Review – Network Effect by Martha Wells

Martha Wells - Network Effect cropped for featured image
Network Effect by Martha Wells

Book Title: Network Effect

Book Description: “Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel. You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot. Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century. — I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are. When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action. Drastic action it is, then.”

Book Author: Martha Wells

Book Format: Hardcover

Publisher - Orgnization: Tor Books

Publisher Logo:

Date published: 2020-05-05

Number Of Pages: 352

  • Writing - 10/10
  • Development - 10/10
  • Overall - 10/10
User Review
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The Murderbot Diaries are about to get their first full-length novel in Network Effect by Martha Wells. Once again our favorite Rogue SecUnit is up for another adventure, albeit somewhat unwillingly.


Murderbot Is on the Move in Network Effect

Network Effect is the first full-length novel to come from the world of The Murderbot Diaries. Written by Martha Wells, this is a series following a rogue SecUnit—a partially organic bot designed for the purpose of protection (and more).

Murderbot actually has four novellas following their adventures, and that is why fans (myself included) were so excited to see them getting a full novel to tell their story. It is every bit as action-packed and full of humor as we could have hoped for.

Martha Wells - Network Effect
Martha Wells – Network Effect

Last we saw, Murderbot had allied themself with several humans (or more accurately, one human and her massive family). Naturally, these humans have a talent for getting themselves in situations where a SecUnit would be needed to save the day. The events in Network Effect are no exception.


I’m going to confess a bit of bias right out of the gate: The Murderbot Diaries is one of my favorite series. I adore this Rogue SecUnit, from their sense of humor and their exasperation with humans to their adoration of crummy TV shows. So, obviously, I loved Network Effect. I was destined to love it from the start.

Network Effect is a brilliantly written and highly entertaining novel. The characters were delightful (both Murderbot and the secondary characters), the events were epic, and the exasperation was on point.

This is a novel perfect for fans old and new. The old fans will adore all of the references, and appreciate the impact of certain scenes. Meanwhile, the new fans will have little to no trouble diving right on into this world. Though obviously, I’d recommend reading the past novellas if you have a moment.


There is a lot to love about Network Effect. The pacing and humor are major elements in this story, but there’s also a significant amount of character development as well. All together, these elements make for a brilliantly fun read.

The development of Murderbot’s character is, without a doubt, a highlight of this novel. They were pushed to new levels, both physically and emotionally. It made for some intense moments, of course. But it was enlightening to see how Murderbot would react to those moments.

Best of all? Martha Wells took the time to set up for future Murderbot adventures. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited to see where this setup is going to lead us. It’s the sort of plot arc that could allow for a whole lot more character growth, as well as some hilarity and entertainment along the way.

Favorite Quotes

One of the (many) things I loved about Network Effect is that it seemed to have dozens upon dozens of quotes that I fell in love with. Seriously, my digital copy is covered in highlights (only a slight exaggeration).

While I don’t normally include quotes in my reviews here, this time around it just felt appropriate. Though I did struggle with limiting the quotes to just a few. That being said, don’t worry! These hilarious lines should be relatively spoiler-free (as long as you go into it assuming that Murderbot will be protecting humans while getting frustrated by them).

“This would have all been a lot easier if I wasn’t so worried about the stupid humans.”

“It’s always nice when a human looks relieved to see you.”

“I was leaking a lot, and I hate leaking.”


Network Effect is everything the fans deserved—and so much more. Murderbot’s latest adventure is the longest of the bunch and thus is accordingly more dramatic and entertaining than ever before.

My biggest regret about reading and finishing this novel? I want more. The past two days have found me in mourning, wishing that I had more Murderbot to read. I already caved and reread the novel once already, and will likely dive back into the novellas in short order. So consider yourself warned!

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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