Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 May 2018

Member Reviews

An interesting YA sci-fi with engaging characters - I really enjoyed Sol and Echo. I would have liked a bit more world building and a bit more resolution at the end with the settlements.
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In a dystopian world where humanity is under the control of a living computer, the few that remain do their best in order to survive. Everyone is confined to the settlement. And it seems like there's no way out.

But Sol is very different from everyone else. The 17-year-old girl can access the computer's darkest secrets during her sleep. Can she be humanity's hope for a change? With the network alerted to her intrusions, what are the chances that she will survive, let alone free her enslaved species?

Failsafe is a book with a promising concept. A mix of dystopian novel and sci-fi, the summary draws the reader easily in. However, it was unfortunately not the well-written story I had expected. The plot wasn't attention-grasping enough, making this a more difficult read than what it could actually have been.
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*thank you to Netgalley and Anela Deen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

2 stars.

I struggled with this. I loved the description of the story, but it just didnt hold my attention quite so well. It wasnt badly written, I just think it was a bit too slow and lacking a little. But in saying that, the story was OK.
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I wanted to like this book but quickly found myself bored while reading it. It never really caught my attention.
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This felt like if Ready Player One went bad, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because of it. the characters were great and I enjoyed learning about the environment.
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I'm not big on dystopian type stories but this still was pretty interesting. I loved the concept and the story itself was very fast paced and really fun
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The premise/summary sounded interesting but this book just didn't do it for me. Characters were semi interesting.
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Failsafe was different compared to other sci-fi novels I have read. The idea is so unique and different. I have a fascination with A.I. Anela explored what would happen if it rebelled and became smarter then its human counter parts as well as the message that love has no bounds. Sol is a scavenger and meets Echo. Echo's primary objective is to destroy the Interspace and he might just succeed. It was fun to see a human/robot develop such feelings for Sol and a better understanding for humanity. This book takes place over a couple of week time span, so though it may seem that Sol's feelings for Echo or abrupt and happen pretty quick, they actually aren't.
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I really wanted to like this book. I DNF’d at 30% in. It wasn’t for me.  The plot looked amazing and it had promise, it just wasn’t delivered in a way that intrigued me as a reader.
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Do I Recommend this book? Yes!

Notes and Opinions: I love books with sarcastic main characters and Sol is very sarcastic. She very different from Echo,who is so adorable! He's adorably awkward and sweet. And their relationship? Omg. It's so genuinely pure. I just wanted to push them together and make them kiss. It was killing me the whole time. I loved the plot. I mean, come on, who doesn't like books like The Terminator movies (just a lot less violent)? The only thing that I never really understood was why Sol was able to dream the network. Honestly, I would love to read more about them and their world!
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This story summary sounds dangerously derivative: a rebellious teenage girl sets out to topple the monstrous Skynet overlord her society has lived under for generations, and finds love along the way. 

Happily, the reading experience doesn't feel like that at all. This book was good! 

Sol has a voice that feels real: just the right amount of sarcasm to be interesting and distinct and seem like an actual person, without crossing over into being annoying and off-putting. Echo is a fairly standard Castiel-type good-hearted guy with powers who acts like a robot and has no idea how to be human. But like... am I a sucker for this? Maybe so.

The plot, to be fair, is a little quick and wobbly. It's never truly explained why Sol is able to dream the network, and receive the messages transmitted by the creepy scientists. It never really makes sense why, after wiping out nearly all of humanity, the Interspace chose to cover the entire world in what is essentially an Earth-sized computer chassis. Why does the Interspace need to trap humanity inside a giant computer box, so they're essentially living like little tiny cockroaches crawling over the enormous wires and computer chips? Wouldn't that be useless and counterproductive for everyone involved? The final confrontation with the Interspace herself is also just kind of: what?

Do I care about these things, though? Not really. I mean it would be nice to have all this make a little more sense, but the main thrust of the story is carried by Sol and Echo's relationship. I don't even like romance, and would vote to cut it out from nine out of ten books -- especially YA dystopias, which are constantly shoving needlessly melodramatic, bloated, emotionally vacant attempts at romance subplots down readers' throats. 

Sol and Echo, though, I can get behind. There is no love triangle, there is no cheap miscommunication gag; they just genuinely come to understand and like each other. They talk about things. And yes, okay, I find the *cocks head* I do not understand your human ways, please clarify thing very endearing. I was engrossed the whole time reading about their journey through the Network, and the creepy scientists were so viscerally repulsive and terrifying that it pretty much makes up for the somewhat less-than-climactic confrontation with the Interspace.
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A new dystopian novel.

