3 out of 4 stars
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Part human and part robot, Marigold, or officially, Psyche Organic 001, is an InOrganic. She is created and programmed to help emotionally and physically traumatized individuals. Despite her remarkable contribution in helping people, she is on the run. The director of the laboratory wants her dismantled. Marigold also gets entangled with the authorities for the alleged murder of a man whose dying words are the “pink bunny.” As she tries to elude them, she sees the world outside the laboratory and meets a diverse set of personalities. Action and adventure await Marigold as she escapes dismantling, proves her innocence, and uncovers the mystery behind a man’s dying words.
Marigold by William G. Howard is a science fiction story that touches more on the social aspect of a futuristic world. It intends to deal with a loss of a loved one, the consequences of controlling nature and humanity and examines civil rights through the lens of an artificial entity.
As for world-building, there is not much emphasis on the description of the built and natural environment. But the technology behind the modes of communication and transportation, the laboratory equipment, and the existence of androids are enough to give the story a futuristic feel.
The story invests more in the introduction of a diverse mix of characters. Pharaohs and scientists, androids, shape-shifting creatures, and mutated beings are some of the intriguing cast. These characters are the translation of the intention of the book. Science and technology have a way of preserving the cherished memories of a lost loved one. People in power control the natural environment and humanity, also by using science and technology. However, tinkering with nature has consequences. One of them is the emergence of new types of beings. It leaves thought-provoking questions about the rights and treatment of these entities. Is it ethical to terminate the “life” of sentient artificial beings? Are creatures that are by-products of scientific experiments subject to racism and discrimination prevalent in today’s society? These topics that inspire such questions and their relevance to our present time are what I like best.
The action-packed and fast-paced story uses the third-person perspective. The approach works well because the adventure happens simultaneously in two locations, Egypt and India. However, the battle scenes in Egypt are long, which makes it a bit dragging. Also, the book is more of an opening to a series. It focuses on establishing the setting and introducing the characters. As the story closes, the ends are tied but leave questions for the next installation. However, I prefer to read more about the background, adventures, and challenges of Marigold as an android. The pace of the fight scenes in Egypt and the need to focus more on the android story are what I dislike in the book.
The language is conversational, and the words are simple. It makes the book an easy read even to those who are not into scientific and technical terminologies. However, there are more than a handful of noticeable issues on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Some punctuations are either missing or unnecessary. There are some inconsistencies in the English spelling variant. Likewise, there are misspellings in the names of characters. Another round of editing will be helpful. Also, there are mild profanities. There are suggestive sexual references but are not explicit. It does not contain offensive material to any religious group. This book is for an audience of 16 years old and above. It will appeal to those who are keen on the social aspects of science and technology. Science fiction fans might want to look somewhere else for their hardcore science fix.
The book conveys its intent and stirs the reader to have thought-provoking questions. However, I have some concerns with the pace of the Egypt fight scene and the focus on the android backstory and challenges. Also, there is a need to tighten up the editing. For these reasons, I give a rating of 3 out of four stars.
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