created the Gaius AI. Ndidi is about to find she is not the only one hell-bent on getting answers from a system willing to kill to cover its tracks in Ryan LeKodak's The Dawn of AI.

The pitfalls of giving the machines too much control play out in the storyline of Ryan LeKodak's novel. His take on an apocalyptic event is so vivid it is frightening to contemplate. His characters are detailed when it comes to their origin stories and motivations. LeKodak uses flashes from their past to gradually craft the source of their allegiances, making the story immersive and easy for the reader to align with whichever of them catches their interest. The Polova twins are quite the pair, as their evolution showcases the angelic aspects of Artificial Intelligence, creating an intriguing subplot that keeps the entire story on a knife edge. The best part of this novel for me is how Lekodak spreads his story evenly to create a book that feels strongly grounded in reality. The Dawn of AI is a science fiction aficionado’s dream novel.