Summer Frost by Blake Crouch: Narrated by Rosa Salazar

Summer Frost is not treading entirely new ground, building up to a predictable outcome as it does…but it’s not the novelty of the tale that makes it worthy, it’s the quality of the storyteller. Blake Crouch is quite the storyteller.
Riley makes for a captivating protagonist as she works to assist the world’s first truly emergent intelligence reach and further maximize its potential. It’s appropriate, in a sense, that the AI’s name is Max (short for Maxine, the NPC within a VR game, the AI unexpectedly grew from).
It’s a sad tale of being too close to a problem to see that there’s a problem at all. In this case, the problem is that Riley has projected altogether too many human characteristics onto something that is far beyond human. Blinded by an affection that falls somewhere into a nebulous space of mother and child…or lover and object of obsession. We are helpless to do anything, hoping that we’re wrong, as the story races to the inevitable conclusion…but knowing, deep inside that there’s no other conclusion available.
The narration from Rosa Salazar is as spectacular as most of the narration has been for the installments of the Forward Collection. She lulls us into a sense of near-complacency that allows us to feel almost as taken off-guard as Riley ultimately is.

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