Fun stuff, as always, but requires prior knowledge
I'm a big fan of the Murderbot Diaries the first story was so fresh and unlike anything I had before so I was particularly excited to read the full length novel by Martha Wells.
I was actually looking forward to recommending it to friends, but the one thing that surprised me and with mild disappointment is that you would definitely need to read the previous novellas. There's a lot of references to prior adventures, characters, outcomes and learnings - which makes it hard to jump straight into this book (I wouldn't recommend doing so actually).
However, I have read all the prior novellas and was able to pick up from where I left off, and SecUnit continues to be lovable, grumpy and extremely uncomfortable with emotions.
What was a real delight was the return of ART. We met ART in Artificial Condition (book 2) and I remember being disappointed that we didn't meet it again, but in this story, ART plays a main character - and it's beautiful.
I do also love how Wells writes about these characters. Firstly they're respectful of pronouns - somehow whenever I've thought of a robot, I've referred to them as "he" yet robots have no gender. Wells makes it pretty clear that a) this has never been an issue to the constructs, and b) always makes sure we're using the right pronouns, including always referring to SecUnit's mushy clients as "humans and augmented humans".
If you're a Murderbot fan, then I definitely think you'll enjoy this. If you've not read Murderbot before, then I highly recommend it!
Others I've read in the "The Murderbot Diaries" series: