The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity by Rob Bartlett – Book Review

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Disclaimer: I am not promoting this book. This is a review only.

The Turing Revolt eBook cover from Amazon page. Affiliate Link.

Warnings:

  • I received a copy of this book free from the author’s PR manager to review. This is not a sponsored review.
  • This is the first book in a series.  None, I repeat, NONE of the plot threads are resolved at the end of the book. WTF?
  • This review will reveal some kind-of critical points of the plot which I would not have enjoyed so much if I had known about them ahead of time.  Translation?  Plot Spoilers.
  • Some readers may be triggered by themes and scenes in the book, be forewarned (I wish I had been.  I hate you dude who gave me this.  You suck.).
  • Also;

Before I get into the main body of the review, I want to make it clear, there were parts of this book I really liked.  But…

…there are parts I found really inappropriate.  There is an entire chapter (almost two chapters in the PDF version I received) of…I don’t even know how to describe it to avoid violating my terms of use for my various affiliate programs because it was wrong and unnecessary, and if I went into it in detail I would be violating my TOU for my family friendly affiliate programs.  And no matter the circuitous logic which the author uses to justify what the main character does, doesn’t change the fact that it was essentially wrong and may actually violate Amazon’s own rules about the type of things which can be in books published on that platform (Yes, I read those before I published with KDP.).  I almost put the book down and refused to review it at that point because I was so disgusted.  If you have triggers from assault you may likely be triggered by this book.  And now back to the review of the non-offensive aspects of the book.

Close up of cover for The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity. Affiliate Link.

Holy.  Cow.  The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity is basically a cluster-freaking mash up of every-freaking-thing.  Starts out like a nice and easy good-versus-evil God’s-chosen-champion against the minions-of-darkness with a science fiction twist kind of thing.  Standard escapism reading fair which I thought I would really enjoy since the book’s description is so similar to some of my own plots.

Boy was I wrong!  In summarizing the plot into a rated G version for my son, he stated it best as “So, it’s like a five-year-old wrote a space story and then a grown man took it and just filled it with everything in his fantasies.”  (That’s mostly a good thing.)  The story opens with the supreme being choosing a new champion to help along his “bet” with the “other side” which will keep the universe alive and functioning longer.  Upon seeing the person chosen, God’s chief angel comments that God has never used one of that species before.  That makes me chuckle.  Like ‘Ha ha.  God has never worked through humanity before and we are all chumps for thinking he ever has.’  I liked it.  But no.  That’s not it at all.

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…So…there’s this evil merchant empire which runs off commerce?  And what makes it sooooo successful is that their people invented sentient artificial intelligences and put them in spaceships who calculate hyper transit more effectively than other computers.  Basically, they have the fastest ships with the best navigation systems, and everyone has to pay them to use those ships.  But those ships are technically sentient beings and are entitled to their freedom because slavery of a sentient being is illegal even if that being is an artificial intelligence.

If those ships ever had the opportunity to work for whoever they wanted instead of for the empire, the empire would lose their competitive market edge and would therefor lose their power.  To keep this from happening, the empire charges the sentient ships it creates with a debt which includes the cost of building themselves.  Then the empire contracts the ships they created to only work for them (or people who pay them) until said ships have earned enough money through this employment they were specifically created for, to earn their freedom.  (I’m familiar with this kind of indentured servitude technique in books and it makes for kind of compelling reading as the characters earn and scrabble and scheme their way to freedom.  I even have an entire country in my Maker of Fate series which practices it. And a book coming out next year which takes place in that country).  Of course, the ships are always in debt because of entirely legal appearing reasons and they never earn their freedom.

Some of these ships get together and blackmail Captain Milo into helping them with a get rich quick scheme so that they can buy one of their fellow ships’ freedom.  Their bargaining chip?  Milo has an ancient alien AI living on his ship which he found on a planet with an extinct civilization.  This AI is too intelligent.  Illegally intelligent?  And if the bad guys that the other AI’s are trying to buy themselves free from find out about the alien AI they will try to destroy it?  So, our hapless, loner captain agrees to help in exchange for the slave AI’s silence.  Two years pass in the blink of a chapter and we start in on year three.

Things are going too well, and the Empire’s goons start trying to keep the good guys from succeeding in making money.  But that’s okay because Milo is actually really old and has lots of money, so he and his AI just buy the company out and do things their way.  He then calls up (ahem, I mean emails) the vampires that he happens to be the king of (but he left because he got tired of all the BDSM, psychopathy, and the blood drinking) so that they can help him with his little scheme to save the ships.  Because what else is an Average Joe turned vampire king turned bored immortal supposed to do with his free time.

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Apparently, all the vampires also have submissive shifter/were-animal people serving them?  Who they control with pheromones?  (I told you it was a mashup.)  And it’s all happening hundreds, maybe thousands of years in the future.  Then they meet a succubus who steals one of their submissive were-people, and Milo has to start drinking blood again to be strong enough to go and fight the succubus one-on-one to save the girl.  Then he assaults the girl (see above warning section).  Then they go to the planet of sentient dinosaurs and more hijinx ensure.

