ARC Review: Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

ARC Review: Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth JohnsonGoddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson
Series: Goddess in the Machine #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 385 pages
Source: YALLfest

2 Stars

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

My thoughts

In the beginning, I was totally hooked. It felt a lot like Aurora Rising: girl wakes up hundreds of years – or in this case, a thousand years – late from cryosleep and everyone she knew is dead and the future is cray. Girl out of time! The girl’s name is even similar – Andromeda (Aurora), or Andra (Auri) for short – maybe not the best decision? But that’s where the similarities to Aurora Rising – as well as my enjoyment – ended. It got off to a strong start, it really did. When I read the first chapter I was sure this would be a 5 star book for me.

Then Andra met Zhade. And it all went downhill from there. To be honest, this book felt like a giant mashup of other stories. Aurora Rising was the most obvious, but also it reminded me of Futureman in certain scenes (especially the lack of technology in the NAG from season 2), Breathe by Sarah Crossan (the dome), and several other dystopian concepts I’ve read before. The only thing truly original about it was the language, and sadly that’s the thing I hated the most.

I think maybe I would have enjoyed this a lot more if the language, and the frustration it caused, hadn’t utterly ruined this book for me. At first, I tried to suspend belief – it is, after all, a thousand years in the future, and who knows how much things will change in such a large span of time? But the more I read, the more it irritated me. After a thousand years of evolution, you want me to believe that we’ve devolved this much? Technology is seen as magic, and a kind of religion, and AI are referred to as angels. People who wake from cryosleep are seen as deities. They’re basically living in a new dark age and seem completely uncultured and uneducated. Sure, it’s possible – assuming something extreme happens and we lose touch with technology – but without a believable backstory (which we don’t get, I have no idea how this world came to be because there’s little to no history) it just seems farfetched.

The language was absolutely ridiculous. I appreciate what the author was trying to do, and it was original, but I just couldn’t handle it. The language devolved into slang so extreme that it was almost incomprehensible. The first time someone spoke, I had NO clue what the ever loving fuck he was saying. I actually had to read the paragraph twice and couldn’t make sense of it. (Which I’m aware is the point, but it was just so jarring.) Again, I can appreciate the idea – Andra felt the same way, so we were getting what she was feeling: utter confusion and lack of comprehension. That was the only thing I liked about the execution. But it did not work for me. I did pick up on the language fairly quickly, but even when I could understand it, it had me sighing in frustration.

  • Gnatted = annoyed
  • Reck = know
  • Evens = okay
  • Marah = right? (this one took me forever to figure out and I groaned when I did)
  • Skirl = squirrel (I legit rolled my eyes at this one)
  • Certz
  • Kidduns
  • Convo instead of talk, neg instead of no, peace instead of go somewhere, sorries instead of sorry, nerveful instead of nervous
  • -ish completely replaced EVERYTHING that ended it in -ly, which was by far the most frustrating one of all of them. Sometimes it made sorta sense – apparentish, especialish, unsuccesfulish; other times made ZERO sense whatsoever because it was tacked onto words where ish took away the meaning of them – definitish, resolutish, finalish, oh and my personal favorite, legitimatish (hard eye roll at that one)
  • Some things were just straight up misspelled: skooled, sorcer, spoze

Like I said, I can totally see where the author was going; but it was just so tedious and distracting that I wanted to rage quit halfway through, and it made me resent the book by the time more interesting things started happening. Speaking of things – I called the twist nearly 200 pages before it actually happened. View Spoiler » I was really hoping I was wrong – that twist felt so cliche – so when it was revealed that I was correct, I was just irritated instead of surprised.

I’m not sure I would recommend this book. It most certainly was NOT for me. I do tend to be the black sheep, and the concept was interesting, so it’s possible plenty of people will love this book. But, personally? I would say read Aurora Rising instead.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3/5
Premise: 4.5/5
Writing style: 2.5/5
Originality: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 3/5
Pace: 3.5/5
Feels: 0/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Jessi (Geo)

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