Published August 18, 2023
Steel Soldier is the fifth book in the delightful Rusted Wasteland post-apocalyptic sci-fi series about Block, a courageous CleanerBot. I’ve read them all in order – which is recommended, although the author does include a handy “Previously on…” summary of the preceding books. I think this is my favourite of the series to date, thanks to the introduction an endearing new character, Shadow.
Block and his ragtag collection of robot friends, who have dedicated themselves to the protection of a special group of children from Mach X, the evil AI intent on dominating the world, have settled in to a remote farm where they can keep them safe. Meanwhile Nova, reluctant leader of the human rebels, needs allies in the battle to retake Chicago, and a pack of dangerous cyborg dogs are on the hunt for the escapees…
I love this series, which is completely different from everything else I read – there are elements of The Mandalorian, Terminator and Wall-E, and I think this would appeal to anyone from older primary school kids to adults who like soft fantasy/sci-fi that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s action, drama, humour and adorable moments of tenderness as the highly anthropomorphosized robots behave more humanely than most of the actual humans! Here we alternate between Block, Nova and Shadow’s points of view, which works well, especially the latter’s story arc. This would make such a great TV series, and while this one ends on a happy note, I’m glad to hear that Block’s adventures will continue. I received an ARC from the author as part of her advance reviewer group