The Destructives by Matthew De Abaitua (Rating – 3/5)

I’m having a cyberpunk sweet-tooth as of late—I’m almost sure that doesn’t sound as good as it does in my head. Anyway, there were mixed feelings when it came to this book. It wasn’t bad—it’s just that, I don’t know—it’s average.

The Destructives takes place in the year 2044, following Theodore Drown and his AI companion, Dr Easy. From childhood, Dr Easy has been documenting the life of Theodore as research for the emergences, Artificial Intelligence that spontaneously achieved sentience close to that of humans—but minus, you know, our vast emotional capacity. Theodore now has a lecturing position at the University of the Moon—yes, The Moon—after recovering from an overpowering addiction to weirdcore, a drug that gives immense euphoria but, more often than not, leaves the user emotionally inert. Things take a turn for Theodore when he discovers that the first class of the University of the Moon, died in a terrible accident from depressurization of the the now rebuilt dome that houses the University. His expertise is sought after by Patricia Maconochie, in order to retrieve data from an archive that existed before the emergences. Things become complicated however, when they stumble upon a shocking discovery while exploring the cryptic data hidden inside—at least, it appears to be a discovery.

As I said before—wait, did I? Eh, it doesn’t matter—I’m not a world renown expert on technical jargon but The Destructives was alright. I think this will be a short review—ironically, as this book was quite complex in its plot—because there isn’t much to decipher or get into. You read, understand, and that’s basically it.

Where do I start? I like to describe things I can’t find a suitable word for in colors. Reading The Destructives was very—Grey. It’s like there was a fear of experimentation in the plot. Once more, the plot isn’t bad. It’s unique—I like unique. But I never had any real thrill, if you catch my drift. The experience was like the car ride of your family trip; smooth roads with one or two cars every couple minutes, gas station stops, short naps, and are-we-there-yets—minus the destination, and your family.

I’m going to be honest, I’m struggling with this review. There isn’t much to say really. I’ll probably just write until the word counter looks nice, or maybe I’ll give the book a second read—in 2044. Let me see. I like the character background, even though their main objectives were clearly established, they seem to have a personal struggle that they fear they’ll never get rid of. For example, Theodore and his obsession—let’s just say concern—over whether he will be able to feel any sort of emotion again due to weirdcore abuse, or Dr Easy and his strong view that emergences are more than capable of experiencing all aspects of sentient life.

The descriptions were kept to a minimum, so there’s that. I think that was a nice touch, especially for a cyberpunk novel, overdoing it with a genre like that can cause confusion; cyberpunk is complex enough with advanced technology, that we may or may not see in the future.

I feel this book would be best suited as a series—seriously. It probably would be nicer to watch than to read. Go ahead and read it though, I’m sure at least one person may really like this book. The story wasn’t bad—yes, I said that a million times already, leave me alone—but it’s not for me. It read more like a first attempt at writing. But I think I’ll leave it there—my word counter looks nice.

For more of that dark liquid.For more of that dark liquid.


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