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All Systems Red

Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
Series: Murderbot Diaries, Book 1
Length: 3 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,362 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

All Systems Red is the tense first science fiction adventure novella in Martha Wells' series The Murderbot Diaries. For fans of Westworld, Ex Machina, Ann Leckie's Imperial Raadch series, or Iain M. Banks' Culture novels.

All Systems Red tackles questions of the ethics of sentient robotics. The main character is a deadly security droid that has bucked its restrictive programming and is balanced between contemplative self-discovery and an idle instinct to kill all humans.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid - a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot."

Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

©2017 Martha Wells (P)2017 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I LOVE MURDERBOT

This book was just what I needed to get my out of a recent listening rut. I had been pouring through longer literary fiction type stuff that was really heady and then I started this on a whim and it was a sheer delight.

The world-building is immaculate, the plot is solid and well-paced, but most importantly MURDERBOT. S/HE is the man. I'm assuming he's a man because of the narrator's voice, but I think he's just an asexual SEC Unit that is supposed to be a killing machine but just wants to watch movies.

So relateable. And I just really love how Martha Wells crafts the environment kind of secondarily, you don't even notice that she is describing and explaining details about the world because it all takes a back seat to Murderbot's sardonic, sarcastic observations.

I had only two issues with this story.

1. It is too short
2. The ending is abrupt! It could have been flushed out a lot more, but just kind of cut off.

Now I'm left hoping for a sequel, hopefully one that has a little more meat, because this stuff is delicious.

96 of 104 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I just wish all four stories were one book...

Martha Wells tells a great story, with a fantastic protagonist that I can genuinely relate to. While many people might think of a sci fi setting and picture themselves as a dating adventure hero, I think Murderbot might be the closest thing to how I would picture myself in such a setting; uncomfortable talking to people, would rather be relaxing and enjoying books or movies than pretty much anything else, and when called upon to do battle, might just have 40-60% of my body shot off. I enjoyed every bit of the story.

The good news is that it's a short novels, so I can easily listen to it again. The bad news is that all 4 of the novellas in the series cost as much as full-length books, which means it costs 4 credits (or $ equivalent) to get as much content as you would get in 1 or 2 standard novels. That part burns a bit, but all in all, still probably worth it.

#tagsgiving #sweepstakes

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This series is 12 hours for $40.

interesting book could have been flushed out a bit more. 3 hours for over $10 it was a bit ridiculous. Each book in the four-part series is 3 hours. That's $40 for 12 hours of listening. Quite expensive and frankly it feels like a gimmick or a trick. I won't buy any more until they come out in a single Book for a better price. Be warned.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary

This is really original SF and it kept me on the edge of my seat. It's a short, concentrated read - the opposite of the bloated space operas that are so common now - nothing extra, through so much is hinted at and alluded to, a much larger story provides context. There is nothing in excess. The Hemingway of SF? Highest quality writing, originality and reading. I can't wait for more in this universe, because the main character is truly fascinating, and clearly will be growing and changing during well-told adventures.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Good...but...

The story was interesting and it has a great "hook" to bring you into the story-line rather quickly, however the book falls short toward the end. Now the problem could be me...in that this appears to be an "episode" rather than an a stand alone novel. I only listen to audiobooks, so it may very well be classified as a novella or a multi-part book.
Given that it costs me 1 credit for only a little over 3 hours of listening; I don't think I will be continuing on with the other episodes. The story and performance just don't seem worth the time/money when I could spend that same credit on 11+ hours of some riveting story.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Three hours, really?

interesting story, but at a mere three hours long, the characters didn't get developed enough for me. Not a bad book, just a short book. To paraphrase Randy Newman, "Short novels got no reason to live"

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Where’s the rest of the book?

This book is amazing, but it’s like the beginning of a story. This book is a novella not a novel! I know I would highly enjoy this series, but I will not be buying the next book and paying full price for a 150ish page book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I wish I knew this 'Murderbot'

I hope that when the other two books come out in paper and on Kindle, that there will also be Audible available for them.
And just as important, Kevin R. Free MUST narrate those two books as well. I just can't imagine Murderbot with anyone else's voice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I write honest good or bad reviews

Any additional comments?

