I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Normally the first time authors and community efforts do not go well together. I know a lot of things behind the scenes, but instead of spoilage, I really liked the way it is all implemented. I wonder how a complete stranger would regard the book, but a lot of it is about the present and some characters will seem familiar. You may definitely put Ghost of Emily next to such a book as The Forge of Elders by L. Neil Smith. Not because of similar style, but similar message. Moralizing is definitely involved, in a way that you don't see very often. Yes, this is proper sci-fi, but philosophy plays a serious role. Philosophy is not this weird or nebulous academic effort, it is the most practical thing, admitting that some words and actions make sense together and some don't, and that's the cause of all the good and evil in the world.
Without spoiling anything, this science-fiction is a classic framework of a growing artificial intelligence bent on world domination and destruction of humanity, but instead of the total war of Skynet, the net is spun of good intentions and old human vices and temptations. The characters of the story fight back, not only with weapons and science, but also with moral arguments, commitment to reality and I dare to say, deliberate peaceful parenting of children. And it's not like much of humanity isn't just as bad as the robots, who after all are trying to save us from ourselves and some very grim global events.
The characters are well-developed, but unanimous in their stances. The opposing stances are clear and antagonistic and you know which side is chosen by the main heroes, but both present logical arguments for why they do what they do and many of the arguments are compelling. Also, if you love or hate Elon Musk, you will want this book.
I found the story progressing easily, without any dull places, but ever-present cliffhangers. This was a must to buy, just to see what Fox is up to, but well worth it. Why exactly? The Ghost of Emily has this quality of art - I don't know if it's good or bad, but it's powerful, captivating. It's inspiring in the way that it's good but not perfect, much of the enjoyment comes from thinking how I could improve or add to the story or solve the unsolvable conflicts - and that's not something that happens to me very often. It's a way for the book world to immerse you. I will definitely buy the next books in trilogy, when they come out.