Sci-Fi Young Adult

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson Review

I love a YA sci-fi adventure, particularly those that play out aboard spaceships (it all ties back to my Star Trek addiction days). Goddess in the Machine is set on a planet (Erensend), not aboard a spaceship, but there’s a reason why this sci-fi will go down as one of my favorites. It’s the truly impeccable world-building — world-building reminiscent of some of fantasy’s best series.

Andra (Andromeda) wakes up from cryogenic sleep. Only problem: it’s about 1000 years too late, all the other colonists she was supposed to be with are long dead, the planet she’s landed on is being ravaged by nano storms, and civilization is skating on the brink of destruction. Yeah, we would not want to be Andra. Although, peculiarly, the locals are hailing Andra a “Goddess” and calling her their salvation. Failing which, Andra will be sacrificed. Yeah, it’s not looking good for our teenage heroine.

From standout world-building (prepare to find out how linguistics will shape and change the English language of the future) to characters you cannot help but root for (Andra and exiled bastard prince Zhade), Goddess in the Machine is an action-packed sci-fi adventure full of court intrigue and people who make morally gray choices. Especially Zhade and his brother Maret— oh, the twists and turns this story takes! Technology has advanced to such a degree that it has eclipsed human understanding and is considered magic.

Told from dual POVs, the reader is dropped into the futuristic world of Eerensend, knowing as little as Andra, and it makes for such great mystery and discovery moments. Andra is biracial, curvy, and has a difficult (to say the least) relationship with her (now dead) mom, but despite feeling like she’s entirely out of her depth on Eerensend, Andra’s got tech-savvy and smarts and no quit. Together with Zhade, she just might depose the gov of Erensend (Zhade’s half brother) and escape the fate of a Goddess, death. 

A unique YA sci-fi adventure and an outstanding debut.

The sequel (Devil in the Device) promises great things and released August 24th!


Book: Goddess in the Machine
Published: Razorbill
Pages: 400
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Age Range: 13 – 18
Stars: 4/5

Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

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