I think it's a disservice to write subjectively good reviews to spare the author/narrator's feelings while people are paying good money to hear the books. To that end please if I author a book I will welcome your review, from lord and savior to complete asshole, just be honest. All Systems Red, The story is fantastic, at one point I was going to ding the author a star for a robot saying he was 'cozy' and other such emotional innuendo's, but as the story progressed I realized those were deliberate word choices and they arched into the plot as if a true master of story telling had placed them there. Bravo Martha I respectfully bow to your skill at storytelling and writing. As for the narrator Mr. Free turns in an adequate performance, but his style seemed to be almost gay, like your best gay friend narrated the book and you say to him "hey robots don't have a lisp" maybe I'm wrong maybe robots do lisp, but whatever this review is to be brutally honest and I don't feel Mr. Free was the correct match for this book. The good news is that after the midway point I became nose blind in my ears and I was fine with Mr Free's performance from that point on. also noteworthy it wasn't R C Bray narrating so this book doesn't get gelled into all of the RC Bray character Colonel Joe's like every other sicfi book lately, thank god.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

All Systems Red does not disappoint.

All Systems Red is the first Murderbot Diary, the adventures of a cyborg security unit who hacked its governor module, named itself “Murderbot” and promptly got addicted to streaming media.

This is its account of its adventures trying to keep a group of human scientists alive on a hostile and unknown world without them figuring out it has free will and leaving itself enough time to watch its soaps. The novella is sharp and witty, with a wry sense of humor and a sharp eye for what makes someone sentient and how freedom doesn’t always mean the same thing to different beings.

Kevin R Free as the narrator does a decent job, but somehow seems to miss the point of Murderbot. Murderbot sounds like a human in its own head, it’s a cyborg, it only pretends to be a robot for the humans. Free has it acting robotic all the time and I thought that made the wry humor a little harder to enjoy. Still it’s a great story with well-rounded characters and I recommend the print and audible versions highly.

58 of 73 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for L
  • L
  • 05-02-18

Yay, Murderbot!

Never did I think I'd be rooting for a character called "Murderbot", but here we are. This is such a fun, interesting book. The whole cast of characters, large for such a short book, was compelling and three-dimensional. I can't wait for the next instalment!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Marsh
  • 05-14-18

Well written & narrated, but short for 1 credit

Nice robot perspective story and it kept me listening, a nice and calm narrator. Will be looking into the next in the series, but at 3 hours long unsure if it justifies one whole credit 😊

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • nicole
  • 01-09-18

Goodreads choice awards nominee sci fi 2017

I started this expecting a fun listen with a silly plot, well it's fun alright but the plot was so much better than I expected. Murderbot has hacked it's controls and finds itself stranded on a remote planet with terrible things happening all around it and now to top it all off, the latest group of humans it has been assigned to guard, actually want to interact with it. People throw big names around like custard pies sticking to a wall when they are trying to explain (or sell) books like this and they often have very little to do with the actual author or story beyond the genre it's in. Since they've really overdone it with this one I will say that in my opinion the story is most like something I would expect from John Scalzi (the less crude stories like The Dispatcher and Old Man's War - note this is not a judgment, I love most of Scalzi's books, this is for comparison only) with a touch of Ann Leckie. I'm not going to tell you much about the actual story beyond this because I don't see any point in spoiling the plot. 5* story, will be listening to again and can't wait for the next.

Narration is harder to mark. My problem is that I love this narrator's work. I listen to a lot of different stuff and he does one of my favorite series the Holmes and Moriarity books by Josh Lanyon (fun and sarcastic murder mystery/romance, between two men, one of whom has been a previously top selling writer of a long running series/sometimes amateur detective and the other of whom is an ex cop/ current incredibly successful author who thinks things should be left with the police. The point being that Kevin R. Free is very good at over the top and funny, while still managing to make the best of a great plot, so I was surprised that his performance here was a little flat in comparison, particularly when voicing Murderbots' thoughts as opposed to voice (perhaps the editor directed him to do it that way). The narrator has a beautiful voice in my opinion and while it's not immediately apparent he can soften his tone enough for a real range of emotion to come through. This also helps with managing to do distinct voices for the main characters without putting on silly characters for the women, which I always appreciate. 3 1/2* but going up to 4 nearer the end. I hope they keep him for subsequent stories where he can really come into his own.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • G. P. Brown
  • 12-21-17

Fantastic!

Martha Wells's fantastic sci-fi novella All Systems Red was one of my favourite finds of all 2017. It was everything an AI sci-fi story should be and then some! It was thought provoking but also entertaining and engaging.

The world building and plot were both good but it was the lead character, Murderbot, who stole the show. Murderbot was a great lead character and was very easy to root for. Its mission was to keep the humans on its team safe but that did not mean this socially anxious security android had to like them or want to spend any more time with them than it absolutely had to.

All in all I loved this novella and will definitely be trying more of Martha Wells books in the future. The only flaw in this whole story was that it was only a novella rather than a full novel. I wanted more of Murderbot and this fascinating world!

Rating: 5 stars.

Keven Free was nothing special but he did do an acceptable job with the audio.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Captain Creosote
  • 06-09-18

Wham Bam thank you Martha!

