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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but with what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, h
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  69 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Synapse was a very good read. I've read all of Steven James fiction books and while this one is different from his previous works, I still found it to be a fascinating read and it held my attention.

The book had suspense and intense action. I found the characters endearing and the whole Artificial aspect was intriguing -- definitely made you think about things and how they could go.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Synapse and recommend it. I can't wait for this author's next release.

Bill Garrison
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read all of Steven James' previous novels, and his Patrick Bowers series was some of the best novels I had ever read in terms of characterization, plotting, and suspense. This new stand-alone novel (a future series maybe) SYNAPSE is entertaining but falls short in many ways.

First of all, the premise is very intriguing. Its 30 years in the future and technology has involved in a way that allows humans to live with robots called artificials. The robots are so advanced that they can be indi
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
He gives you a lot to think about- spiritually, ethically, philosophically and technologically.

Though not the main plot of the book, it started off with Kestrel's baby dying, which, having experienced miscarriage, struck a chord with me. I was not expecting that start to the book and was a little worried about continuing to read. But James does a fantastic job incorporating and talking about such a hard topic. The thoughts and feelings his character has about it were exactly how I felt going thr
Amy Rogers
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing review of SYNAPSE by Steven James:
SYNAPSE combines suspense, spirituality, and science to ask, can machines have a soul? Highly recommended for mystery/thriller readers with an interest in big philosophical questions.

SYNAPSE came to my attention because I have reviewed, and enjoyed, previous thrillers by Steven James that had scientific themes. James stands out among authors I review as a superb storyteller who uses the implications of contemporary science and technology wit
Pamela Small
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, suspense
3.75 rounded down due to MY personal issue/conflict with this type of sci-fi; no reflection on the author.

“If you want detailed and unusual, thought-provoking literature, grab and devour a Steven James thriller.”

The plot:
Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway, a pastor in Cincinnati, must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
“Life is so precious and brief and fleeting, and... experiencing all that it has to offer without despairing at its brevity truly did lie at its heart.”

Wow, what an incredible and powerful sci-fi thriller from Steven James! This is the first book by the author I have read and I am stunned by his creativity, his flawless execution of a detailed and complex plot, and his seamless and emotion-packed writing style that grips you from page one and doesn’t let go. The philosophical, spiritual, and soc
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book would make a thought provoking discussion but unfortunately the book itself is a mess. The writing is all over the place and the plotting and pacing are all over the place. The novel begins with Kestral watching her newborn baby die and having to come to terms with her loss. As a minister she faces a crisis of faith over her loss and the added loss of her faith is too much to bear. Her brother happens to work for the most successful technological company and sends her an artificial. Ke ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, WOW! This book is amazing!! I got absolutely nothing done while I was reading this book. Couldn't put it down! I believe I highlighted 1/4 of the book!

First there was the suspense/drama/action playing out. Purists vs techies. Those who don't want humans to lose their place because AI can do everything faster and better. Vs those who think the next tech development, whatever it is, is progress. (I empathize with the Purists, but think there's room for reasonable tech)

And then the 'sentien
Eric Wilson
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As always, Steven James gives us a story full of suspense, strong characters, and questions of philosophy, spirituality, and ethics. This time, he mixes in a near-future element that raises issues of mortality and what it means to be human.
Carro Herdegen
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kiss-the-book
Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG13
Kestrel and her brother, Trevor, haven’t spoken in a very long time, but the tragic events unfolding lead them to start reaching out again. Jordan is an Artificial—a machine with AI capabilities—who just wants to experience being human. Nick, tracking down the perpetrators of the most recent terrorist attack, isn’t sure if he wants to let himself love another woman after his last wife left him. All thrown together by unpredictable
“Technology is a clock you cannot turn backward.”

“As a race, we’re capable of magnificent good and terrifying evil. We have noble desires that mirror those of the divine, and base ones that only the devil himself would approve of.”

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Heart, soul, and mind. Devotion to God that’s emotional, spiritual, and rational.”

Mind. Blown. Wow. What can I say? First off, I’ll be totally honest...didn’t realize thi
Kristi Drillien
(rating: 3.5 / 5)

Set at a time in the future when robots (or Artificials) have been taught to not only think for themselves, but to have emotions, and even the option of pain, there is still a lot that is unknown about how similar robots are to humans. Do they have souls? Can they believe in and worship God? Kestrel Hathaway doesn't know, and neither does her Artificial, Jordan. Amidst their discussions of these concepts, Kestrel is pulled into a plot to put an end to the advances in AI by peopl
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hear that sound? That's the sound of my mind being blown.

Yeah, Synapse is that good.
Meredith Rankin
When I received the email from NetGalley approving my request to read Synapse, I did a little happy dance in the order line at Subway. (My daughters were mortified.) I have read several of James' thrillers and was excited to have been approved for this one.

To me, this book was a bit different from his Patrick Bowers novels. While Bowers does think and talk about his Christian faith, he's a FBI agent on the bloody trail of various devious killers: he doesn't have much leisure time for debates abo
Jessica Higgins
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Synapse is Steven James at his best! In his first futuristic thriller, he shows readers what an absolutely outstanding writer he truly is and why his books are a must read!

Kestrel Hathaway has just experienced a horrible tragedy when her baby is born without taking a breath. As she leaves the hospital mourning her baby, she witnesses a terrorist attack that sends her world into a tailspin. In a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing faster than ever before, Kestrel has never wante
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Thirty years in the future, the world is filled with Naturals (humans with no enhancements), Plussers (humans with some enhancements such as robotic arms), and Artificials (robots with advanced AI that could almost pass as humans). Kestrel, a Christian minister grieving the death of her baby, has never wanted to own an Artificial, especially as a police model was responsible for murdering her parents due to a false positive. When her brother Trevor gifts her an Artificial called Jorda ...more
Michelle Levigne
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Obtained through Netgalley for review purposes.

