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Non 1001 Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

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Book Worm has been quite busy reading while I’ve been wallowing in self-pity about my recent work schedule and number of projects due. She recently finished this book and is here with her review. Keep reading to see what she thought.

Ensnared by Rita Stradling
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: Ensnared

This ARC was provided by Rita Stradling Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 novel contains adult situations and is only suitable for readers who are 18+]

Book Worm’s Thoughts: When I originally requested this ARC from Netgalley the publication date was December. So I planned my schedule with this to be my Christmas read. While I wasn’t looking, the publication date was bumped up to May.  Now instead of being ahead with my reading, I am way behind –sorry publishers. That said, I would still argue that this time of year is a great time to publish this review because I am sure the new Beauty and the Beast film (and probably the Disney film) is going to be big over the festive period.

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. So without me giving you any spoilers, you’ll already know the ending — the grumpy old Beast will end up in love with, and marrying, the lovely and kind Beauty (tale as old as time as they say). For readers of this book though, it is the process by which these two get their happy ending that is important.

The futuristic setting is great since it allows the author to create a different kind of fairy tale world. Yes, there are elements of modern life (internet, mobile phones etc), but the technology involved is so advanced from where we are today, that it is easy to put aside real life and emerge yourself in Alainn’s world.

I liked all the characters in this story including the AIs. It is interesting to see how each character develops as the story progresses and what events in the past lead them to the place they are when we first meet them. I especially like the motives of Rose 76GF and the way she reasons out her actions, very scary but plausible.

It is good that Alainn is shown to have a life and death job because when she is at home with her father and brother the dynamic is one which places her as the naive woman who is most useful in taking care of the housework. I hope this is a trope used because of the fairy tale nature of the book.

I would have liked to learn more about Lorccan, why he can’t leave the tower and what his mother hoped to achieve by her frankly bizarre treatment of him as a child. There was a quick mention of his family being “mad” in some shape or form but a more in-depth study would have added to the story.

The Goodreads synopsis warns that this if for readers over 18 years old.  I would say that may be a bit high of an age rating, but this is definitely not a book for children. There were a few things that made me uncomfortable when reading and those were the sex scenes — not because they are graphic (they’re not), but that the situation is morally questionable to say the least.  At the end of the book the morality issue is kind of explained away, but the scenes still don’t sit entirely well with me.

So who would like this book? This is a flawed book but if you can get past that I would recommend this to adult fans of beauty and the beast and those with an interest in how technology could develop in the future.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Ensnared

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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