I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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 by Rita Stradling gives a unique take on the Beauty and the Beast story. A re-telling that proves that you can think outside the box, but yet still incorporate a fairy tale essence, without it becoming cliche.
Take everything you might expect to get from this story and throw it out the window. This does not completely adhere to Beauty and the Beast, but was just inspired by it. Still, you do get the Belle character with Alainn, her aloof inventor father, the “beast” (although, I really don’t think he was beast like), and quirky house inhabitants.
Now, the unique part. The futuristic theme with the robots and AI. It almost lends a “this will not end well” feel as I was reading it. I knew Rose the robot was up to no good and Alainn came off as too naive and trusting of a robot that was made in her image. Exchanging places with a robot seemed like a crazy idea. It was creepy to be sure. All this to save her father, who in my opinion was not endearing and kind of deserved the jail time he was threatened with.
Lorccan, our beast, was just a recluse with a horribly scarred face and to be melodramatic: a scarred soul as well. Add in germophobia as well and you’ve got one strange character. But yet, he was probably my favorite one. He commissioned Rose to be his companion to train him to be with humans. Kind of weird, but he’s rich as heck and can do whatever he wants.
Besides the semi unrealistic aspects of Alainn passing as a robot, (her human needs and womanly needs were easily a “problem solved” thing.), there were some funny inner dialogue.
‘Guess what, Lorccan, I’m having your illegitimate robot-human baby, tada!’
and some romance too!
“My heart beats to love you. That’s not going to change, whether you leave tomorrow or stay with me for the rest of our lives.”
So overall, I wouldn’t say this was a hundred percent great. I found some parts dragging, and there wasn’t enough in-depth character development, but it was still entertaining as a whole.
Read this if you like fairy tale re-tellings with a little twist.