RELEASING: October 8.

Master of suspense (and dang good writing conference speaker/teacher) Steven James shows he can thrill and send chills up the spine in the future, too.

There were a lot of reasons to snag this book to read, starting with the fact that I've been in one of his classes, I have a few of his writing books, I've read and made notes on his Writers Digest articles, and my publishing partner fan-girls over him. And yeah, I wanted to see w
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
3.5 Stars

SYNAPSE is an interesting Christian scifi where humans live with artificial intelligence every single day, and where technology continues to advance. Readers will be able to relate to the characters, while also finding the plot to be intriguing. An overall entertaining story.

James writes these edge-of-you-seat thrillers, or at least does with his Patrick Bowers Files. With this story, the thrilling part of the story is definitely still present, as is a slight romance. There is quite a b
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Synapse was a most riveting read that pulled me into a future that was different but in some ways very much the same as today.

Thirty years from now AI's are common. There are "purists" terrorists that are against them and do not want the AI's to take over (like Terminator). So the purists decide to do harm and kill people instead. Basically doing what they believe the AI's will eventually do.

The beginning really smacks the reader with humanity and the fragileness of all of it. Of dreams shatteri
Hallie Szott
Before Synapse, I had only read a couple books by Steven James (The Pawn and The Rook), but those two books gave me high expectations of his latest thriller. Unfortunately, I may have set my expectations too high.

Synapse begins as Kestrel Hathaway gives birth to her daughter—and must begin mourning almost instantly. In the wake of her loss, she encounters a terrorist attack, receives an Artificial, Jordan, as a gift from her brother, and becomes drawn into an investigation enmeshed in the techno
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read a number of James' books, especially the Bowers Files. They were generally action packed.

This book was certainly different. Not only is it 30 years in the future but it is centered mostly on Kestrel and her experiences. There are some good discussions revolving around the issue of a good and powerful God allowing Kestrel's baby to die. There is also a good exploration of artificial intelligence, such as whether a robot could have a soul, believe in God, etc. Part of the plot develop
Carol Keen
The opening was strong but painful. It's just 30 years from now. Pastor Kestrel decided to have a baby, minus the usual methods. Those must not have been working for her, though we don't have the backstory on what happened or why. However, her baby didn't make it. This was a hard thing for me to deal with for an opening. Her brother decides to help her copy by giving her a humanoid robot. More like I-Robot than any other famous one, this one hails to more an of Asimov type robot, but then going ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right off the bat, I am not your typical sci-fi reader. What made me grab this book and dive in? The premise. And great things I’ve heard about the author.

Right from page one, the author hooked me. The writing style was so different from anything I’ve recently read that it kept me engaged. The opening scene was something that hit a bit too close to home being a mother myself, and yet I wanted to know why it happened (no spoilers here!).

It wasn’t so much the plot that kept me going, but more the
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Synapse is the latest book by Steven James and it blew my mind. I absolutely love Steven James' writing and this book is fantastic. This book is very different from other books by Steven James and not in a genre I read very often but so glad I went outside my comfort zone. Synapse is a futuristic story about AI and if they have the ability to be human including in the emotions and beliefs. Steven James gives an interesting view on these things that really makes you think of how possible these i ...more
Megan Forrest
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't quite yet decided if this novel fits my own definition of SciFi better or speculative fiction better, nevertheless, this novel, set only a generation in the future, explores many of the issues we face - and will be facing in the future - regarding technology.

Kestrel is a strong, well-written main character who has faces an incredible tragedy in the opening of the book. Her baby is stillborn. For a preacher surrounded by a society of AI, this causes all sorts of spiritual questions to
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Steven James tells a story of our future, a future that does not involve Jetson-like advancements. Rather than large infrastructure changes, James sees changes in the form of technology having the greatest impact on society. In Synapse, life-like machines, data walls, embedded chips and prosthesis reminiscent of the Six Million Dollar Man are some of what drive society forward, or not,depending on one's point of view. The Purists see technological advancement as a danger to mankind, and work to ...more
Caitlyn Santi
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Synapse is a fabulous read that is chock full of all the things I love about Steven James' storytelling!
I've read all but one of this author's books and really enjoyed them all! As soon as I saw the cover of this book I knew I wanted to read it, before I even knew what it was about, because I knew it would be awesome and it totally and completely was! I don't often read futuristic stories, but this book absolutely fascinated me and I was enthralled with its story world! I really liked main chara
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Synapse" by Steve James is a book that I am truly shocked to say that I liked it. I say this because I really don't like Sci-Fi, at least I didn't before reading this book. I usually have a hard time following but this book was easy to follow and I also like that the main character was a female preacher and I appreciate the fact that she questions her faith after God doesn't answer a prayer the way she wanted Him to.

Ok, My favorite character in this book is an Artificial, a robot. I am not sure
Suzie Waltner
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Synapse, Steven James creates a world of naturals (humans), artificials, and plussers (humans with AI enhancements) thirty years in the future. As readers are plunged into a world ripe with technological advances, political unrest centered around the artificials, and an imminent attack, they will also be challenged to examine their own hearts and faith.

The perspectives of multiple characters give readers a 360 view while keeping them in the dark as to who the mastermind behind the attack is.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Steven James book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. His attention to detail in his well-constructed futuristic story world brings it to life in a vivid way. Since that period is not so far removed from our present day, the two mesh seamlessly together. The dramatic tale, and the struggles of life and faith it addresses, cannot help but draw the reader in and evoke questions regarding artificial intelligence and how far we want it to go and whether nonhumans could have faith ...more
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Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, is set to release on October 8, 2019.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Pu
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