Book Review: Ensnared, by Rita Stradling

Ensared, by Rita Stradling

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Published by Kindle Press on May 23, 2017 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, new adult, romance, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 380

Source: Netgalley

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Purchase at Amazon

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.

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Originally the cover of Ensnared caught my eye. Then I discovered it was a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Sold!

As I began reading, the opening paragraph reminded me of Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, comparing Alainn’s “vintage” car to the sleekness of new buildings and technology. And similarly to that book, this one took me a while to get into. Once it picked up, the momentum pulled me through and snowballed into a race of an ending.

In addition to the general Beauty and the Beast story, several topics and themes were introduced here. For instance, questions of what actually makes a human human. If a machine has artificial intelligence, can it learn and grow and ultimately become human? Or what makes a parent good or bad? If they hurt their children (intentionally or not) with motives they believe to be good, are they a good or bad parent?

Ensnared had such potential, and with more focus and fine tuning, this could have been a 5 star book for me. As it was, I was a bit disappointed. The writing was fine; concise and snappy dialogue with moments of dry humor that is right up my alley, but most of the description was entirely too vague. The themes of the story were intriguing, but the book didn’t delve into them as deeply as I would have liked. And the pacing of the story as a whole was too slow in the beginning to too fast at the end, wrapping up in a whirlwind that didn’t quite give me the closure I wanted.

Ultimately, even though it left me wanting, I did enjoy this book. Recommended to lovers of fairy tale retellings looking for a new adult version of Beauty and the Beast.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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