Thursday, March 16, 2023

Book Review - The Hermes Protocol by Chris M. Arnone



The Hermes Protocol by Chris M. Arnone is set in a futuristic world and time, and is about an Intel agent who is assigned a standard heist operation, but it turns out to be much bigger than she could have ever imagined. Elise Corto-Intel is an intelligence agent for the Corto Corporation. Her job is to break into highly classified and secured areas and retrieve items for her handlers. Elise is assigned a new heist which should have been a routine job for her. When Elise breaks into the safe and opens the package she sees a tiny microchip. She doesn’t think anything of it until a mysterious voice greets her on her private communication network.

Elise is bewildered and confused because no one should have access to her private network. It turns out the microchip she was assigned to steal housed an artificial intelligence being, named Bastion. In Elise’s world artificial intelligence is banned and considered a threat. Elise could be in serious trouble just knowing that Bastion exists; having the AI could bring graver consequences.

Elise is torn on whether or not to let her team know that she has the chip and its contents. She decides to turn the chip in against her better judgment. She thought she would be able to wash her hands clean of the situation until their vault was compromised and the microchip was stolen. Elise becomes the prime suspect as she is the last person to leave their secured vault. Elise is desperate to figure out who is behind the theft and clear her name before she loses everything she holds dearly.

This was my first time reading a novel in the cyberpunk science fiction genre. I am on the fence because the book was an okay read but I felt like it missed the mark a few times. The story felt repetitive because Elise mentioned every single time how her mechanical body parts were superior to her biological body parts. I feel like that was stating the obvious since the world was more technologically advanced than our present times. If the author had felt the need to reinforce the fact I felt it would have been fine once or twice but not more than that.

The author gets repetitive for other things as well. He explains basic common concepts over and over again. Some of the ideas could have been easily understood given previous context and didn’t need the additional time explaining it. I felt like the time would have been better spent world building.

Elise was a complicated protagonist. At times I thought she was clever and acted quickly on her feet. Then there are times where she gets beaten so badly that you can’t help but wonder why she is an intelligence agent and not a punching bag. I felt like most of the battles she loses on physical prowess but she comes up with a clever solution to get out of the situation. The book ends with a possibility for more books in the future but I don’t think this book made a strong case to read more books in the series.  

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

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