The Six by Mark Alpert
Before Adam’s muscular dystrophy can kill him, his father, responsible for a revolutionary Artificial Intelligence program whose sentience makes it turn on the entire human race, saves Adam and five other teens by copying their brainwaves into Pioneer robots meant to stop Sigma, the renegade AI bent on destroying mankind. Adam’s task grows increasingly difficult when his best friend and the girl of his dreams are kidnapped.
This is the first young adult novel in a long time that captured my attention and made me truly care about the characters. While the first third of the book feels like it runs a bit long, it helps the reader better connect to Adam and understand his pre-Pioneer life. Adam’s strained relationship with his mother, who refuses to believe any robot would merely be a shallow copy of her son, proves especially poignant.
The action picks up as the Pioneers train to take on Sigma. Adam will do anything to save the people he loves. While there is romance, the mission remains the primary focus throughout. The fact that not everyone survives the battle makes this a realistic read, as do the details about brain mapping. This is young adult hard science fiction at its best. I eagerly await a sequel.
I recommend The Six to fans of Michael Grant and those curious about where our research into Artificial Intelligence might take us.
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