Book Review: Sleeper Protocol by @thewriterike

Sleeper Protocol by Kevin Ikenberry – 4 stars

Kieran Roark awakens in a wheelchair, unable to remember anything. As part of a classified experiment, he will have one year to learn his identity and recover his memory, or he will be euthanized by the state.

Scientist Berkeley Bennett has one mission: manipulate Kieran’s emotions in an attempt to bring back his memory. But when she falls in love with him, she is forced to make a harrowing decision that may cost Kieran his life.

What Kieran knows could save Earth from a coming war. Whether he believes the future is worth saving is another matter. Racing across an unfamiliar world in a body he does not recall, Kieran needs to discover who he was and, more importantly, who he is.

Although it contains some thriller aspects, this book is a character study. At it’s heart, the story is about a man who lost his memory and quests to recover it. It takes place in the future with sci-fi elements and a conspiracy going on in the background, and includes an AI both simple and complex enough to conjure shades of HAL 9000.

The conspiracy part didn’t make sense to me on a certain level. The motivations of the antagonist causing said conspiracy seemed strange. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing what what they did for the reasons they did. Because the reasons weren’t cartoonish or over the top, I couldn’t relax into the mindset of a James Bond story, where the villain’s motives are supposed to be ridiculous. Even so, the conflict itself is well done.

I liked Kieran and Mally, both of whom carry the story brilliantly. Berkeley felt a little thin, but the story isn’t about her.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s low action, high psychology and done well. I recommend it especially for veterans, and more broadly for anyone interested in stories about largely internal struggles surrounding identity.

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