I am a huge fan of old fashioned science fiction, but I have trouble finding newer books that use those classic formulas so this was a bit of a treat.
Chloe is a young woman who lives in a world filled with androids. These androids are called Assist and their entire purpose is to please their human owners. When Chloe gets a job in the city as a substitute teacher, her parents will only allow her to move under the condition that she take an Assist with her for protection.
When the story begins, Chloe has already been living with her Assist, Rogan, for a while, and she has become very attached to him. Not only does she depend on him for protection, but she also uses him for companionship.
Things are complicated when Chloe meets a cute fellow music lover and teacher named Niven. Niven is fun, they have a lot in common, and most importantly he is human. But no matter how great Niven is, Chloe can’t shake the connection she feels with Rogan.
I am going to preface this section by saying I didn’t really like any of the characters in this book. While they were all interesting, none of them were all that likable, but I still enjoyed reading about them. They were complicated and messy, and sometimes that is enough to hold my interest.
Niven was very well written. I think he kind of got a bum rap in this book because he had some hateful feelings towards Assist. Prejudice was a major theme in story. And because he hated Assist, Niven was treated like a bigot by some. I however don’t know how I feel about that. Even the people who claimed to view Assist as humans still treated them like property. Niven just didn’t like the fact that Assist were basically perfect human beings who could take everything from him.
It’s one thing to be born different and treated cruelly for that fact, but Assist were built and programmed not born. Niven was faced with the very real reality of his girlfriend having sexual and romantic feelings for a robot who had been programmed to fulfill her every wish. That is not an easy thing to compete with, and I just don’t think the dude was out of line for wanting her to get rid of Rogan.
Chloe was a very confusing character who came across as unreasonable when it came to both Rogan and Niven. On one hand she got angry with Niven when he kept secrets from her, but she kept her sexual relationship with Rogan from Niven for a very long time and even lied to him about it. She also wasn’t fair to Rogan because it was obvious that her relationship with Niven was hurting Rogan and she ignored his pain.
One minute she would yell at Niven for treating Rogan like a thing instead of a person, and then the next minute she would tell herself that Rogan couldn’t possibly be hurt by her because he was just a machine. She just never made much sense to me.
Rogan was a very interesting character. I always enjoy reading about machines becoming self aware, and this time was no different. However, since most of his personality was defined by his feelings for Chloe, I will discuss him more in the next part of the review.
This book was much more mature that any other I have read by this author, and there’s no doubt that this book is intended for adults. Chloe and Rogan have a sexual relationship and the author makes it clear how much Chloe enjoys it. But the author makes that clear without any explicit details. Sex is used to drive the plot as opposed to becoming the plot.
At first, their physical relationship is more clinical than romantic. The romance involved the things Rogan would say to her more than the things they did behind closed doors.
I have to admit, I was very interested in who Chloe was going to end up with, but I had absolutely no dog in the fight. Niven had some great moments, but he was human and therefore imperfect. And Rogan was perfect in every way, but he had also been programmed that way.
So basically she could have a perfect man who had no choice but to love her, or a flawed man who loved her because he wanted to not because he had to.
Major spoiler. Do not click unless you want to ruin the book. I just need to get this off my chest.View Spoiler »
It’s pretty clear throughout the book that Chloe is going to pick Rogan. In fact, it’s not really a love triangle. It’s more about her learning to be with who she loves and not give a crap what other people think. I however, think this is a bit of a cop out. I mean, Rogan can’t even feel her touch. His entire life is about making her happy, and even when he kissed her he did it because he knows she enjoys it not because he desires her. I don’t know about you, but that took some of the romance out of it for me.
I know making Chloe happy made Rogan happy, but that just wasn’t enough for me. Still, Niven was a bit of a jerk so Rogan was a fine choice. « Hide Spoiler
As you can see, I had a lot of thoughts on this book. So even though I didn’t love the characters or the romance, I enjoyed the process of reading it. This book was messy and complicated, and sometimes that’s more fun to read.
If you are in the mood for something different, and enjoy Sci-fi, I highly recommend you give this a read.
Because of sexual content and language, I would recommend this book for ages 17 and up. There were no detailed sex scenes.