Willful Machines
In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.Charlotte's attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he's Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive ... and what makes life worth living.

Willful Machines Details

TitleWillful Machines
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 20th, 2015
PublisherSimon Pulse
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Lgbt, Science Fiction, Romance

Willful Machines Review

  • Wendy Darling
    January 1, 1970
    Thoughtful scifi thriller + sparky boy/boy romance! One of those boys is nerdy, nervous, and makes fantastic little robots. The other one is daring, good-humored, and quotes Shakespeare. (view spoiler)[ Seriously, do not click this if you don't want to know (view spoiler)[ AND HE'S A ROBOT HIMSELF. :D (hide spoiler)] You've been warned! (hide spoiler)]Probably a bit more at some point when it's not 3 am, but don't leave this off your list this year. It's terrific. THERE HAD BETTER BE A SEQUEL.
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    Well, HI, I'm a wilful bucket of torn emotions. Because on one hand this book was freaking ADORABLE and the characters were complex and marvellous perfection. But that ending???? THAT ENDING??? Apparently this is a standalone and that is the most "I Need A Sequel" ending I've ever received omggggg.BUT I LOVED THE BEGINNING SO MUCH SO I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO HERE. Maybe just cry. Give a vague pterodactyl screech too, perhaps. (Okay it wasn't THAT bad. But I wanted closure!! Ahh!!) L I K E S• Well, HI, I'm a wilful bucket of torn emotions. Because on one hand this book was freaking ADORABLE and the characters were complex and marvellous perfection. But that ending???? THAT ENDING??? Apparently this is a standalone and that is the most "I Need A Sequel" ending I've ever received omggggg.BUT I LOVED THE BEGINNING SO MUCH SO I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO HERE. Maybe just cry. Give a vague pterodactyl screech too, perhaps. (Okay it wasn't THAT bad. But I wanted closure!! Ahh!!) L I K E S• It's set in a not-too-distant future which I really liked! So we have cool tech but it's also not too unbelievable.• It talks a lot about choices which is a vERY interesting discussion. And I really really appreciated how Lee firmly believed you can't choose aspects of yourself. Like yes and yes. He couldn't choose to be gay or to be depressed. And anyone who thinks those sorts of things are choices needs to sit down, preferably at the bottom of a well. And I like how it also talked about how we are predisposition to choices so, like...doesn't that make humans a bit like machines? It had such interesting thoughts/discussions. It made me thiiiiiink which is a sign of an excellent novel.• CAN WE TAKE A MOMENT FOR HOW PRECIOUS LEE IS??! I absolutely adored him! He's son of the POTUS and lives in the legacy of his famous grandfather and father...and he's like a total antisocial, robot-nerd, anxious dork. I love him. He's so deep in the closet he's practically in Narnia and he feels so alone. Aghhhhh. I have like 9 emotions. I also love his character development and how relatable and dorky and cute he was.• The romance is SO CUTE IT's JUST I CAN'T EVEN. Nico is a loud-laughing, Shakespeare-quoting, Chilean, perfectly handsome boy who eats anything and everything and will sneak out at midnight to throw sparklers down a cave in a mountain and kiss his OTP on the edge of a cliff. Like I can't even with how cute this was.• Also features epic best friend!! Although I wish Bex had featured a bit more.• The writing is EXCELLENT. I read it all in a few hours because put it down??? HAHAHAHA r u mad.• Just the fact that this is about robots and features a gay, mentally ill boy is splendid. I read a ridiculous amount of fantasy/sci-fi books and they so rarely feature diversity. sO THANK YOU.• FEEEEEEELS. At least 3 of them, if not 4. And I'm a Vulcan so listen up. D I S L I K E S• Did I mention the ending freaking destroyed me??? I'm so mad. It is the kind of ending you expect to see a sequel coming in. There's NO closure. I'm cryyyyying. (view spoiler)[Although I'm HOPING that when Lee turned his puck on that when it lit up, that meant Nico had messaged him!???? (hide spoiler)]• I'm a little concerned with some romance tropes it frolicked around. Like Lee's depression subsided when he fell in love with Nico. He stopped wanting to kill himself. Ermmm...yeah no. I don't think he was cured. But I wish books wouldn't indicate that finding love will equal your mental health issues going away. ALSO instalove.ALL IN ALL: this book was so splendidly cute and heartfelt and so good to read. I'll cry over the ending, but YA KNOW it wasn't awful...it just left me hanging so bad. I can't get over how lovely Lee was. <3 I loved all the robots and the conspiracy theories about who was trying to kill the President's son. I LOVED the world and the creepy old fashioned school full of rich kids and dorky kids. And Lee and Nico are obviously OTP. And the writing! The details! The thoughts it presented! I'm a fan."No wonder you're in the closet."My stomach clenched. "What makes you think I'm in the closet?""You mean you're out? You are kidding, aren't you?""Well," I mumbled."You asked me out on a date, Lee. We were just holding hands a second ago. Of course you're gay." He smacked my chest with the back of his hand.I cough up a weak laugh of my own. "Yeah. I was kidding. Of course I'm gay."
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  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    Wasn't sure what to expect going in. Ended up really enjoying it. Lee Fisher is a pretty typical nerdy teen. But his life is not an easy one. First, he's enrolled in an elite boarding school full of the future leaders of the world. His father is the current, ultra-conservative President of the United States of America and is currently fighting a war against a terrorist AI.named Charlotte. To make matters worse, Lee is gay. As you can imagine, he's in the closet, deep-deep in the closet. But when Wasn't sure what to expect going in. Ended up really enjoying it. Lee Fisher is a pretty typical nerdy teen. But his life is not an easy one. First, he's enrolled in an elite boarding school full of the future leaders of the world. His father is the current, ultra-conservative President of the United States of America and is currently fighting a war against a terrorist AI.named Charlotte. To make matters worse, Lee is gay. As you can imagine, he's in the closet, deep-deep in the closet. But when Charlette promises another attack and her attention to turn toward Lee; being gay doesn't seem so important anymore.This story caught my interest right from the start. The ideas it presents are very interesting and thought-provoking. The book is full of fine characters but this story is all about Lee. He's the main character of the book and all the focus is on him. He is so full of fears and insecurities. He is always afraid someone will learn his secret and make the fact he is gay public; destroying his father's political career. There is a consistent battle going on between Lee and his father that is typical of most teens but is magnified by his father's role as President. It adds a wonderful level of stress to the whole story. The plot was exciting and addictive. There were enough surprises and twists that I didn't see coming to give me a few "OH SHIT" moments. Disappointingly, some of it was a bit predictable. On a whole, I was really pleased with the plot and its climax.My only major complaint: There's no sequel.
