Tag Team Review: To Terminator With Love by Wes Kennedy

Dexter Wu’s life is hectic, but he's managing—mostly. He’s on the verge of finishing grad school, and that means putting the final touches on his number one project: HAL, a social robot and children's storytelling companion. But his best friend is leaving the country for good, his birthday’s coming up, he’s swamped with studying for finals, and he hasn’t slept in days.

He's also going to destroy the world.

At least, his robot is, according to the possibly untrustworthy Agency, an organization whose mission is to protect the world at all costs. After his birthday party turns into a fight for his life, Dexter's simple life of fast food and Netflix binges is replaced by a glitchy oracle, the world's douchiest secret agents, and an ever-increasing chain of conspiracies.

With the help of Andre, a mysterious and disenchanted young agent turned rogue, Dexter sets out to plead his case to the Director in an effort to get his life back to what counts as normal—but he should know by now nothing is ever so easy.

We agreed on the rating and, coincidentally, used the same quote! #UnicornBrainShare

Fantasy Living

If Austin Powers was a geeky science nerd in university, this would be his story.

I’m casting this because... I feel like it?

Dexter is a crazy stupid genius who’s building a child’s reading companion robot for his post-grad thesis, but hasn’t figured out how to make it talk…

He named the robot HAL - You know - the crazy supercomputer from Space Odyssey?! But cuter.. And not crazy, maybe.

He is attacked and almost killed in his lab by some super-spies as they are trying to steal his creation, but is saved by this guy...Andre…

And finds out HAL is going to destroy the world in the future…

"I’m pretty sure you just tried to sell me a bad Terminator meets Minority Report fanfic here"

But Andre assures Dexter that no one was supposed to kill him, that there must be some mistake, and they need to get to headquarters to sort it all out with the Director.

This story was a lot of fun. I thought Dexter was adorable and funny. Andre was a great balance of serious and sarcastic to balance Dexter’s personality. While on the run they have some surprisingly hilarious dialogue (well not really surprising, but...okay, it was surprising)

"But you’re not exactly being inconspicuous walking the street twitching like a crackhead and stroking a robot like it’s your precious."

"How could HAL even be dangerous? Dangerous enough to warrant all of this, even."

"You named it after an infamous AI that went haywire and tried to kill people," Andre whispered back accusingly.

Dexter threw his hands up in exasperation. "It was supposed to be ironic!"

"I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word."

"No one does!"

They hide at Andre’s grandma’s house, where they get to know each other more… within the limits Dexter sets.

"But, I’m a really awesome kisser - at least that is what my girlfriend in 7th grade told me one time - and if you’re into dudes who can build sweet pillow forts, boy, do I have a treat for you -"

The writing for this story was pretty solid. Only a few mistakes that jumped out at me. Generally, well written, and plenty of excitement to keep the plot moving.

I had to suspend disbelief for pretty much the entire story, because this read like a spy kid movie only for college kids… but you know, it was funny, and witty, and had plenty of movie references to help it along.

There was some stuff that made no sense, but I chalked it up to Austin Powers again, because that movie didn't make much sense and it was a blockbuster hit; not everything has to make sense all of the time.

The world building, while bizarre, was pretty tight. So was the plot. Consistent and crazy. There were some twists and turns, and sometimes I was just left feeling dizzy. But I have absolutely no regrets about picking up this book. None!

I’d recommend this for young adult readers in the 14-17 age range as well as lovers of blanket forts (points at self), and books that reference popular sci-fi thrillers frequently.


What a fun romp!

To Terminator With Love is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s a silly, fun farce with a lovable main character.

Dexter Wu is an electrical engineer at MIT, junk food aficionado and brainiac. He’s witty and sarcastic and completely enamored with his robot, HAL.

If you’re a movie buff, this will be a winner for you.

HAL, according to a clandestine organization known simply as the Agency, will take after his namesake and destroy the world!

To save the world from Armageddon agents are dispatched to robonap HAL. The one thing standing in their way is Dexter Wu who is not letting the precious go without a fight, or at least a couple of pithy epigrams. Thankfully, Agent Andre Jackson decides to go rogue and save the nerd.

*cue caper theme music*

You will need to suspend disbelief a bit for this one. There was a point in the middle somewhere where I seriously toyed with the notion that this was an elaborate hoax orchestrated by some benevolent guardian with the sole objective of bringing the reclusive and socially awkward Dexter and Andre together. It was so outlandish that I just could not fathom any organization operating thusly.

Not only was I incorrect it got even more OTT! There are tons of hijinks and pop culture references in this tribute to sci-fi movies of yore.

Dexter and Andre have a palpable chemistry that’s adorable. During their kooky adventure solid beginnings of a relationship start to form.

Kennedy shines with the banter between Dexter and Andre.

”You named it after an infamous AI that went haywire and tried to kill people,” Andre whispered back accusingly.

Dexter threw his hands up in exasperation. “It was supposed to be ironic!”

“I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word.”

“No one does!”

Oh ho ho ho!

Oh wait, no. You’re right. No one does.

I also liked that both Dexter and Andre are nerdy dudes who have sweaty palms, love a pillow fort, have a totally rational fear of clowns and appreciate a good steak finger.

Overall, a nice entre into the world of published fiction by another fanfic writer crossing over. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Recommend to sci-fi movie fans who enjoy a far-fetched adventure with a character that can drop a Twin Peaks reference with a (mostly) straight face.

Review copies were provided by the author & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

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