by Rita Stradling
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.
Beauty and the Beast retellings can be found almost anywhere these days with many books recently being either entire retellings or heavily inspired by the classic tale but Ensnared was a bright star in the masses for me as it was described as a “near-future retelling” and the plot is based around a young woman whose father builds robots.
Alainn loves her father but they’re blind to what he’s creating until it’s too late. The robot is modelled in Alainn’s image and it supposed to be an employee that can clean and perform other normal functions in the buyer’s house but this robot has the opportunity to become a sinister and controlling monster…thankfully for them Alainn can take the robot’s place while her father and brother deal with the robot situation at home. I’m not saying this idea makes ANY sense but I was fine to go along with it because it was super easy to read through and I breezed through the book until about 80% into it.
Life in the tower is almost normal except for the fact that it’s only inhabitants besides Mr Garbhan are robots that move inconspicuously around Alainn. At first, she spends all day in her room not doing much at all, going to dinner with Mr Garbhan and then back to her room at night. During dinner, they sit at a long table and he is invisible in the dark corner on his side but they still talk. Although he thinks she’s a robot so their conversations aren’t too wonderful at the start and the only time she gets to eat is at dinner because he thinks it’s for effect and she’ll clean it out afterwards!
One question that has been left with me was about Mr Garbhan’s condition. I understand he knows/believes that his body is too fragile to go into the outside world because of his weak immune system but why does he scream his lungs out in agony every night? Is it just nightmares because of the anger he feels being stuck in his home or is it a result of his condition. I don’t think the book ever really addressed this or if it did it was glossed over quickly so I didn’t take enough notice of it.
Speaking of Mr Garbhan, he said he didn’t want the robot for sexual intentions and I’m sure he wouldn’t have done anything with the robot if it had been sent but he and Alainn were quickly drawn to each other and developed a sexual relationship easily and even after they slept together he STILL didn’t realise she was human. But I suppose the only reason they did fall in love was definitely because they had their common interests and relationship that only two humans can build.
I liked Rosebud the same way you would uncertainly like HAL 9000 because you know, a robot controlling the entire house you’re living doesn’t exactly inspire trust but I enjoyed the interactions Alainn had with the robot. Alainn was a fine main character to read through the story from but I think it was less based on character traits and more of the unfolding plot. If anything I can at least commend her for her bravery in agreeing to go and be someone’s employee/robot without having any idea of what will happen!
Overall, this was such a good book for a quick sci-fi and romance book (but mostly romance) and it only took me about two hours to read it from start to finish. I think there was a glossed over plot here that could have been more detailed and I dropped off a little around 80% when her brother came in with all of the robot drama because it was a big change from the easy going story up to that point. I think the drama could have been brought in earlier but it was still an entertaining read and a fun way to spend the night.
Thank you Pikko’s House and Rita Stradling for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ensnared will be published on the 18th of December, 2017!
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