Book Review: Sentience by Courtney P. Hunter

Hello, reader!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but though fantasy is my favorite genre, science fiction is a close second. That being said, I’m far more picky with my sci-fi reads than I am with fantasy. One aspect of sci-fi that always grabs my interest, though, is artificial intelligence. Especially if the story delves into the moral issues surrounding the use of AI.

That’s why, when Courtney Hunter approached me about reading her upcoming sci-fi novel about four AI who don’t know they’re AI being part of a twisted Turing test, I jumped at the chance to read it! It sounded right up my alley and, I’m happy to report, turned out to be an amazing read.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! First, I want to thank Courtney for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. It was very much appreciated! And, now, let’s get to the review.


Synopsis


“Robots, sex, lies, adventure, and chaos. Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself? And what truly defines humanity and consciousness?

Running from a violent past, Leo Knox desperately decides to participate in a scientific experiment conducted by the infamous and greedy tech-giant, AlgorithmOS. Soon, Leo learns that she has agreed to take part in a Turing Test, a test that measures the ability of artificial intelligence to blend in among humanity, but what she doesn’t know is that the test set to take place is unlike any other of its kind.

Leo enters Eden, the contained preserve where the test will occur, with twenty-three others. While everyone appears to be human, four of the individuals are an indistinguishably advanced form of humanoid AI. The task is simple: identify the AI while trying to survive. The twist? The four AI are completely unaware of their nature, causing every participant to question what they know as reality.

The group embarks on a journey within the preserve, rigged with obstacles devised by the controllers of the experiment to elicit human response and emotion. Quickly, madness ensues and divides form, partnering Leo up with Avery Ford, a Marine who wears his demons on his sleeve. Romance falls together for the two as the world around them falls apart, revealing the lengths people will go to protect those they love, to achieve monetary gain, or simply to survive.

Back at AlgorithmOS, the story unfolds on the screens of Nathan Aimes, a scientist responsible for monitoring the experiment’s surveillance cameras. Nathan studies the humans involved as they wrestle with where they stand on the polarizing issue of AI and its applications. He watches the AI unknowingly fight to prove their humanity just to leave the experiment unscathed. All the while, Nathan is intimately aware of his company’s plans to weaponize or commodify the AI should they pass the test, and he must reconcile this with the chaos that plays out before him.”

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