Review: Summer Frost

A video game developer becomes obsessed with a willful character in her new project, in a mind-bending exploration of what it means to be human by the New York Times bestselling author of Recursion.

Maxine was made to do one thing: die. Except the minor non-player character in the world Riley is building makes her own impossible decision—veering wildly off course and exploring the boundaries of the map. When the curious Riley extracts her code for closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own?

Overall I really enjoyed this novella that is an interesting spin on the trope of AI becoming too sentient and evolved and wreaking havoc while they try to take over. It’s a constantly debated question as to how smart is too smart for technology.

This story follows Riley, a programmer and Max and AI that was originally an NPC in a video game that somehow changed the game and became their own entity. Riley is obsessed and constantly testing how Max can learn and just how much they can evolve. Her obsession is dangerous and drastically changes her life.

Part of me feels as if this could have been longer, but the rest of me feels it was the perfect length. It was a short, succinct tale that is cautionary in a lot of ways. Could the characters have had more backstory and development? Absolutely, but they didn’t necessarily always need it.

Even though it is short, Blake Crouch’s signature twists and turns are still there and there were definitely a few that kept me guessing. If you like his writing you will probably really enjoy this as well.

Happy reading!

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