Hello people! I can’t believe it, but I am back again (which is quite remarkable in this period, in itself) and with a new review! The thing is that I suddenly realized I haven’t finished writing my reviews for the first edition of SPSFC and since the second edition is nearly upon us (we are almost there, people, and I am so so excited about it!!!), I should have posted all my reviews ages ago. But life happens, and lately, I am not really my usual 100% blogging self so… here we are!
Title: Steel Guardian
Series: Rusted Wasteland #1
Author: Cameron Coral
Can a gentle robot win the fight for humanity’s last hope?
Before the Robot Uprising, Block the CleanerBot dutifully followed his programming as part of a hotel cleaning crew. Now in the aftermath of the AI Apocalypse that annihilated the world, he tries to simply do his job, avoiding the dangerous SoldierBots who wage war on the last human survivors.
But when Block finds a mysterious human infant, he’s compelled to care for the girl and travel across the metal infested wastelands of America to a safe haven 700 miles away. Without proper food and care, the baby could die before he reaches safety. When he encounters Nova—a surly soldier who becomes an unlikely ally—they must tackle the biggest challenge of their lives.
Together they face mortal danger from bands of scavengers, militaristic SoldierBots, Combat Mechs, and a cyborg Bounty Hunter that will stop at nothing to find Block and the child—an infant who might hold the key to humanity’s future.
If you enjoy robots with a heart like WALL-E plus the action-packed adventure of Transformers, Robocop, and Terminator, you’ll love the first book of this thrilling post-apocalyptic sci-fi series.
To be bluntly honest from the start, this one was my least favorite of the bunch of finalists, and this is not really because I think it is a bad book, it is not, but because it really fell short. When we start it, it is so promising, so full of amazing things that could become so much more! And yet, it does not fulfill them, at all. And this was disappointing and saddening.
All things considered, this is a fast-paced book that would take you on a travel in this new world or, to be more precise, to the future of our world, where robots have now the upper hand, but things are not really great for anyone, be them humans or bots. It is quite the wastelands, and it is a grim future that sounds just so near! And this is one of the best features of the book, I have to admit.
The future is quite bleak, but humanity and bots are surviving, and they have to find a sort of balance, even if they are not near to it, sadly. And our MC would chaperone us in the highs and the lows of this world.
My main problem was that at the beginning we have Block, our protagonist and a CleanerBot, paired with a vacubot, and the pair was brilliant! The vacubot is a sort of evolution of a Roomba or something like that: it can’t really speak, it can just show a happy or sad face on its monitor, and it doesn’t really sound like a smart robot, but it has sentience, at least to a degree. And at the beginning of the book, we get Block talking non-stop to his companion, because he is lonely and there is no one else to talk to. So he talks to this smaller robot. And they are quite the pair! There is so much potential with these two combined, and I was so looking forward to it.
But… but the author wasn’t really interested in exploring this wonderful set of possibilities, and the smaller robot is soon out of the scene. And the story. And this was such a shame, really!
This was my main problem with the book because it is just a wasted brilliant occasion, but it was not my only problem with the book. The point is that Block is a robot that found himself involved in a story way bigger them him: without knowing how or why, he finds himself with a human newborn, and it seems like everyone around them is out to get them, because Mach X, the “boss” of all the robots really really wants the baby. And so we get to read about how Block run, searching for a safe place for both him and the newborn, and get to explore this world a bit, while the robot has to learn how to properly care for a human child. And this is another wasted occasion. It could have been so good, and also funny, to see this robot surge to the nanny role. It should have been precious. And with all that Block constantly repeats that he doesn’t know jack when it comes to humans and their offspring, but it is not really so. I mean, another book in the competition has only humans as characters, but since our MC and others like her were taken from their families when children and then raised in a secluded facility, they all have a hard time understanding basic human behaviors and needs. And it was portrayed masterfully. But not in Steel Guardian. It is just roughly done, and it is more said than shown. And it was such a shame, again!
So yeah, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book. But it wasn’t all bad. It is a fast-paced stroll in a post-apocalyptic world, dominated by robots and AIs, and the characters have some interesting ideas, too. They may not be the most lovable or remarkable out there, and to be honest, I won’t take them with me, but they have some interesting things to say, and spending some time in their company wasn’t bad at all. So if you want an original take on the post-apocalyptic thing, and you want to follow the adventure of a Cleaner Robot turned nanny, you should give this one a go!
And what about you? Have you read this book? Or are you interested in it?? Let me know!!