Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.
After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” … and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.
As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?
Acclaimed Morris Award finalist Len Vlahos pens a high-stakes contemporary-rooted sci-fi that asks big questions about humanity.
I’ve read several books and watched many movies about artificial intelligence, so there’s no way I could pass this up on NetGalley.
During the first few chapters, Quinn charmed me. He’s a geeky guy desperately crushing on a pretty girl in his class and spends most of his free time playing a game probably similar to D&D. It initially read more like a middle grade book to me – but not for long. Once Quinn discovers what he is, all sorts of thought-provoking questions come into play. Does he have freedom of choice? What are his rights? Does he have any? A lot of existentialism at play.
Although Quinn thinks (mostly) like a human, he’s an AI with human-like qualities, and your heart goes out to him. He possesses a dry and sometimes dark sense of humor, and watching him learn to navigate friendships and dating parallels most teens’ experiences at that age. While dealing with these relationships, he also has to come to terms with what he is and how he was created. The author did a wonderful job portraying character reactions to Quinn – amazement, suspicion, and delight, among others. Many considered him a friend.
Throughout the story, Quinn feels emotions like any other human, so I was puzzled at how easily he accepted what he was and handled the loss of people in his life. It didn’t seem consistent. He also mentions more than once that he’s the most intelligent being on Earth, but then misses some mightly big clues toward the end of the book.
Hard Wired inspires a wide range of emotions and questions, and you’ll find yourself emphathizing with Quinn quite easily. Sci-fi fans can fall easily into this book and spend a few thought-provoking hours.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.