Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

324727404 stars

Synopsis: 

A Near-Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.


goodreads
Publication date: 18th December 2017

Awwww, this book is just sweet.

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings anyway but this one was set in a near future with AI robot, so it was always going to be an interesting take.
It’s funny that this time I was actually less drawn in by the romantic aspect than by the world that the author has created – the AI robots are fascinating and it’s like being more fascinated by the wardrobe in the Disney version than Belle.

The romance itself was pretty mediocre, their conversations weren’t the most interesting and the sex wasn’t anything to write home about but I find it hard to care about that when there are robot monkeys in the story.

I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that the hero has (or possibly only believes he has) a comprimised immune system and lives in a hermetically sealed tower, hence why he wants a robot to share it with rather than a bacterially infested human. As you know, Alainn goes in place of Rose… I’m a little frustrated that it was never really discussed why he didn’t get sick in her presence, even if she was decontaminated at the front door.

The writing style flowed beautifully and Alainn was a really likable main character. She’s a tough and intelligent young woman who recognises her own hero complex and limitations, she’s able to be incredibly compassionate without being pathetically sappy all of the time.

This book had a really interesting take on anxiety and various neuroses – for example, one character with severe anxiety manages to push through everything her brain is screaming at her just to help her friend, which is the most herculean effort to read about. Another great ‘human’ part of this book was that Alainn’s platonic straight male best friend was just that; no unrequited feelings, no misunederstandings leading to jealousy…. just a loving friendship. It wasn’t overstated but it was mentioned enough to see that it was a point that the author wanted to make.

This book is categorised as a ‘new adult’ which I think I understand more as a concept after reading this book – it has sex in it, unlike YA titles, but lacks some of the emotional depth you’d find in older fiction. I would like to have read more about Lorcann’s past and his parents, as well as Alainn’s childhood before the death of her mother and best friend. It sounds terrible when I put it like that (I want to read more about abuse, heartbreak and death!) but that depth to the characters lets me understand their relationship with each other better.

My only complaint about this book was that it ended very abruptly – all the loose ends had been tied up and usually there’s an extra couple of pages for the happily ever after but this time it was the equivalent of only one page and I was caught unawares – like you’ve just finished the last bite of a delicious meal and didn’t realise in time to savour it.

I highly recommend this book for readers who like their romance books a little different, this story wasn’t exclusively about the two main characters getting together and raised a lot of interesting points about AI and morality.

Image result for evil AI gif

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