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.
This seemed to be a modern day, adult version of Beauty and the Beast. I found the premise interesting in that apparently robots are a fully integrated part of the human race even taking jobs such as gas attendants, police and others that were once the sole property of humans. A perfect set up when you have a man, who has been told by his parents he has a life threatening auto-immune disorder, cannot interact with the outside world for fear of catching even a benign virus that could kill him. Therefore he needs an AI robot to teach him how to interact with humanity as he’s been cut off from them his entire life.
The only thing I didn’t like was it would’ve been nice for there to be some kind of explanation as to how human society became so interdependent and integrated with robots. Maybe I’ve just seen the Terminator movies one too many times but we’re constantly being told the threat AI can impose upon the human race, a threat which is addressed in this book, so I’m curious what precipitating event occurred to make the population decide the threat of AI taking over human society was less than a repeat of the event that started the integration.
I found the ideas unique. The full character development took the entire length of the book so at times I felt frustrated not understanding why the characters were acting the way they did, what motivated them, but I kept with it because her writing style flows very well and makes it an easy to read book. I was glad I did because by the conclusion Rita Stradling had full developed her characters so I understood why they each acted the way they did, who they really were and what kind of people they are. Even her AI was given enough personality and identity so you could end up hating a ‘robot’.
Her dialogue was very conversationalist in that it flowed naturally and felt realistic.
Her sex scenes at first creeped me out because it’s described as a human having sex with a robot and now all kinds of weird boundaries and ethical/moral dilemmas are being crossed. However, the way she wrote them was so steamy my husband woke up a very happy person this morning …. 🙂
I wish there had been more description about what their society looked like and how it functioned but she did a very good job giving you an idea of what the main setting, the tower, looked like and how it would be to live there. The only detail about the tower that I didn’t understand was she stated at one point the food was ‘printed’ which with our current understanding and use of technology printing something does not make it edible so I’m vastly curious how their society managed to create ‘printed’ food, how is it different from normal food, how are humans capable of digesting it, etc.
Overall I felt it was well written and it definitely gives you a lot to think about when it comes to the direction society is moving towards. We may be far off from having AI and robots take over but everyday there are more companies using technology to replace humans in even the most basic of jobs. It just takes baby steps…..
Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book.
Book on Amazon: http://a.co/hWOdzWg
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com