The Crying Machine by Greg Chivers

The Crying Machine book cover
Rating 7.5/10
A delightful combination of sci-fi, politics, and the three strange characters ensconced within them

Science documentary producer Greg Chivers’ first novel is a delightful combination of sci-fi, politics, and the three strange characters ensconced within them.

Chivers’ future Jerusalem is a city all but ignored as irrelevant by the world’s leaders, and in its anonymity the Holy City has become a haven for smugglers, exiles and extremists. While flying under the radar of the globe’s superpowers, the Middle Eastern metropolis teems with dubious characters, black market operations and dangerous deals, making for an intriguingly fresh setting to the familiar sci-fi tale.

Navigating this volatile environ is Clementine: an android bred for war but who’s found freedom and is on the run and needing to disappear. To survive, she must learn the ways of humans, the strange city she’s found herself in, and the world beyond battle, while always keeping her much desired technological capabilities hidden from the many who would exploit it.

It’s Clementine’s tale that provides the backbone to The Crying Machine. Understanding her origins, what and who she is, and how she connects to a mysterious artefact that’s getting all the wrong people interested, propels the story forward and makes for an engaging and often thought-provoking, read.

Sadly, the other players are less enthralling. Clementine’s partner in crime, Levi (a low rent criminal who employs her to assist with a burglary on the promise of aiding her escape), is charming enough but eminently recognisable in his sketchy demeanour and wise cracking attitude.

Equally, corrupt Jerusalem minister Silas, the third point of Chivers’ character triad, while an effective and intimidating presence, fails to make any lasting impression beyond his designated function.

Despite these weaker supporting characters, Chivers’ desire to create a world in which ‘strange and mystical things could happen, but seem quite normal’ is definitely realised, and his TV-script writing experience informs a style that’s pacey, accessible and immersive.
In this debut novel, perhaps the author’s biggest achievement is the undeniable curiosity he’s able to generate in an atmospheric, intriguing setting that keeps the pages turning, and the compelling need to know what happens in the end.

A swift, confident, and pleasurable read.

This The Crying Machine book review was written by logo logo

Have you read The Crying Machine?

We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.

The Crying Machine reader reviews

7.5/10 from 1 reviews

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Write a reader review

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.

First name

Country where you live


Your rating (out of 10)

Your review

More recommended reading in this genre

Great fantasy books published in 2019

Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: