Book Reviews

Ensnared – Rita Stradling


I received this book on Netgalley for an honest review.


Over the next few weeks you are going to see quite a few reviews from re-workings of classic fairy tales specifically, Beauty and the Beast.

This retelling focuses on Alainn, a woman who takes the place of her father’s robot to spare him a jail sentence. Little does she know that Rose, the robot she is replacing, is playing a much larger game and that Alainn is a pawn.

This book had so much potential but for me it failed to live up to my expectations; a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Count me in! But, this book failed to deliver on one key aspect for me. Character development. It is repeatedly said throughout the novel that Alainn possesses none of the intelligence that her brother of father do, that she is very much an active person. Which is fine but, apart from that she didn’t have too much going for her. She only seemed to be fulfilled once she began a relationship with the “Beast” which wasn’t much of a hook for me. The Beast seemed like such an interesting character but I didn’t feel connected to him, he was just the looming figure which Alainn fell in love with. Their relationship didn’t work for me- they didn’t have enough in common apart from being trapped in the tower. We didn’t get to see them falling in love with one another. We were told it as it was happening.

Another area I would have loved it if Stradling had focused on was, what makes a person human and the different relationship between human and machines. Instead we have a story about a man who falls in love with a “robot” and a woman who is only valued when she is with a man.  This book isn’t due for release until December 2017 so I hope that changes will be made. It seems that Stradling has put too much focus into the romance of the novel and not enough into the human side.

Bear with me on this as I know the book is about a human playing a robot.

No questions on the ethics were raised. Primarily about how artificial intelligence is slowly creeping on us as a society to the point that on this blog you will set adverts based on what you have been browsing. Our relationship with technology is developing all the time and with the breakthrough of the Rose robot within the novel questions could have been raised about artificial intelligence and our relationship with it, about how we as a race are reacting to it. Instead we see a man fall in love with a “robot” and I would have loved to have known what was going through his mind when we found out and the implications on his mental state. Would they have been affected? Is it that easy to fall in love with a robot? Can a robot really pass as a human being?

This book does have its merits and could delve into some really interesting topics; it just feels like it needs more work before final publication.


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