Avatar meets The Terminator in this thrilling cyber-tech adventure. Crippled by muscular dystrophy, Adam spends his days playing virtual reality games, until a dangerously advanced artificial intelligence program that can control other machines tries to kill him. Created by Adam’s father, Sigma has escaped its cyber prison and is threatening world domination. In order to stop Sigma, Adam and five other terminally ill teens sacrifice their bodies and upload their minds into weaponized robots. Together, The Six must learn how to manipulate their new mechanical forms—and prepare for epic combat—before Sigma destroys humanity.
Meet the Six, a group of teens given a second lease on life. Led by the violent ex-gang member Zia and computer prodigy Adam, who happens to be the son of the tech-genius who is leading the entire operation, the Six have less than a month to learn how to fight together using their new robot bodies. A rogue AI program, named Sigma, that was also created by Adam's father, is trying to take over the world - and now only Adam and his team can stop it.
The best feature of THE SIX is that the author does not portray the scientists as the bad guys. In fact, advanced science and technology is on the side of the good guys - they need it to save the lives of millions of people. Among a wealth of dystopias and sci-fi novels in which the scientists and the government are the enemy, this standpoint is refreshing and exciting.
With accessible writing and a diverse cast of characters, THE SIX is a well done sci-fi action novel that will appeal perfectly to its intended audience. However, adult readers of YA, particularly women, will most likely find the series opener not quite to their tastes. There is the tiniest hint of romance, but once the teens are virtually ensconced in their new robot bodies, any hint of romance is crushed but the technological barriers between them.
The verdict: I highly recommend THE SIX, a well-researched, hardcore science fiction joyride for fans of first-person shooter video games like Halo and Destiny. Fans of YA sci-fi romance and dystopias may find it not quite suited to their tastes.
(Adapted from a review first published in School Library Journal, June 2015 issue)
Luckily, his father’s work has led to Project Pioneer, which gives dying teens a chance at a future life- in an artificial brain/program with a robotic body. Adam and 5 other teens have signed up for this project, including Zia who seems to have some anger issues, Jenny who has some anxiety issues, and Shannon, who is an optimistic person and someone Adam used to know. We spend a lot of time delving into the technology, moral implications of such an endeavor, and teenage rebellion.
I had some mixed feelings about this book. Aside from Adam, a lot of the other characters seemed one-sided and under-developed. The technology was really awesome and a lot of the theories behind it were explained, which made it seem entirely plausible. There was also an awkward love triangle-type thing that felt out of place amongst the rest of the war training/battles.
We get tidbits of what is going on with Sigma in between chapters of what the Pioneers are up to, and these are pretty interesting, as the AI continues to evolve. I loved the idea and premise, as well as Adam’s character, but I found it to get a little bogged down in places and stretched too thin. I am curious to read more though as I feel like this series has a lot of potential!