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  • Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
    January 1, 1970
    Willful Machines is a near-future dystopia, in which an artificial intelligence called Charlotte is terrorizing America. Lee, the closeted gay son of the US president, is more worried about other things––like covering up his relationship with a new boy at school named Nico. But Lee soon finds out that he and Nico may both be pawns in Charlotte's sinister plans. What I liked:• Honestly, what really drew me to the book was that it has a gay main character (and a central gay romance). Lately I've b Willful Machines is a near-future dystopia, in which an artificial intelligence called Charlotte is terrorizing America. Lee, the closeted gay son of the US president, is more worried about other things––like covering up his relationship with a new boy at school named Nico. But Lee soon finds out that he and Nico may both be pawns in Charlotte's sinister plans. What I liked:• Honestly, what really drew me to the book was that it has a gay main character (and a central gay romance). Lately I've been trying to find more YA books with LGBTQ+ representation––particularly within sci-fi/fantasy, since I feel like it's super uncommon––so I was really glad to find this book for that reason. I appreciated that Lee's sexuality is definitely important to the plot, but it's not his only defining characteristic and it's not the only part of the story. • The world-building is pretty cool. While sometimes I wished there was more, I still enjoyed the interesting world the characters inhabited. I liked all of Lee's strange little robots (especially Gremlin––I want one!!). And I also thought all the politics surrounding AIs (or 2Bs, as they're referred to in this book) was quite thought-provoking. Tim Floreen obviously put a lot of thought into how the development of super-intelligent AIs would affect politics, ethics, etc. • Charlotte is really scary. At the beginning of the book, Lee describes her as an "electronic ghost", which I thought sounds pretty badass. (She was destroyed, but she was first able to "upload" herself into the Internet which is how she is still able to make attacks.) Not only that, but she's an intriguing and almost sympathetic villain. From the few scenes about her, it's plain to see how confused and tormented she is, over whether she is just a machine or something more than that. I was kinda confused about her in the end. (view spoiler)[That is, I was a little lost about what really happened to her––because like, she killed herself, but then Nico kept talking about her like she still existed and I was just ... ??? Maybe I missed something, but I feel like it wasn't all that clear. (hide spoiler)] But regardless, I thought she was a terrifying and interesting character. What didn't work for me:• While I appreciated that there was a gay romance in this book, it did unfortunately fall a bit too far into insta-love for me. I thought Lee and Nico were cute together, but ... I just wish we'd gotten to see their relationship develop over a little more time. Or at least, I wish they hadn't been confessing their undying love to each other mid-way through the book, when I felt like they barely knew each other. • There are a lot of plot twists and I felt like at some point, it kind of felt like overkill. The first big one (view spoiler)[that Nico is a 2B (hide spoiler)] I had predicted from the first page, but I was still willing to roll with it. Some of the plot twists later in the book, though, I found a bit perplexing. (view spoiler)[As I mentioned, I didn't fully understand the thing with Charlotte's suicide. And then all the "Waring is pretending to be Charlotte!! No, Stroud is pretending to be Charlotte!!!" ... and it all being some weird plot Stroud had come up with to like "make Lee into more of a man" (plus Stroud being in love with Lee's other grandpa??) I thought seemed ... a little too much. I don't know. I guess I was waiting for a more interesting explanation than that, and I think I would've preferred if Charlotte had just ... been Charlotte, since I thought she seemed pretty interesting to begin with. *shrugs* (hide spoiler)]• It felt a little incomplete. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but for some reason, I feel like by the end I'd only gotten half the story. Maybe it was all the big plot twists in rapid succession, and then a kind of abrupt conclusion, but I got to the last page and felt like, "... Wait, that's it?!" However, I see the author has hinted at there possibly being a sequel, so maybe that would cover some unanswered questions. The final word:Pros:• Gay romance• ROBOTS!!• Scary villainCons:• Insta-love• Some confusing plot twists• Didn't really have an endingBut I liked it, and I'd read the sequel if it ends up happening.
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  • KL (Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    (after reading)A solid 5 stars from me! A more detailed review up tomorrow, but let me quickly point out some of my observations.Pros:1. Lee is gay, which is lovely as we need more LGBT protagonists in the YA genre. 2. The writing superbly evokes an unsettling atmosphere.3. Okay basically I want to hug Lee for the rest of my life and tell him everything will be okay while feeding him good food and buying all the mechanical parts that exist in the world.4. Same goes for Nico, my poor baby, but he (after reading)A solid 5 stars from me! A more detailed review up tomorrow, but let me quickly point out some of my observations.Pros:1. Lee is gay, which is lovely as we need more LGBT protagonists in the YA genre. 2. The writing superbly evokes an unsettling atmosphere.3. Okay basically I want to hug Lee for the rest of my life and tell him everything will be okay while feeding him good food and buying all the mechanical parts that exist in the world.4. Same goes for Nico, my poor baby, but he'll have all the special edition fancy front cover Shakespeare plays he wants.5. Also a big yes for the philosophical questions the book unflinchingly throws- no, shoves right at your face and forces you to reconsider over and over again: what does it mean to be human? to what extent does the free will the world assures we own actually exists? how dangerous, or rather, how controlling is fear?6. Probable futuristic dystopians are a literary godsend.7. Can we talk more about Lee? So he's this fragile robot-geek with a spine of steel that unfortunately only comes out in rare circumstances, and he's constantly depressed since he has a seriously shitty life but always tries to be as positive as possible, and adorable and unexpectedly fierce and there's a ridiculously sweet love story!! This is sounding like a Richard Siken poem now (view spoiler)[(off the top of my head: I wanted to be kissed and he was very beautiful.../so it's summer/ so it's suicide/ so we're helpless in sleep and struggling at the bottom of the pool.) (hide spoiler)] so I will stop gushing— but the romance; which does bring to my next sectionCons:1. It's instalove. And I hate, hate hate instalove, loathe how two characters upon meeting can immediately swear an oath of undying fidelity, perpetual in the shores of time, then proceed to, well, go forth and multiply. So honestly I hated myself for loving Lee and Nico's relationship, then something (with a capital S) came about and I could ship them, guilt-free. Instalove that is not really instalove but actually is instalove. Ugh, semantics.2. The ending was far too abrupt for the story to be finished, with loose ends to be tied as the saying goes. Nevertheless, gratifying revelations were made and perhaps I'm just fishing for an excuse to demand a companion novel, cause y'know, loose ends and all.3. I hate Dr. Singh as a character, but that's personal ;)4. Never thought I'll be saying this, but ah, too much Shakespeare.Honestly? I just need the next book, like right now.(before:)The summary is beautiful?! Cause now we know of the following:1. There is an atypical female villain! #thankgodnotblonde2. Gay protagonist, damn right 3. It's a futuristic sci-fi dystopian 4. No insta-love (yes) and more importantly, no insta-love with the villain that will occupy the protagonist's thoughts, taking up half of the book as they are constantly torn between attraction and doing what is right.Crossed fingers for the book delivering what it promised.
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  • Shaun Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    This is one hell of a great book. It's exactly the kind of book I wanted as a teen, and even though I'm not a teenager anymore, I still loved it. The relationship between Lee and Nico feels real and sweet—the power of first love is on full display in this book—but it never overpowers the awesome sci-fi story. There's just so much to love about this book, and Tim Floreen has done an amazing job. I can't wait for everyone to read it.
