Review: vN (The Machine Dynasty #1) by Madeline Ashby

July 31, 2012 5 stars, Book Review 10 ★★★★★

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing..


I hope you’re hungry because vN will definitely give you a lot to chew on!  The main character Amy is a young robot – but not the typical image that likely first pops into your mind of some metal robot.  These robots pretty much look just like humans, have skin (though flawless), bleed, eat, etc.  They give birth or “iterate” in a similar way that humans do (you’ll have to read to find out how).  Their offspring are babies and grow as they feed on raw materials, but they look like exact copies of their parent.  So since they are born babies they need to eat and grow essentially like we do.  They have a fail safe in them to  not be able to stand if harm comes to humans.

When I first read the description of vN and saw that cover I knew I had to read it.  I mean come on – she eats her own grandmother! If that isn’t enough to entice you to read it – Amy practically goes bat shit crazy because of it.  Alright, well more like her grandmother was bat shit crazy and is now inside her head constantly trying to take over.  It makes for some great action throughout the whole book.

The first few chapters is a nice setup with background info on Amy, her mother and father.  Her mother is a vN her father is human.  Obviously he isn’t a “biological” father but he loves Amy’s mother and her.  After these short chapters in the beginning the action starts and practically never stops!  It was such an interesting book and you get to read from several different points of view.  Often when I read a book done that way I feel like you can’t see enough of the character progression and growth but this book was so well written that you definitely feel Amy’s growth as well as the main supporting character Javier.

The ideas presented in vN are fascinating.  Could this be where we are headed? I love thinking about science fiction of any kind and imagining if that kind of technology will really be what we will have in 20, 50, or 100 plus years.  All of the struggles that Amy goes through, physical, mental and yes emotional were executed perfectly.  Also, the ones you see in Javier.  Amy is obviously special so I really liked the fact that you also got to see the progression of Javier since he is more like the typical vN and you can see how they really are people even if they are robots.  They think and feel and can want things beyond their built in restrictions.

The tension between Amy and Javier is awesome, as the reader I think you can sense there might be something there and you might even want there to be – but the author builds the relationship so well that it is so much more of a solid and real interaction to me than many other books I’ve read.

I’m foaming at the mouth to read the next book.  Though I know this was the first book in a series it was MOST definitely its own complete story and can in my mind stand on its own legs.  I hate when series books are started off and they just leave you with a cliff hanger at the end.  This was not the case.  I think if you are up for something different definitely give vN a try.  It’s not a ‘light’ read but it’s got so much action to it and thought provoking juices that you’ll rip right through it!

                                                                   Tabitha the Pabkins

*Review Copy provided by Publisher for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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10 Responses to “Review: vN (The Machine Dynasty #1) by Madeline Ashby”

    • Pabkins

      Stupid net just ate my whole response! Ii loved this book, hope you do decide to give it a try, we are offering it as our giveaway this month, so go enter! As for the passage I’ve been waiting for the library kindle copy and it still hasn’t been available, the wait list is long so I’m gonna give up and just buy the kindle copy. So hopefully I’ll let you know soon. Btw baby is due next week so what with being the size of a whale and tired all the time I haven’t been reading as much.

    • Pabkins

      I love when I convince someone! I don’t give five stars often, but this one I thoroughly enjoyed!

  1. Maggie

    This book sounds awesome! I like that the character building is so important and it’s nice to hear this book does that. I also really like futuristic books- especially one that seem grounded in technology that we are using or close to using in today’s society. The cover IS totally rocking, makes me want to look into it.

  2. Jaime Lester

    All I needed to read of your review to know that I wanted to read this book was that chick ate her bat-shit crazy gramma, and bat-shit crazy gramma is in her head making chick feel bat-shit crazy! How could someone NOT want to read this book!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      EXACTLY! He’ll you said it better than I did! That is exactly it though. I freaking loved this book and book two hardcore. Bat shit crazy old lady, sexy robot man, and just a while lot of WTF! Sometimes I swear I can never go wrong with a Angry Robot title.

      • Jaime Lester

        Haven’t read a ton of robot stuff, or sci-fi, but I am getting more and more into it. I will definitely be looking for this series ASAP!