My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought (or I wished) the story was set in the far future. It's actually in the near future (or is it even in the present time?). Laws of Magic is one of my favorite fantasy series, so I started reading Machine Wars excitedly. The first chapter is promising. I like it how Bram gets into trouble directly. The machine appears right on page 2. And I enjoyed how Bram's background (a very cool mother, he has!) is revealed bit by bit in the first chapters. Stella, his friend who's dragged in the adventure is uniquely awesome; i'd love to read more about her. They are 14 and act like 14--believable characters.
I do realize that it's a middle grade book. So I tried to bring my 12-year-old-me back and I did have fun reading Machine Wars while pretending to be younger. But work made me have to put the book down for a while, and I failed to recall my younger self back when I returned to the book. I find reading Machine Wars as an adult to be difficult. Bram and Stella spend too much time Scatter and Hide: running about in the city, avoiding drones and bots, trying to survive (while their parents are preparing a way to annihilate the villain). I wish the kids have more significant roles/mission in the story.
All in all, this is a great read for middle graders, not for adults.
(I got the book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Michael Pryor!)
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