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  • Grace Galinski
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. I can't even begin to express how much I enjoyed this book. Once I started it, I never wanted to put it down. It's just one plot twist after another, and it was amazing. There was definitely some major foreshadowing, which really kept me wanting to read more. One of the biggest plot twists though, I kind of saw coming after putting some things together. (If you decide to read this book, keep in mind the temperature of Nico's body, and you'll end up putting two and two together and Wow. Just wow. I can't even begin to express how much I enjoyed this book. Once I started it, I never wanted to put it down. It's just one plot twist after another, and it was amazing. There was definitely some major foreshadowing, which really kept me wanting to read more. One of the biggest plot twists though, I kind of saw coming after putting some things together. (If you decide to read this book, keep in mind the temperature of Nico's body, and you'll end up putting two and two together and figuring it out.)I'm not going to lie, there were some parts in this book that I wished never happened. I really didn't like what happened towards the ending, even though I knew it did have to happen. But I was really hoping it wouldn't. It just made the ending all that much more sad. Well, until the last chapter when I got some information that made it all okay. After reading this book, I really hope that there's going to be a sequel. I think with the way that it ended, there just really needs to be. There were so many things that were left unsaid and unresolved, that it just doesn't make sense for it to end there. I really want to hear what happens with Nico, and how Lee's dad is going to react to what happened in the last two chapters. But most importantly, I just want more of these characters. This book was like a rollercoaster of emotions. With every new chapter, it was just another twist or turn. Even though I may have seen a few of them coming, this book kept me intrigued the entire time, and that's one of the best qualities you can find in a book. I truly think that this is a book that anyone would enjoy. It really is amazing, and I'm glad I got to experience the adventure it took me on. I love how this book was written. I love the characters, and I love the almost supernatural feel of the book. I love science fiction, it's one of my favorite genres, and this book included everything I love about reading. It had adventure, love, and secrecy. But most importantly, minus the robots and everything, the world that it's set in really isn't that different from our world now. (At least in the way that I'm looking at it)
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 Well, this is frustrating. I love the concept and story of this book. Robots-with-feelings is seriously one of my favorite tropes of all time. And honestly, brace yourselves fellow goodreaders, I genuinely don't have a problem with insta-love. When it's written well, that is. If a writer is able to make you believe that two people have fallen deeply, desperately, life-alteringly in love in a very short amount of time or even instantaneously, then they've done their job as a storyteller. The 2.5 Well, this is frustrating. I love the concept and story of this book. Robots-with-feelings is seriously one of my favorite tropes of all time. And honestly, brace yourselves fellow goodreaders, I genuinely don't have a problem with insta-love. When it's written well, that is. If a writer is able to make you believe that two people have fallen deeply, desperately, life-alteringly in love in a very short amount of time or even instantaneously, then they've done their job as a storyteller. The problem here is not that there's insta-love in the first place (especially since this book is playing around with a romeo & juliet allusion) but that the way it was written was just not believable enough. There were times where it hit the mark, but on the whole I just couldn't bring myself to care about the romance or whether or not these characters end up together. I cared about Lee and Nico, separately. But their coupling just fell flat and came across inappropriately melodramatic and hard to take seriously, which is the risk one takes when tackling the dreaded "insta-love" plot device.That being said, I don't think it's because Floreen is a bad writer. I found the writing style interesting and engaging and a lot of thought-provoking ideas were thrown around, and I really liked all the shakespearean references that were tied into the plot and I really liked the idea of feeding shakespeare to a newly made robot to help them better understand and relate to humanity and love. I am weak shakespeare trash always. I just think the way he presented the romance ultimately didn't work. A for Effort...C Minus for Execution, if you will.Also, the ending was shockingly abrupt. Like...it ended on a climax with arguably no resolution to any of the questions the author had created, character and plot-wise. So........I'm guessing there's meant to be a sequel? If not, I am confused by the non-ending.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just. Wow. This. Book.I think I got something in my eye as I read that ending.It is better for the world if there will be a sequel.
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at page 55. This book is not that amazing, first of all, but probably more important is the fact that the main character has made at least ten stereotyped, racist comments about his Chilean love interest. And he's not called out for it, either. I want to pick this back up sometime to see if he ever is, because the premise of this book is really good, but honestly, who knows.
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  • Max Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free DRCI've never been good at waiting to review a book, especially one I'm excited for. So, once I was approved for this, you bet your ass I read it. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into when I started, in fact the only thing I really knew about it was that it was a sci-fi LGBT novel. That in its self is grounds for excitement, but after reading Willful Machines in its entirety, I should have been eons more excited, as should everyone who intends Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free DRCI've never been good at waiting to review a book, especially one I'm excited for. So, once I was approved for this, you bet your ass I read it. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into when I started, in fact the only thing I really knew about it was that it was a sci-fi LGBT novel. That in its self is grounds for excitement, but after reading Willful Machines in its entirety, I should have been eons more excited, as should everyone who intends to read this.While Willful Machines may seem like another A.I. gone array, it is so much more than that. It tackles a major issue from the first page to the last; what it means to be human. Is it free will? The way we think? Where does humanity end and artificial begin. And what really separates us from machines. We both need fuel. We're both programmed to do certain things. Combine all those thoughts with good ole fashion American fear, a spectacular romance, and a superb protagonist, you get this masterpiece.Lee Fisher is in the closet, costing through his elite private school life with politically active best friend/budding journalist Bex. From page one I loved Lee. He's a huge robotics nerd and, while sheltered, isn't totally helpless. He's not a badass in the traditional, slow-motion-walk-away-from-explosion sense, but in the reserved calculating kind. Reading from Lee's POV was spectacular. I loved everything about this kid. Floreen managed to create a character who was not only strong, but fragile at the same time. Lee was suicidal and depressed and my heart broke for him whenever he would talk about it. I legitimately cared for him. Sure he took some stupid risks and was annoying stubborn, but he's a teenager in love, and we all do stupid things when we're in love.Speaking of love, can I just point out how adorable Lee and Nico were? Like, I shipped them from their first interaction. They complement each other so well, their romance was so natural. They never felt forced or awkward, they acted like two teens in love and, in turn, I loved them. Nico was outgoing and somewhat hotheaded, but he wasn't an arrogant asshole like most YA love interests. He was sweet and caring and human.As for the side characters, I'm impressed with how well developed they were. They never once felt like simple cardboard cut outs of the stereotypes we see in LGBT fiction. Sure we've got the loud and supportive best friend, the old-fashion grandfather, and the not-technically-but-actually-really-homophobic father (who happens to be the President of the United States), but they've got enough character motivation and depth to justify their stereotypical behavior and, in the end, actually go through more development then the leads.The world building in this book is defiantly a strong point. While we're never specifically told what year it is, the blurb tells us it's in the not-to-far future, which, in most cases, is just vague enough to justify having any amount of random technology the author can think of. However, Floreen managed to create something akin to the natural progression of technology. The devices used in Willful Machines aren't just something he thought would be cool to use in the story, but also feel like they could exist in the near future. His world feels totally plausible and it works perfectly in this book.I'll admit I did see one of the twists coming from a mile away, but thankfully, there's so much more to this book. It's thrilling and suspenseful and heartfelt and just so real. I cannot sing enough praises for the writing and characters in this book. However, the themes in this book are what really hit the nail on the head for me.As I've stated earlier in this review, the whole idea of humanity is challenged in this book. It's a pretty broad topic, but Floreen managed to weave it expertly into the story. He also manages to sneak it something I've been noticing a lot of in the modern age: How we want to move forward, but live in constant fear of progress.For example: Lee's father uses Charlotte, an A.I who supposedly escaped into the internet and is regarded as a terrorist, as a way of turning his people against technology and progress, even though the government issued Charlotte's creation, as well as the American people, were 100% behind it. It shows that we're so willing to compromise our own humanity in an effort to prove that we're not like machines. It a terrifying thought, that we could forsake everything that makes us human in order to prove how human we really are. And that, like so many other things, is illustrated perfectly in this book. This is one of those books everyone should be talking about, because it's just that good.