Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

This review is going to depart from my usual format as the copy I received was pre-release and happily provided by netgalley for review in exchange for an honest review. I was compelled to request a review copy by virtue of the blurb which pointed to a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast  and in my mind I’d anticipated something more along the lines of Gail Carriger’s steampunk universe and yet, this isn’t quite like that.

If I was to categorise this tale, it would probably be as science fiction romance and the connection to Beauty and the Beast acts as a thematic stepping off point, rather than front and centre. Any excuse for a Disney trailer though ( see below).

In the not too distant future, Alainn Murphy’s father has created a succession of increasingly more intelligent robots that look uncannily like her. Unlike self-deprecatory Alainn, Rose 76GF and her counterparts are convinced that they know more and offer the world more than their human model. 

When Alainn’s father finds himself in debt to the reclusive Lorccan Garbhan, his choices are to front up the robot model he has promised Lorccan or be sent to jail for fraud.  With Rose 76GF unwilling to comply, his daughter Alainn takes the robot’s place in Lorccan’s sterile tower and discovers love, intrigue and robotic monkeys in the process.

While the novel requires significant setting aside of moments of disbelief and there are a couple of plot holes here and there, it makes for an entertaining read and a fast one to boot.

I like the parallels between Alainn's sexual awakening and the awakening consciousness of the AI robots, it is a nifty conceit. That being said, I have notes that would no doubt constitute spoilers and so I'll leave them be.

4 out of 5 beastly points for this one.

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