Although short its a bloody great story, I got it on a two for one deal so it only cost me half a credit.

Its really well narrated and flows well, the characters are well formed for such a short story and the action is at just the right pace, I'll be checking out some of her other stuff for sure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gus Truth
  • 05-11-18

A socially awkward Murderbot is endearing.

Not a great SciFi reader but I enjoyed this a lot. The protagonist made story for me. My only complaint is that it felt short and end sort of lackluster bit that just made me want to read the next installment more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Xdresser
  • 09-30-18

Excellent gripping adventure with a convincing non human hero

A murder bot is acting as a security guard to human explorers on a mystery planet. Unknown to them he has hacked his governor and is capable of independent action. Heavily armed he could have become a mass murderer. Instead he risks his own existence to protect them from destruction. First of a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • "ballbearing"
  • 08-18-18

Fun and short

Was fun and shorter than I usually listen to. I will listen to it again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wras
  • 01-05-18

Do weapons systems dream of the wild west?

A fast-paced shoot up, who done it, with no philosophical ramifications unless you have been living under a rock for the past fifty years.
Fun fast read that will not stay in the long-term memory circuitry.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kjetil
  • 08-21-19

Excellent!

Wow!
This was new and exiting. No first law of robotics here.
Can’t wait to listen to the next one. Hope it has the same performer.

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  • Rick
  • 02-10-19

Good fun, well written, good main character

So I've been on a bit of a binge of sentient AI stories over the last couple of years - the Bobiverse series by Dennis E. Taylor, A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, The Imperial Radch by Anne Leckie, probably others. I wasn't sure I wanted to try another one, but the blurb intrigued me and all the others have been so different I gave it a go. I was glad I did. Not amazing writing, but Martha Wells strength is in her main character and her universe.

There are a few negatives - I dislike when I feel like I'm smarter than the characters and can figure out the mystery (or most of it) ahead of them, but it wasn't too bad this time, I'm trying to avoid spoilers so won't say any more. Most of the supporting characters are very one (or maybe two) dimensional. The strengths are many. There's no unnecessary scenes, the author only gives as much info about her universe as is needed for the story, and I really enjoyed the likeable portrayal of the main character. The action wasn't over the top heroic - all violence had a cost to all involved, and - as I said before - no unnecessary scenes.

I wasn't hooked at first on the narrator, he doesn't do voices well IMHO, but I got used to his voice after a while so no real issues there.

Overall this is a great book if you love the sentient AI genre of sci-fi, and a good book if you're ambivalent. At three hours and 17 min it's a little on the short side, so if you hate it then your suffering won't last long. I'm definitely buying the next one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Doyle
  • 12-13-18

Humans arnt.to be trusted

Hang out with the humans? or stay in the cargo pod?
mmm....easy choice.
I burned through this audiobook, darkly funny, action packed.
If you are somewhere on the spectrum, gay or just seriously distrust people, this book is for you.
I know who I was barracking for.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aussie
  • 04-10-19

brilliant and original

entirely original story, very witty, funny and emotional. loved every minute of it. can't wait until the sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-07-19

Short, simple, and highly entertaining.

Who doesn't want to hear about the adventures of a disenfranchised murder-bot?

Lot's of fun, the story was quite entertaining, and the world building was interesting enough. I'm only slightly disappointed that the murder-bot was more of a cyborg than a straight-up robot.

There's not a lot of depth as far as exploring how AI's might fit into or interact with society, and the story is relatively unrelated to AIs. I would still very much recommend it as a fun little story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave McKenzie
  • 06-10-19

Autistic robot decides he doesn't want to kill

Concept was engaging but execution poor. The murderbot just didn't seem robotic at all, less of a sentient AI and more of an autistic kid that lucked his way into PMC work. The audio volume varied greatly, performance wasn't too bad though. Definitely not worth the usual price - got it on the daily deal and would've been upset to use a credit on it. Good buy for $2 though

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andreas Strauss
  • 07-29-19

Gotta love murderbot

Great shirt book with interesting characters and good development with a nice, tight story. performance was good and you could tell the characters apart without thinking

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Rev
  • 06-14-19

Good story. Time goes very fast.

Story is well written, could be longer and a bit more in depth. Charactors are well developed.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • james
  • 05-25-19

Great but short

Very funny and worth listening to. But its so short needs to be double the size

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-24-19

Short but very sweet

Great character, believable story, tense and gripping. Wished it was longer but enjoyed it regardless.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-24-19

A bit short. But a good listen.

Great sci fi story with good character development. Only disappointment is the story is not long enough. Would of been great to see more world and character building.