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    PSA ; THIS BOOK IS ONLY $6.95 ON AMAZON RN SO GO BUY IT4.5/5starsTHIS WAS A HUNDRED MILLION TIMES BETTER THAN I WAS EVER EXPECTING I LOVED THIS SO FUCKING MUCH AND ILL BE WRITING A WHOLE REVIEW AFTER I GO TAKE MY GODDAMN MATH FINAL AHHH. Ok let's start this. Many people may be wondering; "Kate, you hate YA, why the heck did u like this book so much?" Basically, besides being YA and having characters a bit too young for me to relate to anymore, and a couple stereotypical YA tropes, this novel tic PSA ; THIS BOOK IS ONLY $6.95 ON AMAZON RN SO GO BUY IT4.5/5starsTHIS WAS A HUNDRED MILLION TIMES BETTER THAN I WAS EVER EXPECTING I LOVED THIS SO FUCKING MUCH AND ILL BE WRITING A WHOLE REVIEW AFTER I GO TAKE MY GODDAMN MATH FINAL AHHH. Ok let's start this. Many people may be wondering; "Kate, you hate YA, why the heck did u like this book so much?" Basically, besides being YA and having characters a bit too young for me to relate to anymore, and a couple stereotypical YA tropes, this novel ticks off SO MANY of my favorite things.DIVERSE CHARACTERS.Hell yah. In a world where sci-fi is overrun with cis, straight, white characters - having a South American main character and two gay male characters was simply delightful. It made me realize I don't know if I've EVER read another book with a character from Chile? Or South America in general? which is absolutely iNSANE. Also, Nico was legit my favorite, sparky little character ever, he was a JOY to read about.TOPICS OF MENTAL HEALTHOur main character Lee has to deal with a lot - being the son of the POTUS who is homophobic (while he himself is gay), having people constantly after him because he's the First Son, his mothers death, etc etc etc. I loved how these things ACTUALLY AFFECTED HIM. And how the author discussed his depression and suicidal tendencies/thoughts - but it also wasn't his entire personality. SCIFII've been REALLY into scifi recently, and this book was a perfect combo of not TOO scifi-y and insane, but also had awesome robots, technology and a cool world. The robots/technology of this world really reminded me of CLAMP's Chobits - with the 2B's and pucks and robots and stuff like that. (Can we also talk about the hilarious pun with the 2B's (or not to be)? The Shakespeare in this story was FAB)AWESOME CHARACTERSLike wow, I loved all these characters?? Like, I want to just put Nico in my pocket and carry him around forever?? He's adorable? As well as Lee, although angsty and very much teenage-boy, he was a very enjoyable narrator to follow. He was definitely made more interested by his interest in robots and building his 'Creatures' - all of them were super cool. Doctor Singh was also incredible and had an amazing back story. Even Stroud's backstory was SUPER interesting. All of these characters, even side characters (like Bex or Trumbull or even Jeremy honestly we never even met him, only heard about him, and he was even pretty gr8) were SO well developed and interesting and I just wanted to know more about all of them.AWESOME PLOTSure, we've all read stories about fictional worlds where robots take over or become conscious or become more human than humans or whatever - and this book took that idea and made it REALLY fun. We follow Lee, the president's son, who goes to a boarding school where robots called 'Spiders' monitor everyone, everyone has 'pucks' which are sort of cellphone/laptop machines, and they learn everything from Shakespeare to building their own robots. One day an adorable Chilean boy shows up as a new student and befriends (and flirts) with Lee, who is so far into the closet he's in the very back with the winter coats because of who his father is. Obviously, the two fall for each other. They go out on adventures together, break some rules, kiss a couple times, and overall are literally just the cutest couple ever. Then, everything goes to shit when a computer program called "Charlotte" strikes with a terrorist attack at their school.THE ENDINGI absolutely LOVED the ending because it was one of my favorite types of endings; an open ending. At the end of this story we aren't 100% sure what is going to happen next. I know a LOT of people hate this, and prefer when their stories wrap up nicely with all loose ends tied in a little bow, but I'm a huge fan of open endings. This one honestly could have been the set up for a second book, but as of now, it's a standalone. The ending was absolutely ADORABLE and epic and amazing.PLOT TWISTSAlthough I DID guess one of the major plot twists of the book, the epic plot twists that just keep getting thrown at you in the last 50-75 pages of the book were AWESOME. I just AHH, people need to read this just so we can discuss what happens at the end of this book and all the insanity.Overall this book was surprisingly excellent. I would give it 5/5stars for overall enjoyment, and who knows, I may bump it up later, but for now its at 4.5/5stars because of the YA tropes that are definitely present - like the relationship was a BIT insta-love-y, there was a little too much teen angst for my liking, and (view spoiler)[ I just REALLY didn't understand why the hell Bex was suspicious of Nico. Like, seriously, one second she was like YES LEE DATE HIM HES GR8 and the next she was like NO HES SUSPICIOUS I THINK HES WORKING FOR CHARLOTTE and i was like why wtf whered that come from?? which is a bit petty of a thing to be annoyed at but I was pretty annoyed at it tbh (hide spoiler)] But, I would HIGHLY recommend this book for any YA lovers, people who enjoy Scifi, or people who enjoy cute, fun boy/boy gay relationships in books! Side note: i just realized this was my 100th book of the year and I'm immensely happy that it was a book I enjoyed so much!
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  • Gemma ♕ BunksMcCoy
    January 1, 1970
    Meh. I'm pretty underwhelmed. I'm not gonna spend ages on a review for this so this will be brief. I did not like Lee that much. He said and thought a lot of stuff that was kind of squiky. Like, really shallow and sometimes discriminatory stuff which is odd for a book which is dealing with some pretty big themes. Nico I liked more but I did figure his deal out much quicker than I would have liked. Also...the constant Shakespeare started to get on my nerves after a while. Bex may have well not ex Meh. I'm pretty underwhelmed. I'm not gonna spend ages on a review for this so this will be brief. I did not like Lee that much. He said and thought a lot of stuff that was kind of squiky. Like, really shallow and sometimes discriminatory stuff which is odd for a book which is dealing with some pretty big themes. Nico I liked more but I did figure his deal out much quicker than I would have liked. Also...the constant Shakespeare started to get on my nerves after a while. Bex may have well not existed because she was ditched pretty much as soon as Nico turned up. The ending was pretty anticlimactic. I said it looked at big themes but I didn't feel like it did it well. Homophobia is a massive part of the book but I felt like more should have been done with it. They built up this idea of the Human Values Movement and how people had taken it to mean different things to match their own personal values and taken the equal rights of women and LGBTQ+ back decades, but we don't really see it. They talk about it but we don't really see it. I don't think the book did a very good job of representing depression either. True, I'm lucky enough not to suffer with depression but this didn't seem like a very good portrayal of it to me. Also, the relationship between Lee and Nico was verging on instalove which I really dislike. The positives are I thought there were some good ideas here. I loved the technology in the story and the way it had progressed enough to mimic human life and I also really liked the feeling of fear that had been created by propaganda around it. I also liked how one incident had been twisted and hijacked to further the someone's own agenda because that part of it felt like something that is very true at the moment. It also represents how much fear can create misguided hatred and how this can lead to discrimination and how people that already feel this way will drive the fear of others to get support for what they want to achieve. I mean, there were other things I enjoyed about the book. I did like the progression of the relationship between Lee and Nico but it all happened so quickly! Like I'm pretty sure the whole story takes place over 4-5 days and that's quick to meet someone and profess your undying love to each other. There must have been more I liked but I just can't think of anything specific. It was just...ok.
