• Network Effect

  • By: Martha Wells
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (5,179 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Martha Wells' New York Times and USA Today best-selling Murderbot series exploded onto the scene in 2017, and the world has not been the same, since.

Murderbot returns in its highly anticipated, first full-length stand-alone novel, Network Effect.

You know that feeling when you’re at work and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable AI you’ll listen to this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90-plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

©2020 Martha Wells (P)2020 Recorded Books

Featured Article: The Best Black Audiobook Narrators to Listen to Right Now


A skilled performer has the ability to take the written word to new heights, infusing an author’s work with empathy, warmth, and excitement. And representation matters just as much for audio as it does for any visual medium: listeners should feel and hear themselves in art driven by powerful performers and authentic deliveries. We’ve gathered a few of the best Black audiobook narrators in the business and their can't-miss performances.

Editor's Pick

I’ve never related to a robot so hard
I’m somewhat of a latecomer to this series, which was introduced in 2017 with the novella All Systems Red. But recently, while looking for a fun, escapist listen, I finally hit play—and I’m an instant convert. This installment in the series is particularly exciting, because it’s the first full-length novel and stands on its own. So even if you, too, haven’t listened to this series yet, you can dive right in. But really, you owe it to yourself to catch up on the other listens—they’re short, fun, smart, and perfectly performed. Murderbot, brilliantly voiced by Kevin R. Free, is a big #mood right now. They just want to be left alone to watch their stories without humans bothering them—and what’s more relatable than that?

What listeners say about Network Effect

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I Hope You Remain Unmurdered

WOW, What a great ride! I haven't been this engrossed in a story since Red Rising. After listening to it for hours it came to a climax and I said "Man that was a great book", then I looked at my phone and there was still 7 hours left! What a bargain! It had been a long time since I listened to the other Murderbot stories so I wondered if I might have forgotten some important arcs, but that was not the case, this book could be a standalone. There's som fun Col Joe/Skippy type stuff too to make you laugh along the way. I absolutely guarantee this book is worth the credit. click on my name and you will see i give honest reviews good or bad. I did think the narrator did a great (4 star) job, just don't love (5 star) him. To Kevin, for the next novel If you could give ART the voice he deserves, (that I know you're looking for) Then I will gladly give your performance 5 stars. I suggest check how Hard Luck Hank's voice evolved, It is worlds better now than it was in the first couple books.

35 people found this helpful

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Pretty Good, but Downhill from the earlier stories

On the plus side, Murderbot is a great character, and it is good to have ART back.

On the negative side, this is a full-length novel but it felt like there was a lot of filler and I ended up speeding up the reading to 1.2 times the standard.

Also, I might as well get this off my chest. The extra length was achieved in part by having more humans and devoting more attention to humans. For me, this was a negative. In particular, I found the treatment of male and female roles annoying. Virtually all the more dominant roles are filled by women. There are men around but I guess the author's idea is to "reverse" the more standard approach (at least as of 20 years ago) by having men pretty much entirely in support or subsidiary roles. There is not actually much behavioral difference between men and women in the novel except that the women are slightly more masculine and the men are slightly more feminine, And the (mercifully brief) allusions to sex seem to relate mostly if not entirely to same-sex relationships. I am not sure if the idea its to provide a :fresh or different perspective, or if it is just relentless political correctness. For me, it weakens the realism of the story.

27 people found this helpful

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I did not think it could better but it did.

I enjoyed the first 3 books in the series but this one knocks it out of the park. The story is exactly what I want from this series and again Kevin R Free knocks the narration out of the park (I would give him 6 stars). I hope there are more books because Martha Wells has created a rich world with engaging characters that I could read forever. I totally lost track of time while enjoying this novel and was surprised when I finished around 1AM. I just could not put it down. Oh well time for my 2nd, 3rd and 4th listens. If you are a murderbot fan I know you will enjoy this book.

19 people found this helpful

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More Murderbot!

If you like the Murderbot novellas, you'll probably like the Murderbot novel. I like them all, and I was delighted and not disappointed by the novel. There's more Murderbot, more snarky comments, more humans to be irritated with, but to save anyway. And ART is back. There's lots of action, and lots of stuff going on.

I loved it.

And Kevin R. Free does an absolutely fabulous job of narrating these books.

16 people found this helpful

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Not for me

As a huge sci-fi fan, the description of this book sounded really incredible to me and I was excited to listen to it. However for some reason I can't get into it!
Despite it's really high ratings, I found it very dull, poorly written, and hugely uninspired. I tried really hard for hours to give this book a chance but I can't do it anymore... I'm sure plenty of people enjoy it but it's just not for me. Really wish audible had a decent return policy.

15 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, full-length novel featuring Murderbot, my favorite SecUnit. Recommend to science fiction readers.


I’ve read and enjoyed Martha Wells’ Murderbot novellas on Kindle, and I’m now making time to listen to the stories via Audible. As a Murderbot fan, I’ve always wanted to read a full-length novel, with hopes for a more complex, action-packed storyline to stretch Murderbot’s character and that of his humans/clients. I especially loved this book’s dry humor, sarcasm and pure snark.

Although I ordered both the Kindle and Audible versions of “Network Effect,” I spent most of yesterday listening to the Audible Version. Narrator Kevin R. Free’s stellar voice-acting brought this book to life. Bravo, Mr. Free! I will be listening to “Rogue Protocol” and “Exit Strategy”—both narrated by Kevin R. Free—during the coming weekend.

13 people found this helpful

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Great follow up

The only downside to this episode was that it came to an end.

I can’t wait until the next book.

Narrator was perfect and story engaging.

