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willful machinesWhat: Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

Who: Simon Pulse

When: October 20th 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster for review via Edelweiss.

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.


First up let me say this: I need the sequel for Willful Machines right freaking now. And: if there is not a sequel for Willful Machines released (which I think is unlikely but still) I will be extremely upset. Because I really enjoyed Willful Machines, and I think YA really needs sci-fi stories more like this one.

Ones that feature adorable protagonists like Lee. Seriously, he is incredibly adorable, and self deprecating, and completely relatable. I adored his robotics nerdiness. I adored his inner monologue about Gutless Lee and Kamikaze Lee reactions. I adored his little witty quips to Bex and Nico (!!!). I adored how he stood up when he had to – even though he was scared. He wasn’t your average super badass and completely capable YA hero, and I’m pretty certain that’s why I loved him so much. He’s adorkable, one might say.

Ones that feature a gay couple between said adorable protagonist and the cute as heck new boy, Nico. Nico and Lee are a 100% completely shippable couple. But it’s not easy between them. For one: Lee is the US president’s son, and definitely not out about being gay. Nico does not care about being out or not. For two: oh, wait. SPOILER ;D Seriously. There’s a fabulous interaction between these two beyond them just being a freaking cute as shit couple.

Ones that feature the questioning of humanity. I love these kinds of books. I LOVE THEM. Every time there’s a book that questions what makes us human I get extremely excited, because it’s just a topic that I think is very interesting, and very open to discussion (that it never really gets). In Willful Machines there’s a focus on the notion of free will, and whether we are actually making choices or whether they are predetermined for us. Ah, this had me intrigued because it was a fresh spin on the humanity question!

Ones that leave you suspecting everyone. And I mean everyone. No one was exempt from my distrust, except for Lee, of course. I suspected every character of being completely evil and out to get the world (and precious Lee). And then even when I thought I had the evil mastermind in my clutches, I was thrown off again, and wondering if I really had them pinned or not. Guessing is such a great experience because more often than not we’re given such clear messages about the bad guys that by the time they’re revealed it’s just like: w o w I so totally didn’t see that coming from page one. But Willful Machines managed to keep me guessing right up until the end.

Ones that make you want a sequel ASAP. Which is actually painful, but still. I NEED THE SEQUEL AFTER THAT ENDING. I need to know how everything turns out – how everyone turns out and just GIMME A SEQUEL RIGHT NOW PLEASE.

If you can’t tell: I really enjoyed Willful Machines, and I am so looking forward to where Lee’s journey will take him next!

© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: October 7, 2015 • By: Chiara

10 Responses to Review: Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

  1. It’s interesting, I read so much YA SFF, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel with an LGBTQIA relationship. It makes me a little sad – while I do love the number of diverse protagonists popping up in more contemporary fiction, I kind of would like to see them in my favourite genres – but I am so happy to hear that it worked out in this case. Lee sounds absolutely adorable, and I can’t wait to hear about his relationship with Nico. Lovely review, Chiara – added this one to my TBR, and I’m so excited to give it a read. <3

    (Also, side note: the cover on this is simply breathtaking.)

    • Chiara says:

      I know, right. Which makes this one even more special, because it’s in a very rare niche. It definitely worked out, which I was so thankful for. Like you said: we get more diversity in contemporary (which is, of course, wonderful), but genre fiction tends to be left out a lot. I want more!

      Eep, I hope you love it! :D

      It’s gorgeous, right?

  2. I love adorkable characters. Also books that make me question everyone; those are the best! It’s great when you are clueless.

  3. This sounds fabulous! I only added this to my TBR a few weeks ago after Dahlia listed it as one of her October book club picks and thought it sounded great. So I’m glad it delivered! Will have to check it out. For your sake, I hope they release a sequel! <3

    • Chiara says:

      It is, Rebecca! :D I hope you can read it soon, because it’s definitely worth it. The author has said that he intends to make it a series if it does well enough, but that it could also stay as a standalone. I think the ending was WAY too open for a standalone, so I hope there is a sequel!

  4. Romi says:

    Aah, so this sounds fairly intensely awesome. And brilliant. And I’m going to be adding it to my tbr very shortly. I mean, me? Not a hugeeee fan of the dark stories, because anything that could potentially disturb me isn’t something I’m awfully keen on, and this does appear, at least from it’s cover (not so much from your review) to be rather dark. BUT WHO EVEN CARES. Chiara positively reviews, Romi adds to tbr and eventually reads. I totally have my own copy of The Bone Season now, so all the weight for me loving it is on you. *cackles*
    Gorgeous review of this one! I’m happy to see you’ve read such an awesome book recently. xx

    • Chiara says:

      I KNOW, RIGHT? I would not call this dark, to be entirely honest. It’s just sci-fi with a power hungry AI. Which isn’t really dark, since a lot of sci-fis focus on that kind of thing!

      THAT SENTENCE MAKES ME HAPPY. I’m glad my positive reviews are doing some good. I really hope you love The Bone Season as much as I did :D

      Thanks you, dearie <3

  5. I have this on my wish list right now. It sounds absolutely fantastic, and your review just has me even MORE excited!


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