According to the inner front cover flap. Exit Strategy is the final novella of the Murderbot Diaries; except that now in about a week, book 5, the novel, will be due out. The saga of Murderbot continues with a real emphasis on a theme that’s kind of been there the whole time: corporate evil. Maybe it’s some of the news lately, but the whole profit over life vibe GreyCris and its people, some of whom Murderbot actually meets this time, give off seems pretty timely.
The plot continues from book 3 in which Murderbot has to get its evidence of corporate misdeeds to Mensah and the rest of the original team of humans that Murderbot sort of bonded with back in book 1. The problem is that Mensah seems to have been kidnapped by GreyCris after attempts at legal shenanigans, bribery and/or threats fail. So now Murderbot has to convince Pin-Lee and the rest to trust it, they have to find Mensah, rescue her, and take down the corporation that’s been threatening them since the beginning. This of course means quite a bit of adventure and fighting.
The thing I don’t quite get is how or why all of the other powers around let GreyCris get away with things, especially when the company starts doing things that cause problems for other organizations. I also wonder why Murderbot who has the ability to change its own programming repeatedly says things like “I hate emotions” yet does nothing about having them. Mensah at one point actually points out to Murderbot that it is capable of things it was not initially programmed to do; the emotions are part of what makes the character interesting, but this seems like a bit of a hole in the world of the story that bugs me just a little.
The conclusion of the story is pretty open-ended, which is why I’m both glad there is a book five forthcoming but also wondering why this might have initially been planned as the end. It’s pretty similar in a lot of ways to the end of the first novella, so the circularity seems a little strange. It’s not really a problem, but kind of like with the thing with Murderbot’s emotions, I just have to wonder why consider leaving the story at that since it would have been just a bit unsatisfying.