Using a tried and true trope, Anela Deen spins a wildly original adventure.

An advanced predictive AI coded and loaded with all of the worlds electronic data becomes sentient. Generations after apocalyptic events decimate the human population, the "Interface" holds the remnants of humanity within it's walls with a mutual non-destruction accord.

There are only 40,000 people left in all the world. Prisoners, they are kept separated and secluded in 12 small groups. Provisions to sustain life are delivered at intervals by the Interface's drones. When those deliveries become fewer and less predictable, their meager existence is in dire danger.

On a daring mission to obtain supplies, Sol's life is in danger from drones programmed to kill any human found outside the settlements. It's only thanks to Echo, a stranger she's never met or heard of, that she's able to escape with her life.

Echo insists he is not a machine. However, he is much more than human. He is Failsafe, stronger, faster, quick healing and having weapons no one has ever seen before. Echo raises suspicion in the settlement, especially once he admits he is on a mission to the central processing unit of the controlling AI to shut it down.

Sol has a special ability to see the schematics of the network. A map to navigate and a schedule of policing bots to avoid. Between her ability and Echo's special strength and weapons, they may have a chance to complete the journey. She is anxious to prove that she can still contribute as a member of her society even though she's recently been diagnosed with epilepsy. She's also not entirely surrendered to the fact she must mate with DNA compatible, matched partner. A violent and possesive man that has hurt her in the past.

Initially Sol agrees to accompany Echo a short way and provide him with navigation instructions for the remainder of his journey. But as they get to know each other and circumstances cause them to fight for their lives time and again, Sol ultimately decides to accompany him the entire way.

On their journey, Echo learns how to be more human and Sol learns the true depth of her strength and determination. The two bond in a very special way. This romance part of the story was sweet. It was cute in places, although maybe a little childish.

The story was packed with all the elements of the trope. We get the evolving Echo learning about emotions and feelings. We get an arch enemy, Override, in the form of an evil and invinsible robot. We get the AI becoming more and more determined to stop them using the killer drones. We get Sanctuary, a place safe from both drones and Override, but populated with sketchy scientists. Finally, we get the AI itself in a twisty turny conclusion that, of course, provides our love birds with an HFN.

I enjoyed reading this dystopian adventure. I had questions and concerns at times but all of my questions were answered by the end of the book. The only thing I didn't quite understand is when and how the huge physical network that housed the AI's hardware and the settlements was built and how it was currently powered. How the remaining humans came to be living inside that network. There was a tiny part at the end when a life was granted that didn't make sense to me. But other than those two niggles, I definitely enjoyed the story. 

I thought it was so smart of the author to build a world made up of computer hardware and software where humans inhabited small settlements within it. The implied metaphors were perfect! The "Failsafe", "Override","Fragmentation". Also, the hardware like the "heat sink" and "cooling fan" and many others encountered in the journey. Geeky me was thinking this was the coolest thing ever. ;-)
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I couldn't get into the story. I thought the idea was definitely interesting, but the writing simply wasn't for me.
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So let's start off with the good and then venture into the not-so-good. If you've read my reviews, you know that the characters make or break a book for me. Luckily, the characters in this book were really well-written and relatable. Sol is a great main character, fitting right into the YA dystopian genre. She was clever, determined, and strong, overcoming personal obstacles that impeded her vision of the future. 

Echo was a unique character. I really liked his growing personality as he grasped more of his humanity. His responses to and conversations with Sol were a highlight of the book for me. 

So here is where I realize how much my rating relied on these characters and their chemistry because other aspects of the book left me a bit confused. 

The setting. Ugh. I get that it was new and different, but it was really difficult to imagine. They're walking around in a mega-computer type world? Climbing cables and jumping across circuit boards? Meh. 

The plot was sort of just...not there. It's a short book so not a lot of time is spent on Sol's background and upbringing. For the most part, we follow Sol and Echo on their journey to break free from the Interspace. The Override was a strange, rather childish villain, and the Sanctuary was a dramatic turn, but there was nothing that really stuck out in the story, pressing me to read on. 

