Saturday 5 September 2009


Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.

Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.

In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim?

This isn't a very long book, so I knew it wouldn't take long to read. I picked it up this afternoon and just finished it.

I have to say that although I didn't expect the surprise ending, I often found it easy to lose interest in what was going on. Mainly it's because the book is told in the POV of Anax, a girl who's hoping to get into the Academy and is facing her exam, but also tells the story of how the past was shaped to become the world she lives in now. That involves the story of Adam and Art. Adam is human and Art is an AI.

I really wanted to find out more about Anax. I really enjoyed the snippet and quick glimpses we got of her life. I think I would've loved this story if the main focus was on her life, not the endless conversations between Adam and Art and what eventually led to The Final Dilemma. They got a little dull.

The thing that I enjoyed the most was finding out just what The Academy really did and who was living in this society. Other than that, the ending left me a little shocked. Not really because of what happened, but because I wish I'd cared more.

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