Author: Rita Stradling
Release date: 18th December 2017
Reading Time: 8-10 Hours
To save her father from prison, Alainn Murphy trades places with humanoid robot Rose, becoming a prisoner of a scarred recluse, in a tower no human is allowed to enter.
I picked up Ensnared because I love a good fairy tale retelling, and this happens to be a retelling of my favourite tale, Beauty and the Beast.
This particular retelling is set in the near future, but to say it’s Beauty and the Beast with robots would not do it justice. Yes, there is a girl, stuck in a tower with a recluse, trying to save her father from prison, and yes, there are robots. But the story told in Ensnared is quite original itself, straying from the classic french tale a little. I didn’t feel like I was re-reading the same ol’ thing with different characters name thrown in. A lot of thought went into this retelling, and the final product turned out to be quite enjoyable.
The story starts off well, despite the pacing being a little off. The first half moves along slowly as the plot peaks rather late, while the final part tumbles forward at break neck speeds. But I rather enjoyed the slow build, as it helped Alainn and Lorccan’s relationship grow at a believable pace, rather than having the insta-love trope that plagues similar stories. It also helped flesh out Alainn, making her a relatable, yet flawed character. While she did make some stupid decisions, I understood why she did, it wasn’t just ‘because, plot.’
The world building was lacking throughout, and I think it’s the only thing that lets the novel down and could use some more work. All we know is that robots exist, but the how and why they work is never really delved into. And then there’s little random things that don’t really make sense. Characters live in a huge ‘computer house’ where all the walls, floors and ceilings are screens, but there’s still a bunch of paper to work through. While we’re focused on the romance, I guess it doesn’t really matter, and it wouldn’t be much of an issue, except things descend into robot shenanigans quickly and randomly at the end, and suddenly, you start to feel the lack of background here.
Overall, Ensnared was a good read, and I really enjoyed it. If you like fairy tales and/or robots this one is for you, and even if you don’t really like robots, I say give it a try anyway.
TL,DR: A Beauty and the Beast retelling with a Sci-Fi twist that feels refreshingly original.
*I received this ARC free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*