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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

You’re going to hate me for this review – the book isn’t available until DECEMBER, but I read an ARC on NetGalley and really really liked it, so just had to tell you about it… I’m sorry you have to wait so long, but believe me, it’ll be worth it!!

“People always have such a hard time believing that robots could do bad things.”

She pulled back to whisper, “Because they’re machines, like toasters. I work on them for a living. They can malfunction, but they’re not going to hatch up some elaborate extortion plot, that’s what humans do.”

“…You think they’re toasters, and maybe they are. But my father gave those tools the ability to form their own personalities and think for themselves. If you give a toaster a choice, it might choose to be a torture device. People just assume that we can control robots and they’re safe, but they’re not even safe when we can control them.”

What a marvelous, dark and clever addition to the fairy tale-retelling genre – and to female-protagonist sci-fi… I am a fan of both, although have found both becoming rather overplayed lately, with a concomitant decline in the quality of the stories being put out. Still, I remain (perhaps foolishly) optimistic, since I find that both types of stories, when done well, are really fun and enjoyable for me. This one renewed my faith – and my optimism.

I love the concept of multiple iterations of the Rose AI. In an ever-increasingly digitized world, I seem to be one of only a few holdouts on the “hooray that everything is linked and connected and operates via computer without my doing anything!!” bandwagon… I guess I’m either old enough – or Luddite enough, teehee – to still worry about what will happen if/when the computers take over. Chalk it up to HAL or Robert Heinlein or even the first Transformers or Matrix movies, but I don’t trust that the computers will be satisfied with being happy helpers once they’re fully independent enough to actually run things… This book took that (I think healthy) fear and played it out on a very clever and engaging level, and the track with the Beauty and the Beast mythology provided a great platform for doing so.

The writing style is easy and enjoyable. The characters are delightfully complex and fully human – even when they’re not. And the setting/future world imagined here was altogether plausible (and, accordingly to me, scary). This is a very fun book, and definitely worth the read.

As I said, it won’t be released until December. If you need more information OR another Rita Stradling book to tide you over, check out her GoodReads page or website

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