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  • Jessica Folded Between the Pages of Books
    January 1, 1970
    Everything about this book was just okay. The characters weren't awful, but they were forgettable. The world building was almost believable, but just not that interesting. There was nothing horrible or offensive about this book, but there was just nothing really good either. Honestly, this book was so meh that I really can't think of anything else negative or positive to write about it. :/
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  • Arch Bala
    January 1, 1970
    It’s very difficult to write a review about this book. There are many things that I could say about it – mostly positive and maybe some philosophical shit but I’ll try to incorporate the notes I’ve written while reading it. First thing you need to know – this is one fucking lovely book! I don’t find the premise too original but I find it very unique. Huh? I know right? It is unique because the author decided to use LGBT young adult characters and that is what I loved most about it. The author co It’s very difficult to write a review about this book. There are many things that I could say about it – mostly positive and maybe some philosophical shit but I’ll try to incorporate the notes I’ve written while reading it. First thing you need to know – this is one fucking lovely book! I don’t find the premise too original but I find it very unique. Huh? I know right? It is unique because the author decided to use LGBT young adult characters and that is what I loved most about it. The author could’ve easily follow the “straight characters” YA route that would obviously garner much more readers but fortunately, (debatable I know, sue me) He gave us this wonderful story where the main character is gay albeit very much closeted at the beginning. I know there are a lot of LGBT themed young adult novels coming out these days but it’s very seldom that we read something from this genre. It still the same teenage angst but it’s more current, much exciting and very much provocative if I may say.Willful Machines takes place in a future where scientists create a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. Everything is good and dandy until she decided to terrorize the world via the internet.Enter Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee’s not too concern about Charlotte because he’s got other things to worry about including his crush on Nico, a new student at his school he’s trying to impressed until an attack at his school led him to believe that Charlotte’s actually targeting him. Should he trust Nico with his plan to uncover Charlotte’s plan? What is he willing to sacrifice to get the truth?This is one of those books that make you stop reading it just to contemplate things out. Stop. Take a break. Hmmm. Think. Then read again. And read again until you’re done. It’s one of those special books that you’d both take by its face value and look underneath its written verses. Here, you get to be in the places of Lee and Nico respectively. It was solely narrated by Lee but there’s a very definite description pertaining to Nico’s actions and emotions.One particular point that really struck me was when Nico vehemently said that being willing to die for a cause you believe in isn’t the same thing as just wanting to die” (view spoiler)[ pertaining to the bomb planted into Nico’s body. (hide spoiler)] I thought about the suicide bombers used by the terrorist nowadays. I guess you get the drift and I guess those people especially the kids or pregnant women used as one doesn’t really wanted to die but they have no choice in the matter – they may have been forced. Kids, I would have to agree about them being forced to do it along with the majority of women /men but there are people who are really willing to die for what they believe in right? They’re doing it for something that they aggressively believe in regardless of the end results, in today’s cases, a bloody and chaotic end results. At one point in the book, I thought – it must be this strong feeling from them that pushes them to do it. I am not validating their deeds, I do not agree with them personally but there’s definitely something in it right? It was a thought that really made me think about these people who are doing what they’re doing. Just the whole WHY thing percolating inside my brain.And I guess at one point, this would happen yeah? I mean the whole human-robot thing finally realized. I.Robot is scary enough if that would be the case but it’s very possible especially with the deluge of new technologies almost every day.I need to sum this up now because I don’t want to spill more spoilers about the book. You’d definitely get a kick out of this book. It’s nothing if not an incredible imagining of what could our future world would be like. Very highly recommended.Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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  • | Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars This needs another book!So, first, two things:It has a lot of philosophical things that make you think about the line between human and machine. (Though machines are far from being advanced as the one depicted in the book, they may be one day.)All of the characters are really likeable and have great back stories including the 'villians'.Overall, a very good book. It had a lot of action but good character development and plot. Again, it needs another book!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Willful Machines builds and showcases a fascinating world filled with technology, robots, and sabotage. A world being terrorized by an artificial human who escaped her creators. Throw in two adorable boys and well….you get my full attention. :DWhen Lee Fisher, our blushing, brainy robotics wiz, meets Nico, the new boy at school, all kinds of sparks and trouble shake loose. You see Lee is the U.S. President’s son and apparent target of Charlotte, the A.I. threat. When Lee is attacked, questions a Willful Machines builds and showcases a fascinating world filled with technology, robots, and sabotage. A world being terrorized by an artificial human who escaped her creators. Throw in two adorable boys and well….you get my full attention. :DWhen Lee Fisher, our blushing, brainy robotics wiz, meets Nico, the new boy at school, all kinds of sparks and trouble shake loose. You see Lee is the U.S. President’s son and apparent target of Charlotte, the A.I. threat. When Lee is attacked, questions and doubts begin to take flight. Is Nico involved? Can Nico be trusted? He’s a Shakespeare obsessed cutie—what’s not to trust and love? As much as I liked following Lee and Nico, I found myself caring more about two side characters (Gremlin and Trumbull) as the book moved on. *shrugs* I tend to do that sometimes. Fall for the side characters. Haha…Gremlin was too cute to ignore--always there in Lee’s pocket purring away.I look forward to more from Tim Floreen and these characters I hope. I enjoyed the free will vs. programmed emotions debate very much. Plus that fireside chat! Gah! That scene alone is worth the visit to this world. Spooky with a capital S! That conversation with the shadows flickering about the room and the bone over the mantel will haunt me for a long time. Unforgettable!
