Well, not final, I guess, since there is going to be a Murderbot novel in 2020 (hooray!), but final FOR NOW. The initial arc of Murderbot becoming a person has concluded.
We come full circle in Exit Strategy, with Murderbot traveling back to rescue Dr. Mensah, and teaming up with the initial group of humans from All Systems Red. Murderbot’s irrational grudge against Gurathin continues to give me life:
“I don’t want to be a pet robot.”
“I don’t think anyone wants that.”
That was Gurathin. I don’t like him. “I don’t like you.”
He sounded like he thought it was funny. “That is not funny.”
“I’m going to mark your cognition at fifty-five percent.”
“Let’s make that sixty percent.”
Anyway, the gang’s all back together, which means Murderbot continually having to experiences those forking emotions he hates so much. (The New York Times review of this book brilliantly describes Murderbot as “a beautiful blend of exhausted cynicism and deep, helpless love”.) Murderbot tells himself he has to rescue Mensah because he feels responsible for her predicament (his activities in book three directly led to GrayCris holding her hostage), but he’s also doing it because despite his own conflicted feelings about identity and personhood, Murderbot loves Mensah.
To sum up: this book was great, you will probably have feelings about it, but unlike Murderbot, you will enjoy those feelings.
The stories told in these four novellas absolutely worked well in novella format, but I have to say, I’m really excited to see what Wells can do with these characters in the context of a full novel.