I must confess that I adore Top Gear/The Grand Tour and pretty much any book about artificial intelligence. So, when I was approached by Freeform to participate in the AUTONOMOUS Blog Tour, my hand was held way up high. Breakfast Club meets The Fast & Furious meets Christine? I was so there.
And you know what? AUTONOMOUS didn’t disappoint. It’s a fast, exhilarating read filled with immediately recognizable characters and a thriller plot that hurls you into unexpected twists.
This story is marketed to 14+ and I would definitely stick to that recommendation, because the Breakfast Club-style themes — teenage drinking, drugs, discussions of self-harm are weighty. There is another huge theme — one about online privacy — that really spoke to me. Maybe it’s the current facebook privacy scandal or the growing realization of just how large our individual online footprints are becoming that this plot point intrigued me the most.
I won’t forget to mention, Otto, the car in the story. As spooky as HAL9000, or AIDAN from Illuminae, Otto has a mind of his own (not really a spoiler there, right?). At times, I wish I had more of him. Perhaps that’s just my love of that type of character clouding my judgement. A quick nod to minor characters, like Christina, who really stand out.
I can see this easily becoming a movie — the characters, plot and current obsession with driverless cars would make it a very watchable film. If you’re like me and love the idea of artificial intelligence and a post-high school graduation road trip, then be sure to pick up AUTONOMOUS. It’s fast, intelligent and thrilling enough to keep your interest.
Andy Marino was born and raised in upstate New York. He spent his childhood orchestrating Lego pirate battles, drawing detailed maps of imaginary video games, and cheating death in Choose Your Own Adventure books. Profoundly influenced by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and the movie Bloodsport, he started writing his first novel at the age of eleven. Tragically, THE RUNES OF ILLIARM was never completed.
During his teen years, Andy designed sets for school plays and became an expert stockpiler of unfinished art projects. After graduating from NYU with a bachelor’s degree in English, he dedicated himself to writing fiction. The insidious tractor beam of online social networks (like this one!) became the inspiration for UNISON SPARK, a novel about two teens with a secret past fighting the manipulative, all-consuming social network of the future.