After the tour de force of Goddess in the Machine I was so excited for the sequel. Devil in the Device promises action, exploration of AI versus humanity, and twists and turns. I ended up finishing the whole last half in one sitting. I needed to find out what happens! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Zhade’s power might be going to his head.
He’s still getting used to wearing Maret’s face, but he can’t deny that the influence it affords him has its perks. But when the magic of Eerensed starts to turn deadly, Zhade must master the Crown if he’s going to save his people, and Tsurina’s destructive plans for Eerensed aren’t going to make that easy. Worse, he’s starting to see her point.
Meanwhile, Andra is in hiding.
Assumed dead by the people of Eerensed, she must stay underground if she’s going to live long enough to build the rocket that will finally save the colonists from this dying planet. But when Andra hears voices urging her to destroy everything, she starts to dig deeper into her subconcious. What she finds leads her to question whether she’s destined to be a savior after all.
Battling the dangerous forces buried within their minds, can Andra and Zhade truly decide their own fates? They must find a way to work together before two power-hungry leaders and a deadly swarm of rogue technology destroy humanity for good.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
My favorite element of Devil in the Device has to be the themes. The ways Johnson explores the lines of humanity. All the futuristic world building kernels that explode into color. This duology truly has some of the most inventive science fiction world building I can think of. From the unique language to the questions of the future of humanity – even then – Devil in the Device is a feast for inquisitive minds. Even days after finishing, I’m still obsessed with everything world and theme related.
Can we hold onto the ideas and limitations of humanity that we’ve always had? Is it not finally time to let go of the boundaries? Andra’s character journey has to be my favorite. Zhade stole the show in Goddess in the Machine, but in Devil in the Device Andra had me. An AI questioning her humanity and past will always get me. All the questions she has about if she can even call humanity her own. About what, at the end of the day, constitutes humanity.
My only complaint was that the end felt incredibly rushed. I wanted there to be even more space given to the last 30% so that we could fully sink into the character, action, and developments. Because of that, there were some emotional reveals and character reveals that felt relatively more shallow than before. What I’m saying is that I could have read the 30% in a whole other book! But all in all, not a major deal breaker for me because there is so much for Johnson to wrap up in this series ender!
Devil in the Device will put your heart through the wringer. All the compromises with promises and morals we make to seek power. You will go on an emotional roller coaster, I promise you. Johnson asks us if the rules, everything we know about the world, truly has to be that way. Or if we can decide our own fate. There are twists, shocks, and revelations that will make you question everything you believed about our own future. Devil in the Device is about agency and change, love and self-discovery.