Overall, I give Failsafe a rating of 3.5/5 stars with a mega detraction for setting and minor detractions for lack of plot and character background.
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After a war between the Interspace AI and humans, the Armistice allowed human settlements inside the Interspace, but they’re forbidden from leaving their small part of the network. When the food deliveries abruptly stop, however, Sol (short for Soleil) feels she has no choice but to go searching for the missing shipments. She has an eidetic memory and has been having strange dreams where she can see the network’s schematics, so she’s able to anticipate where the Interspace’s enforces, the drones, will be. When a run goes bad, she’s saved by a strange man with technology she’s never seen before who immediately asks her for directions to the Interspace’s control center. He’s suspicious that Sol seemed to have knowledge of the drones’ routes, and, well, Echo – as the stranger calls himself – is just plain suspicious in general. Sol, caged by her parents’ worries about her epilepsy and what they see as her needless risktaking, makes a bargain with Echo to get him closer to the control center. But as she finds out more about the Interspace and Echo, will her choices lead her back to the world she’s always known or forward to an uncertain future?

“The truth was they had trouble accepting my condition. It wasn’t about my safety, it was about their fear. Fear took away the Custodian position I’d been training years for. I wouldn’t let it ruin our chances at survival. I was more than my illness. Why didn’t they see that? Why weren’t they…proud of me for what I’ve accomplished?
Why don’t you see me? I wanted to ask, but I never did.”

I haven’t read a YA dystopian book in a while, so this was a delightful treat. I especially liked that the human settlements are actually inside the Interspace – a giant computer – so the areas they have to traverse are filled with circuit towers and other computer innards. I loved how character-focused it was, as well. The majority of it is a road trip sort of story with Sol and Echo trying to find the Interspace’s control center, so they both have a lot of time to get to know each other and bond. Since Echo isn’t initially very talkative, it also gives Sol a lot of time to ruminate over her epilepsy and how it’s changed how she’s viewed in the settlement, especially by her parents, and how she’s changed in reaction. One of my favorite parts about YA is watching characters struggle to figure out who they are, and while I think Echo has the most obvious growth, Sol grows a lot as well. There’s also a slow burn romance between the two, which was adorably sweet.

“Not a machine. He’d said that a few times. I hadn’t known him long but he didn’t seem the type to repeat himself. The differentiation mattered deeply to him then. With regret, I thought of how many times I’d called him a robot. His impassive manner made it seem like nothing bothered him, but maybe that was wrong. He was different in ways I didn’t fully understand, but different didn’t mean less. It was just another way to be. You’d think after all I’d been through in the last year I’d have the concept down.”

As for cons, the pacing was a bit uneven, and there’s a plot element towards the end (involving the source of Sol’s dreams) that was ridiculously deus ex machina.  Basically, there’s a lab full of clones of the original scientists who created the Interspace who save them from the big bad guy after they’re pretty much all the way dead. The scientists also have a magical teleportation thingamajig that can send Echo and Sol directly to the Interspace’s control center.  It just seemed to be a way to wrap up some unanswered questions quickly before the end of the book.

Overall, though, I very much enjoyed this book, and I’ve already found something else in Ms. Deen’s backlist to read!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Soliel, Sol, for short has true dreams which allow her to know when it is safe to leave her district.  Echo needs help navigating through the districts. After he saves her life and learns of her ability he asks her to travel with him.  Unsure if Echo is a human or a robot, she is leary to help him.  She agrees to give him some assistance, and the adventure begins. I do not want to give too much away.  The story between Sol and Echo becomes involved and the meaning of Echo's journey is integral to the plot of the story.  This is a great Sci-Fi YA book that I read in less than two days.  A solid 4 Star rating!
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Actual rating: 3.5

"I am the Failsafe."


The Writing and Worldbuilding 

The writing style was really hard to get used to at first, I gotta admit. It is first person and very much stream of consciousness, which was difficult to adjust to. For instance, the word "craptastic" is used. And besides that, the first chapter was extremely rushed. I thought there'd be an introduction to Sol's life and family, but no, that was all done in exposition, with the first chapter consisting of things I thought would happen in the third or fourth chapter. Besides that, there were so many typos. It was really hard to ignore them, being a grammar nazi and all. Also, sometimes, scenes were just completely skipped, like Deen wanted them in the plot but didn't want to bother writing them. It was very jarring sometimes. Also, it was never explained how Sol got into the other settlements when she did supply runs; like, wouldn't they have thought she was just a Wraith and never let her in?

