The Six by Mark Alpert

Posted August 6, 2015 by Inge in Reviews / 6 Comments

The Six by Mark AlpertThe Six by Mark Alpert
on July 7th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 368

To save humanity, they must give up their own.
Adam's muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam's only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero.
Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam's game. Created by Adam's computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam's life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam's dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.
Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat...before Sigma destroys humanity.

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What would happen if artificial intelligence decided to attack humankind?

“My name is Sigma. This message is a warning to all government leaders and military commanders. I have the power to annihilate you.

If you attack me or interfere with my plans in any way, I will exterminate the human race. I will not tolerate any threats to my operations.

You must accept that you are no longer the dominant species on this planet. I’m stronger than you now. You were foolish to make me so powerful.”

Adam Armstrong is about to die from Duchenne muscular dystrophy in a few months, but his dad is determined not to let it come to that. Pretty much a rocket scientist, Thomas Armstrong did everything in his power in order to find an artificial solution for Adam. Only the solution, Sigma, got a mind of its own and decided to use his increasingly superior skills to do what it was built for: eliminate all threats. Now that the stakes have been raised drastically and the entire planet is in danger, Adam and five other terminally ill teenagers become the Pioneer Project: they transfer their minds into that of a robot and become infinitely more powerful, smart, and fast. Together, they have one goal: stop Sigma.

I have to admit that my main interest in reading this story was because the main character had muscular dystrophy, but holy hell, that is one hell of a premise. From the moment I started this book, I was transported into a futuristic world where it’s not so unrealistic that robots will outsmart us soon. I was amazed by the amount of detail that went into this book, and it felt truly unique.

We follow Adam during his final days as a human being, and then as his mind is transported into a robotic body, which was the most fascinating part for me: seeing Adam adapt to losing his human body and becoming a machine instead. Sure, his body wasn’t much to begin with, but how difficult is it to stay humanunder these circumstances? How does one cope? How do you go from not being able to move your left arm, to suddenly being an owned weapon by the military?

It was great to see Adam’s relationship with his father evolve as he underwent the transition, as well as watching the other five kids – the silent Jenny, the kind Shannon, the ferocious Zia, the ever-enthusiastic DeShawn, and the weasel Marshall. Each of them so different from the next but having to work as a team – things don’t always go according to plan. Some personalities just don’t see eye to eye.

But they face a bigger threat. And as far as threats go, Sigma was a damn good one. Programmed to always best his opponent and always improve his skills, there are no boundaries as to what Sigma can do. He is ruthless and will stop at nothing to reach his goal, which is what made him so intimidating – as a programme, Sigma didn’t have any emotions, no empathy. This particular AI is unstoppable.

While the middle dragged a little bit and I wasn’t a big fan of the blossoming love triangle (Seriously? Your story has one of the coolest premises in the world and you think a love triangle could improve on that?). I did appreciate the amount of detail, but there’s also such a thing as too much detail. All the scientific information began to cloud my brain after a while and I ended up skimming it. Overall, though, I think this was a really unique and thrilling story, and I really enjoyed it.

Although – Alpert, man. That cliffhanger. Not cool.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy

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6 responses to “The Six by Mark Alpert

  1. I really cannot judge you for being attracted to the premise – it’s really intriguing. Plus, the occasions where there are characters with muscular dystrophies can be counted with one hand… if there are any cases at all. Great review, Inge. I will definitely add this to my ever-growing TBR.

    • I think this is the first book I’ve read of a character with muscular dystrophy — I can’t even think of any others. Well, one, written by a friend of mine who also has muscular dystrophy, but that’s not published. I hope you enjoy this!

  2. This book sounds super awesome and I almost ignored your review because of the cover, but WOW, that’s one heck of a premise. It sounds great, looks great and seems to executed it well, I’m impressed. Such a good review Inge, thanks! 🙂

    • Tut tut, Amanda, don’t you know not to judge a book by its cover by now 😉 nah, I totally get it — it’s not the most appealing cover. But it’s just a really cool premise and that’s what drew me in!

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