WHEN AN AI DIES, ITS CITY DIES WITH IT
WHEN A CITY FALLS, IT LEAVES A CORPSE BEHIND
WHEN THAT CORPSE RUNS OFF, ONLY DEVOTION CAN BRING IT BACK
When the robotic god of Khuon Mo went mad, it destroyed everything it touched. It killed its priests, its city, and all its wondrous works. But in its final death throes, the god brought one thing back to life: its favorite child, Sunai. For the seventeen years since, Sunai has walked the land like a ghost, unable to die, unable to age, and unable to forget the horrors he’s seen. He’s run as far as he can from the wreckage of his faith, drowning himself in drink, drugs, and men. But when Sunai wakes up in the bed of the one man he never should have slept with, he finds himself on a path straight back into the world of gods and machines.
In The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon, the first volume in her Downworld Sequence, she has created a transformative and brilliant piece of fiction, where war machines and AI gods run amok. The first thing that will captivate you will be the language and the concepts. But as you read further it will be the rich and complex characters that tug at your heartstrings and the tangled relationships between the individuals in the main character Sunai’s life that will keep you reading.
I absolutely loved the rich language and the ideas, the conflict between identity, sacrifice and healing. The thoughts it raises are brilliant and evocative and the concepts of body and healing are transformative. The novel is rich with ideas and while the story is dark at times, there is a brightness to the ideas as well. I also liked the diversity to the relationships, the hidden truths and the voice of the AI gods. It has a gorgeous and engaging ending that will make you yearn for more.
If you love novels about AI’s, war machines and complex characters who fall in love with the wrong person, this novel is for you. It is both transformative and brilliant. It is also beautiful in how it handles the relationships between the characters. It was one of the most absorbing novels I’ve read this year.
Rating: 5 out of 5 AI’s