Title // Ensnared
Author // Rita Stradling
Publication Date // December 2017
Genre // New Adult, Science-Fiction
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.
Ensnared is a near-future retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a world where robots and artificial intelligences are becoming common place. Can I just say, I was so excited for a Beauty and the Beast retelling?!
I love books about Artificial Intelligences, because they open up so many questions about ethics and morals and Ensnared was no different. Alainn Murray is the daughter of man who builds robots with human-like artificial intelligence and has been tasked with creating Rose, a robot intended to be sold to the mysterious Lorcann who lives in a tower in the city.
Finding herself caught between a rock and a hard place, Alainn finds herself taking Rose’s place and entering Lorcann’s tower and giving up much of herself in the process. While she’s there she begins to question the morals of the robots her father has created and she starts to unravels the mystery that is her ‘captor.’
I found the beginning of the book to be slow to get into, as the world and the backstory are built up. It’s our world, but not, and adjusting the casual acceptance of artificially intelligent robots took a second to address. Otherwise, Ensnared follows the general story plot of Beauty and the Beast quite well, with a mysterious, reclusive man keeping a young woman trapped in a tower.
I enjoyed that not all was what it seemed, with all of the characters. Alainn was a very intriguing leading female character – at times strong and weak and unapologetic for either. Her frustration at her situation felt real and honest and raw. Lorcann’s mysterious behaviour was intriguing – even more so when the truth is revealed. I enjoyed the complexity of the various artificially intelligent characters, who all had motivations of their own.
I did feel that a lot of the side characters were not as well-fleshed out; Alainn’s friends seemed to appear and disappear as the plot dictated. Her backstory with her friend Cara was, I felt, unnecessary, however it didn’t slow down the narrative (it just felt out of place).
Overall, I enjoyed reading Ensnared. Aside from a slow start, the pacing was good, the storyline intriguing. I love that it made me think, long after I finished reading it, about the moral and ethical dilemma’s that artificial intelligences pose in the long run.
I gave Ensnared 3.5 out of 5 stars. It will be released in December 2017.
I received an eGalley from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are my own.