The robots took over the world in 2051, killing most of the humans. Now, 14 years later, they run tightly controlled cities, keeping the remaining humans in line. People are allowed to have families, jobs and a minimum education, as long as they obey the robot law. Embedded chips track every move, and one step out of line leads to "re-education," or if that doesn’t work, execution. The robots don’t want to completely wipe out the human race as that would be destruction of their makers, but with their rigid control and leadership, they believe they are saving humans themselves, from their own self-destructive nature proven by centuries of endless war.
"Rosenblum also weaves intriguing themes and irony into the turmoil, including man’s inhumanity to man, the inhumanity inevitably passed on to the currently ruling robots and the very violence from which the bots believe they are protecting the world."
While one group of robots rule the cities, another sect of robots hunts down the tiny pockets of renegade humans who escaped into the wild during the takeover. These small human communities live off the land, hiding from the bots and communicating with each other using carrier pigeons. The older generation of these outlaw communities remember what life used to be like, but the younger ones have never used money, stepped inside an elevator or ridden in a car. The humans struggle to survive while avoiding detection from the bots. Seventeen-year-old Nick and his brother and sister, 13-year-old Kevin and 15-year-old Cass are part of these renegade humans. But when the robots discover their hidden camp, their young lives will change forever.
Everyone scatters into the forest when the robots attack. Most are killed, while a few are taken captive and sent back to the cities for "re-education." But Nick, Kevin and Cass manage to escape. They wait at the family rendezvous spot for their mom and dad, but they never show. Refusing to believe they are dead, they accept the only other option: that they are taken captive to the city. They feel they have no choice but to sneak into the robot controlled city to rescue their parents. Little do they know, these are the first steps into the human rebellion against the robots.
Gregg Rosenblum is the talented writing force behind this fascinating trek into a terrifying world ruled by robots. The pages fly by with the constant action of battles, survival, hope and even a bit of romance. Rosenblum also weaves intriguing themes and irony into the turmoil, including man’s inhumanity to man, the inhumanity inevitably passed on to the currently ruling robots and the very violence from which the bots believe they are protecting the world. Finally, as the pages dwindle towards the end, various clues hint at a sequel in the works, promising to be just as exciting as the original. Humans verses machines: a paradoxical battle for control and survival.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 2, 2013