Monday, February 13, 2017

Review of Ensnared by Rita Stradling

I love the idea of this book far more than the execution. While it was well written and had an interesting premise, it lacked in several other areas to much to overlook. The basic story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beauty with a futuristic, sort of I-robot, vibe to it. I enjoyed the main story points and the romance. The romance in this version is better than most retelling because Lorccan, the “beast”, isn’t actually the captor. This make the relationship more consensual and less creepy. I also like Alainn for the most part however I found that I missed the book loving aspect of Belle though. That is such an integral part of that character in every retelling I have ever read that to leave it out felt wrong somehow.

The problems that I found with the book were issues of pacing, a lack of world building and extraneous characters. The relationship between Lorccan and Alainn was slow and then very suddenly sped up. It felt unnatural between them. They were so hesitant before that the quick build up felt off.

The world in which this story takes place is barely explained at all. It seems to be just the same as the world we live in today. Except there are AI robots that apparently can pass for human in nearly every aspect. In addition Alainn’s dad and brother apparently make these robots in their garage. What kind of world is it where a man can just make a robot with Artificial intelligence in his garage? There really should have been a significant amount of time spent explaining the world and a brief history of how the robots developed would also have been nice.

There were several side stories that could have been entirely left out. The story of Alainn’s job and Greg felt like it was just tossed into the book. It jarred me out of the story and I found it boring so I barely read that section. In addition the story of Alainn’s friend Cara wasn’t necessary either. While it seemed to be used to give reason’s for Alainn’s behavior I felt like it wasn’t needed and she would have behaved the same way without that backstory.

There was a little talk towards the end about ethics and the humanity of the robots but it wasn’t fleshed out much. There is something there that could have brought a lot more depth to the story but was glossed over and too simply and neatly resolved.

This book is an enjoyable enough read and might be right for some people but it wasn’t the story for me. 

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