11 people found this helpful

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Longer but not better

I really enjoyed all of the earlier Murderbot novels, and each time I finished I wished that the story would continue. Network Effect is much longer, but the author achieves this by padding the basic story with excruciating mind numbing detail. The earlier novels were very tightly written and well paced. If you really like detail you will enjoy this novel. I could barely wait for it to be finished.

8 people found this helpful

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The best Murderbot yet!

I’ve been a SF fan a looong time, and I’ve read everything from Heinlein’s YAs back in the 1970s to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vor series, which I also adore.

I can’t think of the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed a romp. Would make a terrific HBO series.

Free’s narration was, as always, terrific, and the pace never let up. I’ve listened to the rest of the series several times, and I can tell I’ll be re-listening to this one too.

Just one heck of a fabulous book! Well worth the money.

Brava, Ms Wells. You really should get a Nebula or Hugo for this one. I know you have at least one of them now, but it needs a 2.0.

Eagerly awaiting Murderbot’s next adventure.

8 people found this helpful

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Didn’t expect it to be this good.

I loved the shorter murderbot stories, and didn’t really expect a full length story to be able to follow up with a similar level of quality and consistency. It did. With respect to the reader, Kevin R. Free is still perfect for 90% of the book. However, Mr. Free’s ‘adolescent female’ may need some work.

6 people found this helpful

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  • paul sparks
  • 08-21-20

Overlong

Not a thing I thought I would ever say as I complained the previous books were too short, the story is very good but feels padded out, I would really like to see murderbot have to deal with a non corporate problem, let’s have aliens!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-20

I'm angry it is over

Blew through the entire series in a weekend , it has been years since a character has made me so invested , while some complain about the series layout and pricing I fell so completely in love with the series that it was worth every penny

1 person found this helpful

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  • rokas
  • 06-21-22

average sci-fi

Neither good or bad sci-fi. No new, exciting or particularly well developed sci-fi ideas. It could be better if not most of the story presented as internal monologue. Ok, average sci-fi. Finished the book mostly because of investment inertia.

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  • thomas
  • 06-14-22

A good hard sci-fi story

its great to have a full length book from this universe. But it is heavy on the technical jargon at times, even for this series.

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  • Luis Javier Benito Lopez
  • 04-13-22

Story and narrator 5/5.

At the very begining I though both the story and the narration where basic / shallow. To be honest the double nebula/Hugo award "reputation" helped me go on listening.
But then, very fast, the story takes amplitude, grips you, and the narrator rises to the occasion and does one of the best narration jobs I have experienced. 5/5

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  • D. J. Dubery
  • 04-11-22

Excellent story

Really fun and exciting story with plenty of originality. Well written with an engaging protagonist. Really good reading too with a thoroughly appropriate tone.

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  • Irfan R.
  • 04-03-22

fantastic, loved every second

a really great storyline, the first person perspective was done so well. I have been glued to this entire series

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  • Chris
  • 03-24-22

Great series

I love this series!!! Murder bot is the best! Martha weeks has found created a wonderful character through which to view the absurdity of humans! Why do they constantly try to kill themselves?!?! I really hope someone picks this up as a TV series it would be brilliant.

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  • michael jones
  • 11-13-21

Murderbot rocks

Great story and narrator. As an individual who has been reading science fiction for over fifty years may I say this is an original classic well done

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  • Peter Coppinger
  • 11-09-21

Disappointing

I was really enjoying the series up to this. Felt like a different author. Lacklustre and I couldn’t wait for it to end. The other books were so much more enjoyable.

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  • Aussie
  • 05-09-20

Another winner

I loved the first books in the series. This is even better. With all the great aspects of the first books even more refined and enthralling. looking forward to the next book !

4 people found this helpful

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  • matt green
  • 06-10-20

Best one yet by far

Interested to see where the next one goes. Very different to the last but in a good way

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kristine
  • 05-17-20

So much fun.

The characters are engaging and humorous. The narrator is perfect for the Sec unit and easily changes and identifies all the other characters. I couldn't put this book down. The end holds the promise of more adventures. I can't wait for the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-13-22

My Third Listening

This whole series is joyous. Spectacularly written, and absolutely hilarious, only improved by the narrator.

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  • jwfxpr
  • 11-13-21

Reading Order!

Summary: Go listen to Fugitive Telemetry first, then come back.

Firstly, excellent book of course, excellently performed. I cannot imagine any other Murderbot than Kevin R. Free's Murderbot.

No spoilers here.

Though this was published before book 6, the events of both stories make MUCH more sense if you read/listen to book 6, Fugitive Telemetry, before this one. It's not the end of the world to read them in publication order, but you'll be pretty confused by what's going on in book 6 if you don't realise that its events come before Network Effect.

Love this series, love this book.

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  • Marthe
  • 10-20-21

So the ending got interesting

but I have to deduct points for the middle being so slow, boring and repetitive. This book should have been 30% shorter :)

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  • Aaron Compton
  • 09-20-21

Murderbot fan

so relatable. apart from the terrifying killing machine part. also, very funny at times. when's the Netflix series

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  • Melanie McMinn
  • 08-01-21

Murderbot rocks

Murderbot's first novel length outing is not too be missed. Funny, thought-provoking and oh, so relatable. Fabulous narrator too. What are you waiting for?

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-21

another fantastic murderbot installment

Need another hit of Murderbot? This is for you. Kevin R Free again does a great job of expressing the personality of Murderbot, his choice of accent for the younger female characters is grating and strange, but if you can overlook that, the rest of the performances hit the mark.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-21

ok

worth listening. a bit confusing at parts to follow the plot. not as good as earlier 'episodes'.