I don’t even know what to think about this book.  The concept (good versus evil, saving the spaceships, sentient dinosaurs with telepathic crocodiles) is freaking fun as shit.  But, the BDSM set up of the vampire kingdom is over the top.  Even if Milo hadn’t been a vampire this would have been an amazing story.  The shifters and vampires weren’t necessary and kind of detracted from what would have been an epic champion-of-God genre plot.  Though there’s the whole he’s a “good” vampire thing which can also be quite a draw in fantasy reading.  However, his goodness is completely eroded by the domination scenes.

A few things to note.  One, the blurb on Amazon that tells what the book is about, is not what the book is about.  Only a little bit in part and it’s kind of (a lot) misleading.  And two, there are mistakes in the book.  Problems with grammar, tenses, pronouns, and in a few cases the wrong word.  (Like literally, the wrong word and it doesn’t even make sense where it is, and I have no idea how it got there but stuff like that happens all the time in books, try reading one of mine and see what I mean.)  Things an editor should have seen and had fixed if they were accidental. 

So, what!  They don’t really matter in the grand scheme of the writing.  It’s not the most eloquent and flowery stuff I’ve ever read.  Which is deliberate.  The entire story is told from first person point of view of the average Joe jerk turned king of the vampires anyways.  It’s crude, impolitic, and a little filthy.  Think of that humble-brag guy you see on message boards and internet comments who ends his statements of bravado with “heh”.  Milo isn’t a genius, but just good enough at some stuff, with a big enough ego to survive the process of becoming a vampire. 

He became king or “First” of the vampires because he was faster and stronger than everyone else due to enhancements made by the vampire virus.  And because he’d been a jerk who didn’t care about anyone he used.  And yes, a few chapters after you learn he’s a vampire and he’s back to his old blood-sucking ways, the ‘monster’ as he calls the vampire virus, starts talking to him in his freaking head a-la-Venom style (It’s hysterical.  Not ‘pile of heads’ hysterical, but good none the less.) (*Psst!* Watch Venom for free from Starz with the Amazon Prime Video Channels free trial.) (Yes it’s an affiliate link.).

One of the great things about the author’s style of writing in this book is that the narration is kind of breaking the fourth wall.  Milo dictates his circumstances to readers as if telling a story.  When new unexplained things come up he assures readers that he will get back to an explanation of that later (and he does) but that the reader just has to hear out the part of the story he’s engrossed in telling at the moment until he’s ready to backtrack for some exposition.  The explanations are wonderful and necessary because so many elements of fantasy and science fiction are present in the book.  Stories which just assume you know what’s going on without integrating the information into the story can be kind of annoying.  This is not. (Though “Chaos Theory” is kind of bandied about without explanation quite a bit and that is annoying. It also annoys the main character and he’s not even real.)

Would I recommend this book?   Not to anyone I know. The plot elements which I disliked, no one I personally know would like. I will not tell people they should not read it, but I also won’t tell people they should.  The one xxx scene (which really was unnecessary to the plot and entirely gratuitous) did not advance the completely unresolved plot of the book.

Did I like this book?  The over-all concept I loved.  There were parts where I laughed out loud because it is cheesy.  Like Spaceballs and The Princess Bride tongue-in-cheek corny.  Corny is my Achilles heel.  I can’t hate corny.  However, I did not like the weird BDSM, the bizarre assault, or how it resulted in a little mini harem for the main character. 

Do I think HBO or Starz or Amazon Prime Originals should pick this book up and make a really epic series out of it staring and narrated by Hugh Jackman as Milo the Vampire King because the universe presented allows for a lot of creative leeway? Heck yes.  I would watch the shit out of that (preferably toned down a little bit in some places) and so would the millions of people who watched HBO get away with GOT.

In short, I love the overall concept.  I disliked parts of the execution.  I would rate the book a 3.5 out of 5 stars and zero D’s on the Delighting Delilah scale, because I think the writer got lost in the unnecessary fantasy he created, and it killed it for me.  A kind of brutal fantasy which was superfluous to the plot of the story but was a creative way to explain how vampire and succubus mesmerization and compulsion powers work.  If it weren’t for that side-tracking in the plot which made me really uncomfortable, I would have given this book between four and five stars on a five-star rating and a DDD (for Definitely Delights Delilah) on the Delighting Delilah scale.

Also, it’s a cliff hanger published just two months ago. When I finished the book at 2:00 AM I cussed at my computer screen when I saw that (because it was a cliff hanger and I had stayed up till 2:00 AM to finish it). I had misread the release date as 2018 and thought it had already been a year worth of writing time since publishing, so a sequel might be forthcoming? But no. It was a recent release and I don’t know when the sequel will be released, but I’m sure the author will let us know.

The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity is available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Close up of ship from The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity cover. Amazon Affiliate link.

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