Summer Frost by Blake Crouch
A video game developer becomes obsessed with a willful character in her new project, in a mind-bending exploration of what it means to be human by the New York Times bestselling author of Recursion.
Maxine was made to do one thing: die. Except the minor non-player character in the world Riley is building makes her own impossible decision—veering wildly off course and exploring the boundaries of the map. When the curious Riley extracts her code for closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own? – Goodreads
While I liked the story well enough by the end, I did consider skipping this one about 8 minutes into the 2 hour audiobook because of the writing style. Crouch was so intent on creating the scenery in the mind of the player that he over describes everything. It was like listening to someone tell you every millisecond of action in a movie. “I turned right down a hallway. I picked up my left foot, then my right foot to walk down the 5 feet 6 inches of light mahogany hallway. I got to a door and opened it. I entered the room. I saw a light in the bathroom. I walked towards the door. I entered into the bathroom.”
I’d like to say I’m exaggerating there for effect, but I’m unfortunately really not. On top of that, the ending was fairly predictable and the only one I can imagine being surprised by it is the main character.
That all being said, the individual details Crouch brings to this old tale are for the most part original and interesting. I liked how he handled such a human constraint/concept of gender with the A.I. and the story is well paced. These things save it from being an otherwise forgettable two-star read.