4 stars out of 5: All in all, “Bone Machine” is one of those rare books in which the quality of the ideas out-paces the quality of the writing. There are a lot of really interesting things implied and questioned by the events of the book, but Mr. James backs away from allowing readers to have an emotional connection to the story. I won’t give away the mid-novel events because Mr. James clearly means for readers not to see them coming, but they’re brilliant. The premise of the book is astonishingly awesome, but the execution is a little disappointing in comparison. Even though the book uses elements from science fiction and horror, it doesn’t quite live up to the promise of either. But for audiences you like smart science fiction, it’s worth a read even if what readers remember is the ideas and not the characters of the story.
“Bone Machine” is a novel by CN James about a science fiction future where semi self-aware robots have liberated much of the world’s workforce thanks to a visionary company named Libra Corp. Grayson Cornel believes in the benefits his company brings to the world, and has worked for the founders of Libra Corp since the beginning. But when Grayson is promoted to the position of distribution director, he becomes the target of the former holder of the position, Zoe Asher, who resigned days earlier by murdering a police officer and stealing the most protected of Libra Corp’s secrets. But Grayson has other problems too, a dying father, and a neglected fiancé, and it isn’t long before the stresses of balancing family tragedy with threats of corporate espionage take their toll on Grayson’s work. A single mistake could cost Grayson and Libra Corp everything, and it’s up to Grayson to make things right, even when the situation escalates in ways Grayson never imagined possible.