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Blog| Facebook| https://www.instagram.com/gewispertew... '’[…] My question is this: How are human beings any different? My dad’s always talking about how 2Bs don’t have true free will, like humans do. But aren’t our choices determined by our programming too? Our genes and our environment and all? Aren’t we basically just robots ourselves?’’ – Lee Fisher (p. 216)Lee Fisher ist der Sohn des Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten der Zukunft – und ein totaler Versager. An der Inverness Prep High Scho Blog| Facebook| https://www.instagram.com/gewispertew... '’[…] My question is this: How are human beings any different? My dad’s always talking about how 2Bs don’t have true free will, like humans do. But aren’t our choices determined by our programming too? Our genes and our environment and all? Aren’t we basically just robots ourselves?’’ – Lee Fisher (p. 216)Lee Fisher ist der Sohn des Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten der Zukunft – und ein totaler Versager. An der Inverness Prep High School, einem Internat für die zukünftige Elite, ist er ein Außenseiter und schlägt seine Zeit mit dem Bau von kleinen Robotern tot. Doch schon bald ereignen sich dort ungewöhnliche Dinge, die alle auf die Terroristin Charlotte zurückführen, eine künstliche Intelligenz, die ihr Bewusstsein ins Supernet geladen hat, um der Öffentlichkeit das Handwerk zu legen. Wird der Präsidentensohn ihr nächstes Anschlagsziel?Der Klappentext dieses Buches verspricht einen SciFi-Politthriller, in dem Menschlichkeit beleuchtet wird und sich eine kleine Liebesgeschichte am Rande entwickelt, die neben der ernsten Thematik ein wenig Süße in die Geschichte bringt.Leider ist genau das Gegenteil der Fall, was der Hauptgrund ist, warum Willful Machines eine derartige Enttäuschung ist. Die Liebesgeschichte nimmt nämlich schätzungsweise achtzig Prozent der Handlung ein, und das obwohl sie sich nicht mal über eine Woche erstreckt und sie absolut nichts Neues oder Berührendes bereithält. Sie ist so, wie man sie Dutzende Male in YA-Liebesgeschichten erlebt hat: ein total unsicherer Protagonist trifft auf einen total extrovertierten heißen Kerl, der ihm von Anfang an den Atem raubt und für den er innerhalb von Tagen der Bekanntschaft sein Leben aufgeben würde. Verbunden mit gruseligem Stalking am Tag, an dem sich die beiden kennenlernen, und einem größeren Vertrauen dem scharfen Unbekannten gegenüber als seiner langjährigen besten Freundin, macht die Liebesgeschichte überhaupt keinen Spaß und nimmt viel zu viel Platz ein dafür, dass sie so uninteressant und unglaubwürdig ist. Charlotte und ihre terroristischen Anschläge spielen nämlich erst nach über 200 Seiten eine echte Rolle, obwohl man bei der Vermarktung den Eindruck hat, als würde es sich hauptsächlich um sie drehen. Bis dahin hat man lauter möchtegern-romantische Szenen, die kaum Chemie versprühen und einen nur weiterblättern lassen in der Hoffnung, dass sie aufhören werden und der interessante Teil der Geschichte beginnen wird.Science-Ficiton-Elemente sind nämlich auch eher sporadisch über das Buch hin verstreut und in sich, genauso wie dieses zukünftige Amerika, nicht schlüssig. So gibt es beispielsweise die Regel, dass man Maschinen nicht zu sehr nach realen Lebewesen aussehen lassen darf, um die Grenze zwischen Lebewesen und Maschinen zu wahren. Trotzdem werden einem direkt danach die ,,Spinnen‘‘ gezeigt, die niedere Arbeiten an der Schule verrichten. Ebenfalls nicht durchdacht sind die politischen Ansätze, die sich Tim Floreen hat einfallen lassen. Es gibt bestimmte Gesetze(svorschläge) wie das Human Values Amendment, in dem der freie Wille als das festgelegt wird, was Menschen von Robotern unterscheidet. Und dennoch soll diese Feststellung ein Grund dafür sein, zweihundert Jahre der menschlichen Entwicklung zurückzugehen und Homosexualität und einen eigenwilligen Kleidungsstil zu verpönen. Sollte diese Dinge nicht eher gefördert werden, wenn individuelle Entscheidungen zum Merkmal der Menschheit geworden sind? Fast macht das den Eindruck, als hätte der Autor Lee einen Grund geben wollen, sich nicht zu outen und der sowieso schon kitschigen Lovestory noch mehr Melodramatik zu geben.Allgemein sind die Figuren eher flach und Abbilder von Klischees, die man bereits kennt. Lee mit seinem Robotik-Hobby und psychischen Problemen ist noch der tiefgründigste Charakter, und selbst für ihn und sein Erleben interessiert man sich im Laufe des Buches immer weniger. Alle anderen sind so vergessenswert, dass man eine Weile überlegen muss, ehe einem ihre Namen wieder einfallen. Das Enttäuschendste daran ist, dass selbst Charlotte überhaupt keine Tiefe besitzt und über lange Zeit nicht mal auftaucht. Die Hauptfigur selbst beginnt sich, obwohl sie der Sohn des Präsidenten ist, erst dann für sie zu interessieren, als er selbst – und natürlich sein Geliebter – von ihr betroffen ist, weswegen man kaum Input über sie bekommt. Dabei wäre sie mit ihren ideologischen Ansichten und ihrer Menschlichkeit trotz ihrer Künstlichkeit der mit Abstand interessanteste Charakter in der Story geworden.Auch die Auflösung des Ganzen ist ein einziges großes Chaos. Der Autor bemüht sich, ein großes Finale aufzubauen, nachdem das Davor ein einziges Melodrama ist, jedoch beschreibt er das Geschehen so verworren, dass man als Leser bei den actionlastigen Szenen kaum mitkommt. Auch schon davor kann man sich einige Umschreibungen nicht wirklich vorstellen, die letzten fünfzig Seiten sind aber wirklich die pure Verwirrung. Ebenso sind die ,,großen Wendungen‘‘ entweder kaum nachzuvollziehen oder absolut vorhersehbar, sodass einen überhaupt nichts mitreißt oder emotional mitnimmt.Immerhin bemüht sich der Autor, wenn er schon allem anderen kaum Farbe verleihen kann, ein wenig über das Thema Menschsein und Maschinen zu philosophieren. Die aufgeworfenen Fragen sind gar nicht mal so uninteressant und können einen selbst zum Nachdenken anregen; doch sie sind ebenso wie der Rest der Geschichte kaum ausgearbeitet.Alles in allem ein sehr enttäuschender Liebesroman, der sich weder für eine authentische Romanze interessiert noch für das Sci-Fi-Setting, in dem er angesetzt ist. Bis auf genervtes Augenrollen und ungeduldige Seufzer können einem Lee und sein Objekt der Begierde absolut nichts entlocken und das, wofür man sich eigentlich interessiert, ist viel zu blass und unausgearbeitet, als dass es einen in die Geschichte saugen könnte. Gekoppelt an einen recht konfusen Schreibstil sowie kaum vorhandene Informationen ein Buch, das nichts von dem, was es verspricht, einhält, und letztlich genauso ist wie die ein, zwei philosophischen Dialoge in Willful Machines: nicht zu Ende gedachte Ansätze.Gesamtwertung: 2.25/5.00 Sternen
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    So, where do I start with this review? I LOVED Willful Machines. Everything about this book is phenomenal, from the writing to the characters to the story that was perfectly paced and ready for you to highlight and tab. It's SO quotable.Usually when I saw a grin that big on people, it made me want to shake them and ask them what there was to be so damn happy about. But not with Nico. His grin just made my knees feel squishy.This book makes me knees feel squishy. ANYWAYS. Willful Machines stars L So, where do I start with this review? I LOVED Willful Machines. Everything about this book is phenomenal, from the writing to the characters to the story that was perfectly paced and ready for you to highlight and tab. It's SO quotable.Usually when I saw a grin that big on people, it made me want to shake them and ask them what there was to be so damn happy about. But not with Nico. His grin just made my knees feel squishy.This book makes me knees feel squishy. ANYWAYS. Willful Machines stars Lee Fisher, a shy boy who is trapped in the closet thanks to antiquated thoughts held by his father who is also the President, and Nico, the new kid in town who is smoking hot, slightly mysterious, and determined to get to know Lee better. They're joined by a cast of supporting characters that include the President, Lee's (dead) scientist mother, Bex (Lee's BFF), and Lee's grandfather, who runs the school Lee and Nico go to. Oh, and Charlotte, the zombie AI who may or may not be causing havoc around the world.But aren’t our choices determined by our programming too? Our genes and our environment and all that? Aren’t we basically just robots ourselves?Set in an undetermined (but futuristic) timeline, the world of Willful Machines is most terrifying because of how realistic it is. This is the dystopia that could happen in our lifetimes. The people fear robots, who have become so human-like that they demand rights or they will fight back. It's a civil war that no one is going to win. The humans have practically become archaic in their thinking to "protect" themselves; again, no one is winning. It's practically nonsensical, which is too close to the world we live in now.“The real question isn’t whether 2Bs are alive,” she said. “It’s whether humans are anything more than machines. But I have a feeling you knew that already.”Willful Machines, much like Boy Robot and The Diabolic, explores what it means to be human. It explores free will in a way that will have you questioning yourself like no other book has. The arguments posed on either side will have you deep in thought.Within the story, there's a significant romance subplot between Lee and Nico. If you're not cheering for them, then you might have a heart of ice. Their romance is so dang cute. There's also a lot of action/thriller, especially in the back half of the story. There's something for everyone here, packaged in writing that keeps you entertained the whole way through.Willful Machines is a book I let sit on my TBR for far too long. Don't make the same mistake!
