Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Program 13 by Nicole Sobon

Program 13 (The Emile Reed Chronicles, #1)

Program 13 by Nicole Sobon
Book One of the Emily Reed Chronicles
Publication Date: August 15, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Bought from Amazon

***Old review; original review posted HERE on November 4, 2012***


Two identities. One Body.

17-year-old Emile Reed, may have died, but she isn't dead. Her body now belongs to Program Thirteen, where her every thought, every movement, is controlled. Until Emile begins to find her way back inside of Thirteen's core, where she manages to fend off Thirteen’s programming to reclaim the life that she lost. But Charles McVeigh, the owner of Vesta Corp, isn’t willing to let Thirteen go. And he will stop at nothing to reclaim control of Thirteen's programming. Because without her, McVeigh has nothing.

What makes you human?

What I Liked: 

You already know I love science fiction. Well, I loved the concept of this book. A robot made to look like a human is not something new to fiction, but it is not something that is extremely popular in Young Adult literature. Science fiction in general is not very popular in the Young Adult age level. I think Ms. Sobon took a risk with Program 13 being science fiction, but this risk was completely justified by the execution of this book. Ms. Sobon's writing style is excellent - with a consistent tone and voice of the main character. This book was written in first person (Emile's), which was interesting to read, because Emile is a human, but Program 13 is a machine. 

I usually have a problem with first person point of view, but this book would be so different and probably not as understandable if it were written in third person. I liked the characters of this book. Emile was a strong protagonist, and has conflicts, about whether she should go back to Vesta Corps to save other people, whether she should run away from those she cares about, and so on. I did not connect with her as easily as I have with other heroines, but this was not a deterrent from finishing the book. 

There was a little character development present with Emile, but not as much as I expected. The secondary characters, such as Colton and Hayden, did not have much character development. I liked Colton well enough. He was introduced rather abruptly, and I do not understand some decisions that he made, but he was a good secondary, static character. I am not sure if I liked Hayden. I hope to see more of his character (or some sort of resolution) in future books. Also, I truly felt as if the villains of the story were villains, but at the same time, I felt for them, because they believed they were creating machines for the betterment of society. 

The world of this book felt real to me. While readers do not get to see much of the outside world (the setting is mostly either at the organization's headquarters or at the house), the overall feeling of the world was there. So, the world-building was pretty good, but I hope to see more settings in future books. The ending was quite the ending! It involved a very abrupt scene, with many things thrown at the reader too quickly, but it was a good ending, with ample room for a continuation of the series. 

Overall, there was plenty of action and intricacies in the plot, but not too much to make a reader irritated. I was so happy to see virtually no romance in this book. It was also clean of bad language, which was nice. There are many other specific things that I loved and liked about this book!

What I Did Not Like: 

There were several things about which I was confused when I finished this book, and several things I did not particularly like. I was very confused about Hayden and his presence in the book. I understand what and why he did what he did for Emile, but I question his motives. He was rarely in the story, and when he was there, he wanted to help her, but then he left. And left random (but helpful) notes. And left endless supplies. Somehow, I find that suspicious. I hope Ms. Sobon will expand upon Hayden's role in the story, or resolve his character's involvement. 

Also, I mentioned that there was not much character development in this book. Emile is the protagonist of the story, so at the very least, I felt that at least she, of all characters, should go through significant changes from beginning to end. I found that was not the case. Emile was a strong character throughout, and has several moments of conflicted feelings, but overall, there is no major development. From the beginning she wanted to push away Program 13 and protect Colton, and at the end, those were still her goals. I am sure that she wanted to take down Vesta Corp, but this was not a primary goal it seemed. 

Also, I found the character of Colton a little strange. I liked him well enough, as he was sweet and very emotional throughout the book. But it was odd how quickly Emile wanted to keep him with her, care for him, and protect him. It just did not seem right to me that Emile would want to get close (not romantically) to a person, after staying in seclusion after so long. I would think that she would be cautious and suspicious and hostile towards anyone that wanted to stay around her. I understand that a part of Program was to assimilate with humans, but at the same time, she was on the run, and logically, she should not trust anyone. Yet she trusted Colton immediately, and welcomed him with her. Because he wanted to kill himself does seem to me like an adequate reason to trust someone. This is probably a small detail that most people would have overlooked, but it bothered me as I was reading. Of course, I was glad that Colton stuck around.

Would I Recommend It: 

Yes! This book was full of awesomeness! As big as that "did not like" section looks, trust me, this book is worth reading, if you like science fiction. Ms. Sobon has an interesting spin on human-like robots - something that is very plausible nowadays. This book is for anyone ages 13 and up, and I strongly believe this is not for everyone, as it is a science fiction book. But, give it a try!


4 stars. There are little things that bothered me, but some of them could be remedied or explained later in the series. I was very happy with the execution of this, and therefore very angry that I had not read this book sooner, being that I have had it for a couple of months.

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  1. This sounds like it would be an interesting read. After reading your review I would like to read it because I like to check out different books. Thank you for the honest review.

    1. It is! And I am glad that you may look it up! It's a good one :D


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