As soon as I read an excerpt of this on BookishFirst, I knew Goddess in the Machine was going to a book that thrilled me. The synopsis revolves around a girl who wakes from her cyrosleep 1000 years too late to a vastly different world, which ironically is a senario I had pondered a few months before hearing about this book. What were the odds?
Goddess in the Machine is about Andra, who was put into cyrosleep to wake in another planet with other colonists from Earth in 100 years, but ends up waking 1000 years later instead. Everyone she knows as long since been dead and now the descendants of those original colonists believe her to be an actual goddess, awakened to help save their failing city.
The worldbuilding was intriguing and fantastically written. It honestly was what drew me into the story from the first chapter. The story has a very apocalyptic feel; it reminded me a bit of The 100 which is a show I love. I also thought the “language” that was created was excellently construed. It was never over the top or confusing to figure out, but you were forced to think a bit harder about what was being said. It was totally believable how English could have changed and mutated over hundreds of years in that fashion. It was actually fun piecing together how certain words/phrases could have evolved into what was being said.
I absolutely loved the protagonist, Andra. It was very easy to sympathize with her and understand the loneliness and despair she must be feeling at her situation. At the same time, she remains determined to solve her problems as best she can while remaining true to herself. I also loved the representation she brings to the book: Andra is part-Asian and frequently describes herself as “chubby” or “fat”. I loved that she accepts her body for what it is and her weight is never the focal point or made out to be a negative attribute.
My favorite part of the book? The plot twists. It’s not often a book can take me completely by surprise but Goddess in the Machine succeeded three times. The first major plot twist was amazing. I honestly never saw it coming and nearly squealed in excitement. I love that feeling when reading! The second plot twist had a small hint earlier which I caught, but it seemed to far-fetched for me to consider so I was pleasantly surprised (and shocked) when I turned out to be right. The third plot twist happens just before the book ends and I will admit I was again caught in complete surprise by that turn of events. As I said, I’m usually pretty good about catching the hints or guessing at the twists, but Lora Beth Johnson did a tremendous job keeping the twists well-hidden until they needed to be revealed, yet at the same time they are totally believable and added so much to the story.
Goddess in the Machine is one of the most impressive debuts I’ve read this year. The apocalyptic sci-fi setting is the perfect backdrop for this amazing story. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book.