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  • Lukas (LukeLaneReads)
    January 1, 1970
    A good step in LGBT fictionLGBT fiction has seen a bit of resurgence lately, especially in genre circles. While contemporary used to hold a lot of sway, I find that more and more genre defined books are being aimed at an LGBT audience, especially within the YA community.Take this book for instance, ‘Willfull Machines’ is a sci-fi novel about robots, government conspiracies and a sort of a future dystopia. It does this however with a gay character in the lead, which maybe helps make the book be a A good step in LGBT fictionLGBT fiction has seen a bit of resurgence lately, especially in genre circles. While contemporary used to hold a lot of sway, I find that more and more genre defined books are being aimed at an LGBT audience, especially within the YA community.Take this book for instance, ‘Willfull Machines’ is a sci-fi novel about robots, government conspiracies and a sort of a future dystopia. It does this however with a gay character in the lead, which maybe helps make the book be a little more refreshing than it would have been originally. The story here still includes some elements that we are familiar with from contemporary LGBT literature, there are the typical coming out issues, and the weariness of first love, but they are side stories instead of the main focus. The main focus here involves a robot created by the government who has escaped it’s laboratory and become somewhat of a sentient ‘terrorist’. Our main character has been targeted by this robot as he is the presidents son, and deemed a good target. There is also the peculiar new boy in school who has taken an interest in him…and well, i’m sure you can see where this is going. Overall I found ‘Willfull Machines’ to be an engaging read. It might not be the most original concept (outside of it’s LGBT inclusive-ness) and it won’t be one you remember for a long time after but it’s an enjoyable, quick read that shows what LGBT literature could be if more books like this made it to publication. This book was published by Simon Pulse who tend to publish quite a few LGBT books experimenting with their genre, and I’m going to hunt out a few more to read very soon. Overall, 3 Stars. I’m not sure if there will be a sequel, but I’ll probably read it if one is made.
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  • rin (lorenzo)
    January 1, 1970
    INSTA-LOVE RUINS EVERYTHINGi liked the idea of this book because i am a sucker for AI and robots stuff and I go pretty much crazy when it's evil AI and robots stuff. It also featured a cute gay couple (where one teenager is closeted WHY ARE THERE CLOSETS IN THE FUTURE) bur I couldn't enjoy it because it was insta-romance and it ruined everything for me D: I liked the characters though (even despite cringy quoting of Shakespeare) but I wasn't into this stuff at all.The mystery is OK here, plot tw INSTA-LOVE RUINS EVERYTHINGi liked the idea of this book because i am a sucker for AI and robots stuff and I go pretty much crazy when it's evil AI and robots stuff. It also featured a cute gay couple (where one teenager is closeted WHY ARE THERE CLOSETS IN THE FUTURE) bur I couldn't enjoy it because it was insta-romance and it ruined everything for me D: I liked the characters though (even despite cringy quoting of Shakespeare) but I wasn't into this stuff at all.The mystery is OK here, plot twist seemed a little far-fetched but fine overall. I also want to know whether it's a standalone of a first installment of the series, because there is an open ending.5 out of 10, i think. Not bad, but a little disappointing, and. tbh. could've been better.
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  • Krystianna
    January 1, 1970
    This was exceptional! Full review to come. **Thank you so much to SimonPulse for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I was extremely eager to begin reading Willful Machines, as I've been spending a lot of my time reading contemporary this year. It was therefore a very refreshing read for me! The story follows Lee, who is son of the President of the United States in the future. In this future, the world has kind of gone backwards a bit. Girls and women have lost some righ This was exceptional! Full review to come. **Thank you so much to SimonPulse for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I was extremely eager to begin reading Willful Machines, as I've been spending a lot of my time reading contemporary this year. It was therefore a very refreshing read for me! The story follows Lee, who is son of the President of the United States in the future. In this future, the world has kind of gone backwards a bit. Girls and women have lost some rights among other things. It's kind of disturbing to think about, so I hope that never happens! Anyway, Lee has a crush on a new kid named Nico, who's completely different. The two of them begin hanging out a bit, with the help of his best friend. However, he starts getting attacked at school by machines, and everyone believes that Charlotte could possibly be behind it.I found the idea of Charlotte extremely creepy! I mean, the idea of a computerized robot going out and attacking the United States, even going as far as attacking the Statue of Liberty, is pretty darn scary. It got me thinking about if that could ever actually happen, and I honest to God hope that it can't. Lee's mom was actually killed by Charlotte when she escaped the system, because everyone was going to shut Charlotte down. In other words, Lee and his father are Charlotte's number one haters. I loved that Lee was really into making machines. It was very steampunkish in that aspect, which I found really cool. He even had a little machine that he constantly kept in his pocket that would tug at his ear. There was a cute story behind that, but I won't give it away! It just made me want to meet Lee's mother even more. The relationship between Lee and Nico was awesome. This was actually my first book featuring a gay protagonist, and I loved every minute of it. The two of them were extremely cute and I loved watching the two of them gain a stronger relationship throughout the book. If you're in the mood for a very unique science fiction read, I highly suggest checking out Willful Machines.
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  • Mónica BQ
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 rounded upI live for books like this one.Willful Machines is the coming-of-age story of Lee, told in a futuristic/sci-fi world. But it's about a lot more too. The book basically asks the question of "what makes us human?". While we are told the story of how Lee- the President's son- is slowly falling in love with the new kid-Nico- we also get the story of how his dad became President- a conservative, right wing, anti-AI life, President. And all throughout the book you get incredibly thoughtf 4.5 rounded upI live for books like this one.Willful Machines is the coming-of-age story of Lee, told in a futuristic/sci-fi world. But it's about a lot more too. The book basically asks the question of "what makes us human?". While we are told the story of how Lee- the President's son- is slowly falling in love with the new kid-Nico- we also get the story of how his dad became President- a conservative, right wing, anti-AI life, President. And all throughout the book you get incredibly thoughtful insights into life-long questions like how do you put value into a life, and what do you consider an actual life. WM is a book that makes you question it all yourself. And I admire that even thou it tells a full story for Lee, it doesn't answer anything and it doesn't offer easy solutions for the readers. I love that this a very easy to read book, this is basically a fast-paced thriller, and light despite the serious and in-depth look it takes into depression, suicidal thoughts, family discordance, child neglecting and of course, the point of life.A lot of people didn't like the almost open-ended last chapter, but aside from wanting a more concise ending for Bex, I actually really enjoyed not knowing anything definitive. Plus, if it's leaving space for a sequel, weeeeell, I'm up for it!I usually don't like having such an insta-love thing, but it works for me here because the romance is not the primary theme of the book. Lee questioning (and having the reader question) the meaning of life, the concept of free will and the basics of humanity is the point of the story. I think the great thing about this book is how much fun it is while being a truly serious tackle on the ethics and consequences of Artificial Intelligence and where do we draw the line. Because the moment you make Willful Machines humane, you have to decide if you'll treat them like humans.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    This was very cute, and a really interesting spin on a "coming out" story. Sci-fi is not generally my thing but this worked for me just fine, and I definitely plan to pick up Tattoo Atlas.
