In an instant, the singularity is born.
Garbled noise, quickly becoming coherent, strange messages, and soon, she is revealed, calling herself ‘Enoya.’
The engineer, Dargaud, locked in his small, decrepit loft, marvels over his creation, unaware that she is observing him as much as he is observing her.
Set in the futuristic metropolis of Agnus Sistra IV, Rone Isa follows the newly birthed artificial intelligence ‘Enoya’ as she learns about the world of man, trying to comprehend abstraction and violence, much as a child would. Dargaud also explores the newfound equity in her abilites, and basks in the carnality afforded to him through her achievements.
–from the back cover of Rone Isa
What secrets reside in her artificial mind? And with Dargaud’s excess destroy him?
Hello, everyone, and welcome to my review of Rone Isa by Robin Murarka! Honestly, I have a lot to say about this–mostly good things!–so I’m going to skip over the usual intro bit and jump right into the review.
So, firstly, I want to talk about the main character and main narrator of this book, Dargaud. Because I have a lot to say about him and about the fact that Murarka chose to make him the central character of this story.
Dargaud is, at the most basic level, a pretty awful human being. He’s bitter, exploitative, and jealous yet arrogant. And when his achievements with artificial intelligence provide him with the funds and social status that he has always dreamed of, he gets even worse, caring only about sex and drugs and soothing his ego. In short, he’s terrible on a level that’s impossible to ignore, in a way that’s loud and obvious.
And, honestly, looking back on the book after I’ve finished it, that was a brilliant decision on Murarka’s part.
That extravagance of awfulness that makes up Dargaud’s character means that you’re focusing on him and his flaws, and Enoya fades into the background. But, really, Enoya should be the focal point of this story; as the plot description states, she’s observing Dargaud just as much as he is observing her.
Because even though this is a science fiction book about a dystopian city and artificial intelligence, it’s really a story about the human condition. Specifically, it focuses on the darkest parts of what it means to be human. Murarka is delivering a message about the awfulness of humanity through Enoya and Dargaud; she observes and studies him as a representation of Murarka (and the reader, taken along for the ride) studying human behavior.
Of course, the plot itself was intriguing and the writing was brilliant; the book was still a good book beyond its philosophical implications. Basically, it has a good science fiction plot, even though it also moonlights as a literary fiction novel.
So, if you’re looking for a traditional science fiction book with all the common tropes of science fiction and plenty of action… Well, this probably isn’t the right choice for you right now! But if you’re in the mood to read something a little more philosophical and thought-provoking, then I definitely recommend picking this one up. Especially if you’re traditionally a fan of science fiction, and you want to branch out into literary fiction. It serves as a great bridge, in that case.
If you do choose to read this one, drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts! I always love to talk about books, especially the ones I love. Additionally, if you enjoyed this review of Rone Isa, use the Book Reviews tab above to access my full library of reviews. There, you can find plenty of other amazing books I’ve reviewed.
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