Re-Read: iD (Madeline Ashby)

iD is the second Machine Dynasty novel by Madeline Ashby.
Finished on: 26.3.2021
[Here is my first review.]
[Here is my review of the first Machine Dynasty novel.]

Content Note: rape

Javier should be happy, living on Amy’s island with Amy and his sons. But somehow he is still ill at ease, especially since Amy refuses to disengage his failsafe, leaving him vulnerable to humans still. And then just that is used against him and makes his entire world falls apart, leaving Javier to try and pick up the pieces of their lives.

iD really delves into the consent issues that were already raised in the first novel and considers them from every angle. It’s thoughtful and interesting, but it’s also simply a good read, even if there were a couple of transition issues.

The book cover showing the face of a man surrounded by black shards and machinery.

iD switches the story perspective from Amy to Javier which I think is necessary for Ashby to really delve into what the failsafe means and how it compromises vNs everywhere in many ways. Since Amy’s failsafe doesn’t work, she really has no idea. But Javier knows exactly – he has had is failsafe used against him in a million different ways, meaning that he was coerced and forced and abused because he just doesn’t have the ability to say no to humans.

That Javier is built to look like a Latino adds an interesting layer here, taking into account the hypersexualization of Latinos (or actually Latinxs). It’s an important part of the world-building here and I loved the thoughtful way Ashby explores it. That Javier is built to enjoy his own abuse to a certain degree makes things more complicated still and allows for the nuance to distinguish between consent and enthusiastic consent. As much as I appreciated that complexity, it’s also tough to read the long history of abuse.

There were a couple of moments when the story jumps from one scene to the next, and those transitions weren’t always clear to me. I could roll with them, but I would have liked a little more clarity about what actually happened.

Other than that I have no complaints, though. And I’m really looking forward to finally reading the next novel and see how things continue with everybody.

Summarizing: awesome.

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