"He was different in ways I didn't fully understand, but different didn't mean less. It was just another way to be. You'd think after all I'd been through in the last year I'd have the concept down."

Once I got used to it all and the story really picked up, I found myself totally loving it!!! Echo was so wonderful and his and Sol's banter was just so cute! I loved the themes as well, and I thought they were well executed for the most part. Choice and humanity were two of the biggest themes. I loved the world too. The atmosphere was great and very tangible. And despite the rushed plot at the beginning, the love story was thankfully slow-burn, and I really loved it. It warmed my cold dead heart I'd thought incapable of love.

I'd rate the writing 2 stars, but the plot and characters 4 stars.

"Inaction was as much a choice as one made by conviction."

Also, the heck is a "heat cylinder"??

The Characters 

First, I gotta say, what the heck is the deal with these "unique" YA names?? They're driving me crazy! Centhea, Margrit, Devid, and don't get me started on Mykel. It's just Michael! Spell it like a normal person, for goodness sake! The world ended, but they still had language and knew how to spell! *reins in frustration* Okay, let's begin.

"I have no need of constellations with you as my guiding star."

Soleil: She was pretty annoying at first but once I got used to her, I really liked her. She is pretty introspective (being mostly alone in a dark, grey cyberscape definitely encourages that) but sometimes wasn't asking questions I thought obvious to ask (like where her schematic dreams come from, for instance). Also, her painting was thrust upon my suddenly as if I already knew, which with the rushed first chapter, really made me feel like I'd missed some vital prologue chapters. I liked how she had epilepsy.

"You are my guiding star...I go who where you lead."

Echo: MY HEART! I'm dead. I love this adorable android man so much, you don't understand. He really saved this book and made me even keep reading past chapter 2, because he had so much potential and really delivered on it. I loved his caring personality and found his dialogue so adorably stilted and awkward.

"You are a separate entity," he said softly, "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."

The Override: He was pretty creepy.


Survival was indeed a human being's primary directive but we had our own overrides. The heart was one of them.

I really liked this book. I've already gushed about to my family and now I'm gushing about it to you. It's great. Go read it.
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unfortunately i didnt get a chance to read this because it was archived too quickly and I hadnt downloaded it yet.
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To be honest, it was more like 4.5, which I'll elaborate on in a bit.

Disclaimers: I was given a free ARC of Failsafe through Netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Spoilers ahead!

Okay. How do I properly express my love for Failsafe without becoming a gushy mess? I don't think it's possible. First of all, the character development...

I started out not loving the main character, Sol, because she, like many other disabled characters in books I've read, thought she was less of a person due to her illness. However, as the story progressed and Sol found herself away from the ableist environment she grew up in, she finally came to the realization that she has not gotten so far in spite of her illness. Epilepsy is simply a part of her and yes, she had to make some adjustments in her life to accommodate it, but she is still worthy and entitled to everything an abled person is.

The character development displayed here is so incredibly important to me as a disabled, chronically ill person. When I was her age, I thought similar things about myself. I thought I was less of a person due to the ableist society we live in. It was depressing and discouraging and I really felt for Sol in those scenes. When she finally learned that the opposite was true, I cried, I was so happy for her!

Sol wasn't the only one who grew as a character. Echo grew to become one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. I won't spoil it for you, as it's too cute not to experience yourself.

Second of all, Sol and Echo. Sol! And! Echo! Their chemistry was intoxicating. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Sometimes I scan paragraphs in books like this where there's a long adventure to get to their end goal, but I didn't have to do that at all in Failsafe. Every scene was written in such a way that I was hanging on every word, empowered by every sarcastic retort. I stayed up all night reading just so I wouldn't have to leave Sol's and Echo's world.

Of course, the book wasn't perfect. I have yet to find one that is. I would've liked to see how everything turned out: the settlements' reactions, Sol reuniting with her parents and Leithan, that sort of thing. On that subject, I really felt like her settlement was going to play a bigger role in the story than it did. Sure, they were her motivation, her reminder of why she's risking her life for Echo's mission, but after she leaves the settlement they never show up again. Sol did check in with them over radio once or twice, though we were told so in afterthoughts, not firsthand. This doesn't bother me enough to knock my rating down a full star, though, because the story as a whole was detailed and well developed.

Do I recommend this book? Yes! Go pre-order it right now!
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I enjoyed the storytelling pace and the characters. The explanation of the dystopian elements at the end was nicely done as well.
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