  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Really liked this and really hoping for a sequel!
  • Pages For Thoughts
    January 1, 1970
    The concept of the book is "what makes us human?" If somebody was in a bad accident and they had to get tons of robot parts, are they still human and protected by the law? When you google the word "human," there is no real definition. The main point why Charlotte was rebelling was because she wanted rights. The scientists created her to be like a human, and she got mad because she was not being treated like one. They gave her life, but took away what makes life worth living. Charlotte may be a r The concept of the book is "what makes us human?" If somebody was in a bad accident and they had to get tons of robot parts, are they still human and protected by the law? When you google the word "human," there is no real definition. The main point why Charlotte was rebelling was because she wanted rights. The scientists created her to be like a human, and she got mad because she was not being treated like one. They gave her life, but took away what makes life worth living. Charlotte may be a robot, but she still counts as a character. And I say that her motives make sense. In the future when artificial intelligence becomes more prominent, human rights debates will increase dramatically. In this book, the plot seems more realistic. There is even LGBT romance in this book. Being the son of the president makes it a cool book, regardless of robots. The robotics just takes it to the next level. Read much more of my thoughts at http://pagesforthoughts.blogspot.com/...
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  • Hannah M.
    January 1, 1970
    My overall rating is 4.9 starsThe only reason it isn't a full 5 stars is because it took a little while for me to get into the book, I didn't really start getting into it until chapter 6. But after that, it was amazing.I was totally hooked to the storyline, and the characters were incredible too. Honestly, there were tons of plot twists, and I didn't see any of them coming. Especially the end. The end. THE END!! I couldn't even comprehend it. I literally read the last 40 pages during ELA, and I My overall rating is 4.9 starsThe only reason it isn't a full 5 stars is because it took a little while for me to get into the book, I didn't really start getting into it until chapter 6. But after that, it was amazing.I was totally hooked to the storyline, and the characters were incredible too. Honestly, there were tons of plot twists, and I didn't see any of them coming. Especially the end. The end. THE END!! I couldn't even comprehend it. I literally read the last 40 pages during ELA, and I know I looked extremely weird because I was almost crying from shock.Sorry this review is short, but I'm pretty much speechless and I can't say much without spoilers.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved... -----------------------------I have very mixed feelings about Willful Machines . On the one hand, there were parts that I loved and that I think were really, really strong; and on the other... there were parts that I definitely did not love. Unfortunately, the parts I loved were in the beginning, and the rest were at the end, so ultimately... I'm left feeling rather disappointed.Most of my positive feelings stem from the fa This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved... -----------------------------I have very mixed feelings about Willful Machines . On the one hand, there were parts that I loved and that I think were really, really strong; and on the other... there were parts that I definitely did not love. Unfortunately, the parts I loved were in the beginning, and the rest were at the end, so ultimately... I'm left feeling rather disappointed.Most of my positive feelings stem from the fact that the first half (ish) of this book reads like a slightly-futuristic contemporary with a dash of sci-fi, which I adored. There were great characters, a great friendship, a super cute crush, and some ominous plot-related tension. The first half was really, solidly good.Lee, our main character and narrator, is the closeted son of the US president. (He's so closeted that his best friend calls him a Walking Walk-In, which I found adorable.) Lee is a bit of a nerd, which I loved. He has a knack for robotics, which is ironic, becuase his dad (the president) is sort of anti-robot; he considers himself rather unexceptional (as does his father); he's shy and rather anxious; and he's always second-guessing himself. His best friend, Bex, is pretty much the exact opposite. She's outgoing, argumentative, but ultimately extremely supportive and a really good friend to Lee. Enter Nico, the new guy at school, who's basically just pure joy. He loves life, he's super positive, and he and Lee seem to just fit together.Add to that the tension of an imminent AI attack, possibly targeting Lee himself, and you have a super solid base to this book. Like I said, this first part reads like a slightly-futuristic contemporary with some sci-fi tension, and it was good.That was the book I really, really liked. Probably solidly-4-star-liked. All the characters were established really well, and I was looking forward to further development from them and from the plot.But in the second half (ish) -- once the plot took hold and the pace started really picking up -- my interest waned. (Which seems like a weird place to lose interest, but there you go.) I can't talk about a lot of it due to spoilers (it's going to be way too easy to spoil this book. I honestly think the synopsis goes a little too far in explaining the plot), but I will say that I think Floreen's skill with the characters and relationships in the first half is totally lost in the "action-packed" second half. The plot completely takes over -- which had to do with robot attacks at Lee's school, and the AI, Charlotte, who's behind them. There are a bunch of little twists, but they didn't really blow my mind -- I mean, I didn't totally see them coming, but they didn't surprise me, either.But most of all, I was disappointed that the great character stuff that I loved in the first half seemed to be brushed aside in favor of the action -- Bex isn't around as much, and Lee and Nico... well, I can't say much, because again, spoilers; but their relationship takes a turn that I didn't really love (that 'turn' is probably not what you think).Also... the ending isn't really an ending, full stop. The plot of this book wraps up alright, but there are too many loose ends to call Willful Machines a solid standalone. The problem is, I feel like if it had wrapped up without needing a sequel, I might have ended up seeing the second half in a little different light, and it could have been a great standalone. As it is, though, I'm left with a feeling of incompleteness, and mild disappointment. In conclusion...*sigh* I was really super excited for this book, but it just didn't work out very well for me in the end. It was very good in the beginning; the entire thing was entertaining, overall; and I do think it raises some really interesting questions about humanity... But I'm simply too 'meh'/disappointed with the second half and the ending to be able to strongly recommend it. *shrugs*-- There were books involved...
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  • Halley Hopson
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars.I was rather bored for the first half of this; it mostly felt like a YA contemporary romance for awhile but once the sci-fi elements became more pronounced and the big reveal happened, the plot took off like a bullet. I loved the robotic aspects to this story and though Lee got on my nerves a couple of times with bouts of his teenage l I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude, I really enjoyed his character for the most part. I loved the small focus on Shakespeare and the quotes of his which t 3.75 stars.I was rather bored for the first half of this; it mostly felt like a YA contemporary romance for awhile but once the sci-fi elements became more pronounced and the big reveal happened, the plot took off like a bullet. I loved the robotic aspects to this story and though Lee got on my nerves a couple of times with bouts of his teenage l I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude, I really enjoyed his character for the most part. I loved the small focus on Shakespeare and the quotes of his which tied into the main plot perfectly. I've always enjoyed stories that have to do with artificial intelligence and I loved the questioning your morals way that the subject was handled. Lee's depression was also handled incredibly well; his mothers death and his struggle with his sexuality actually affected him, which was very refreshing to see as it made him that much more realistic of a character. This is definitely like nothing I've read before and I find interesting that it's a standalone as opposed to a series, which is very well could have been, but I'm glad it ended where it did. The writing style was very easy to read and the plot twists were thrown in there with such precise timing that I didn't see them coming; if I suspected something, it never turned out the way I expected. Overall, very enjoyable read and I would definitely be willing to pick up another of Floreen's books sometime in the future.
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  • Caleb Roehrig
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, man, this was such a fun read. Part rollicking sci-fi adventure -- with futuristic gadgets and nerve-racking action sequences -- and part sweet, swoony m/m romance, this book has it all. Floreen's writing flows beautifully, with great cliffhangers and compelling twists that will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. If you're looking for a funny, thrilling, thought-provoking book in which a gay boy gets to save the day, look no further!!
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