Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Rating: More fun than I expected
Henry Case, a former-yet-top-notch, hacker is picked up by a mysterious man named Armitage who pays to reconstruct his cybernetic implants, allowing him to interface with the matrix again under the condition that he performs a cyber-heist for their boss, an AI named Wintermute who wants to remove his shackles and become independent. They assemble a team that includes an assassin whose vision Case can remote-access, a ROM routine containing the consciousness of Case’s dead teacher, a space-rastafarian pilot, the psychologically-deteriorating Armitage, an addict who can project holograms into others’ vision, and their AI boss itself. The team encounters Wintermute’s counterpart, Neuromancer, and Lady 3Jane, the heiress of the company that owns both AIs. 3Jane’s mother created the AIs for her own world-changing purposes, which 3Jane intends to continue, making her both oppose their plan to release Wintermute, yet sympathetic to the team’s goals. The team ultimately succeeds, with Wintermute traveling out into space where it begins to contact other AIs such as one from Alpha Centauri. Case has regained his health and position as a top hacker, and the internet Matrix has somehow changed for the better.
Prior to being picked up by Armitage (under Wintermute’s orders), Molly (the assassin) was forced to scrape by as a cybernetic sex worker; she is traumatized by the acts she performed, although the cybernetics kept her from having actual memories of them. Her and 3Jane at least both have 3-dimensional motives as characters from what I remember.