🌟 4 stars 🌟
This story was so cute overall! I loved seeing the character development in Sol and Echo as well as watch their relationship progress. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars, just because I wish the world building was better. I felt like I was randomly thrust into this world with all this technical jargon without adequate information leading up to it. There are some minor spoilers in my review and thank you Hidden Gems for the free ARC of this book!
There is only one rule: Never leave the settlement
Nobody remembers when human civilization fell to the living computer known as the Interspace. Trapped within its massive expanse, what remains of humanity struggles to survive. There are no maps to the outer grids, and drones patrol the network. Escape is impossible.
Except seventeen-year-old Sol can access the network’s secrets in her dreams. The information comes at a physical cost, but with food and medical shortages threatening her community, it’s a small price to pay for survival. The supply runs are also the best way to prove she can still contribute, especially after her recent epilepsy diagnosis took away the role she’d been training for.
When a grave mistake alerts the drones to her trespassing, Sol finds herself running for her life. She never expects to encounter Echo, a stranger who may hold the key to humanity’s freedom.
Together, Sol and Echo will attempt to reach the central core of the Interspace and shut down the system. To survive the journey, they will need to evade drones, signal towers, and a dangerous enemy known only as the Override. Even with Sol’s access to the network and Echo’s incredible abilities, they may still fail. The Interspace is always watching, and if they’re discovered, it will mean the final extermination of all mankind.
So, the book begins with Sol running around the network, because she delivers supplies between settlements since she seems the schematics in her dreams. Even with this in mind, she still ends up getting discovered by drones who would have killed her on sight if it weren’t for Echo coming out of nowhere and saving her. They end up coming to an agreement that if she will guide him to the central core of the Interspace, he will carry around the heavy supply container that she needs to deliver to the other settlements.
Sol is an interesting protagonist. She has epilepsy, but is determined to not let that deter her from making her own choices in life. I loved seeing her come to the realization that her fate is in her hands and she does not have to let other people make her life choices for her. She is headstrong and filled with sassy remarks and I enjoyed reading about how she thought through the decisions she made.
I immensely enjoyed Echo though. One of my new favorite characters of all time. He is not entirely a machine and not entirely human either, but desperately favors his human side. He went from a stoic, awkward guy that was more machine than man to someone that is grateful for the ability to feel emotions. Seeing the growth in Echo warmed my heart.
The romance between Sol and Echo was so innocent and sweet. I haven’t read a book in awhile that captured falling in love with such an air of innocence. As they fight their way to the central core, Sol comes to some realizations about herself and teaches Echo what it means to be human. Echo realizes that his feelings for her are a bit more than what Sol has described as “friendship”, but he does not know the word for the feelings he has. For example, there’s this quote: “You are a separate entity. Independent of me in every respect, yet I have come to see you as an integral part of myself. Vital to my core functions. I will not leave you. I cannot.” My heart!!
I would have loved a bit more explanation about the world they lived in, because it was hard to visualize the scenes in the book. Personally, the writing got better towards the later half of the book as well, because the action scenes with the drones just felt bland but when they fought Overdrive it was a lot more enjoyable to read. There were also a lot of technical terms that people may not know normally, but taking IT courses in high school came in handy. Overall, it was the characters that made me really love this book.