Book Reviews

Review: Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Goddess in the Machine is an absolutely thrilling YA SF debut. Seriously. I could have read this in one book it was so gripping and I loved the world building! Keep reading this book review to find out all the reasons I love Goddess in the Machine!


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?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Days after finishing Goddess in the Machine I have no words for how fantastic it is. Not only is there absolutely fantastic world building, I loved the main characters. The story is told from dual POV which not only helps the readers get to know the world or Erensed, but also to witness the differences in perspectives. Can you imagine waking up from your sleep one day to find a thousand years had passed and the world you woke up to is utterly alien?

Why did I love Goddess in the Machine so much? First and foremost, it’s got to be the unique world building and the amount of twists and turns in the plot. To me, both of these characteristics are sure to win my approval and love. I am a huge fan and geek for inventive world building. There were moments in Goddess in the Machine where I actually physically exclaimed. It’s always a good sign when my notes while reading are just, “OMG”. I don’t want to spoil too much for new readers, since part of the utter joy was being surprised, but it’s so wonderfully clever!


At the same time, I greatly enjoyed the POVs of Zhade and Andra. There’s so much that they don’t know about each other and their interactions are largely a dance of wills and secrets. How can Andra unravel the past and what happened to her family while also managing to survive in this utterly new world? Andra is a biracial fat MC who not only has to be quick on her feet, but also examine her own past of privilege, but also the ethics of technology. All while Zhade has all these layers of motivations, past grievances, and mystery.


That’s got to be my resounding thought surrounding Goddess in the Machine – clever and thoughtful. You can tell the amount of thought and careful attention that was demanded of for the world building and plot. I am still stunned and in awe. If you’re a fan of YA SF, then you need to add Goddess in the Machine to your TBR and preorder. Find Goddess in the Machine on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite SF that features a diverse MC?

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