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Sentient – 4 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the December 1st review stops on the blog tour for Sentient by Michael Leon, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for 7 more reviews and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

Sentient
by Michael Leon

Published 27 August 2020
by Australian Inspiration

Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 249
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

A century has passed and yes, the human race stumbled into evolutionary compromise. But it’s not the androids who are the victors. Post-humans have exploded into preeminence, gaining tech superiority and a tech immunity against the global environmental degradation. Humans are trivialised, a minority species, their one last significant task, restore the environmental damage they inflicted on Earth and terraform off-planets. One human and his ‘biot’ android embark on such a journey to Mars, opening the possibility for an evolutionary path back to greatness, but hostile post-human agents have infiltrated their mission.

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Excerpt

The thought of engine failure enveloped my core as we approached the fateful deceleration phase. Rationally, I knew there hadn’t been a malfunction in many years, but statistics always had outliers. I was a Martian, but this was my first Mars landing. A feeling of dread overwhelmed me as the ship accelerated toward the planet. I tried to focus on Step, who methodically adjusted the navigation system, unaffected by the looming peril. It was ironic. I was part of a resistance, demanding more humanness and less technology, but I wouldn’t have anyone else but this talented biot navigate me back to my home. Step assuredly fired the thrusters, abruptly shifting our ship from its vertical fall.

“Brace people,” he warned, as the force of the thrusters turned my world upside down. The roar screamed like a tornado, capturing me and twisting the ship as if it were lighter than a feather. Extreme G-forces turned my body inside out in one violent action. For the briefest of moments, I wished we had crashed, but the roar of the thrusters subsided as did my discomfort. I barely heard Step’s next command as the ringing in my ears slowly abated. “Welcome to Mars, Dane.”

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My Review

My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimetary access to a review copy of Sentient by the author through Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to both Michael Leon and Goddess Fish Promotions for the opportunity! This has not swayed my opinion. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

Sentient is the story of Dane Walker who’s on a terraforming mission on Mars as humanity strives to both heal Earth and terraform other planets before it’s too late and humanity has no livable home. Unfortunately for Dane, he doesn’t know who he can trust, and those pesky post-humans bent on pushing technology further and faster may pose a deadly risk to both his mission and to the Mars colony.

Science Fiction has always been my first literary love, and I enjoy discovering new authors in the genre I haven’t read before, so I jumped at the chance to review Sentient when the tour came up with Goddess Fish Promotions. The premise is fascinating, and the book did not disappoint! Leon’s take on near-future space age and artificial intelligence technology is fresh and intriguing, and I love the idea of conflict between humanity trying to save the organic necessities of life vs post-humans striving to build next century’s tech today and seeking to destroy all who stand in their way. I’ve never read anything quite like it! It’s refreshing to have something go in the complete opposite direction of “AI took over” when imaging this sort of do-or-die turning point in humanity’s future.

Where this book falls short for me is how detached from the human element some scenes felt. A perfect example would be one of the other excerpt options I didn’t choose (visit other stops on the tour, you’ll probably find it) where a soldier named Harvey encounters and prepares to face off against four Dravens. This soldier is named, Harvey, in the first sentence, but for the remainder of that paragraph and the five paragraphs after that, he is simply “the soldier.” It’s written in the third-person, but to an extent, the reader is inside the soldier’s mind. “He welcomed Draven’s challenge…” “The soldier relished rather than feared…” “…he felt emboldened…” We don’t get the same insights into the Draven’s mind, so this isn’t omniscient writing, the soldier is the POV character in this scene. Why give him a name and show me that he has feelings, but then keep chipping away at the connection I as the reader feel with him by calling him “the soldier,” as if he’s one of many faceless pawns? (Yes, by the way, I realize Harvey is specified as a biot and isn’t technically human. We were told there was emotion here, but we weren’t made to feel it.)

Scenes like that aside, I did quite enjoy this book, and there absolutely are moments where the characters are very relatable and human. This book is surprisingly short for a novel of its genre, under 300 pages, but it’s not a breezy read by any means. This is an action-packed book that will hold you hostage until it’s over! Fans of science fiction, I encourage you to check it out.

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About the Author

Michael Leon is an explorer, writer and author of the new novel, Sentient. Professionally trained in international trade, Michael has spent the last decade reading and writing SFF novels about new worlds to be explored in the future. His latest work, Sentient, imagines Earth in the year 2120. Michael has traveled extensively around Europe, walking the paths of his characters, from the famous European opera houses in Phantoms to the mountain tops of Switzerland in Emissary.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Giveaway Alert!

One lucky follower of the tour will walk away with a $20 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice! Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this tour to read some other great reviews.

Nov 24: Kit ‘N Kabookle
Nov 24: White Sky Project
Dec 1: Straight from the Library
Dec 1: Westveil Publishing

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Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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