Cora should remember every detail about the night her stepsister, Hannah, fell down a flight of stairs to her death, especially since her Cerepin—a sophisticated brain-computer interface—may have recorded each horrifying moment. But when she awakens after that night, her memories gone, Cora is left with only questions—and dread of what the answers might mean.
When a downward spiral of self-destruction forces Cora to work with an AI counselor, she finds an unexpected ally, even as others around her grow increasingly convinced that Hannah’s death was no accident. As Cora’s dark past swirls chaotically with the versions of Hannah’s life and death that her family and friends want to believe, Cora discovers the disturbing depths of what some people may do—including herself.
With her very sanity in question, Cora is forced to face her greatest fear. She will live or die by what she discovers.
Imagine living in an age where your every movement is recorded, where artificial intelligence can be used to help or hinder, where humanity seems to be drifting into some kind of great abyss because a sophisticated computer interface holds all truths.
Cora awoke to a blank in her memory and those missing moments happened the night her stepsister died. Was Cora responsible as many thought? Was she the awful daughter/stepdaughter that her parents believed? Was she the troubled one or was she the silent victim of something dark and brutally cruel? Who would believe her, anyway? Hannah was always the perfect one, the caring one, or so it seemed…Now, an AI counselor would attempt to uncover what lay hidden in Cora’s mind and on her computer interface, but who is he working for and what is he really supposed to reveal?
UNCANNY by Sarah Fine is a gritty, terrifying and emotionally dark tale of a cold society that has stopped feeling compassion, or empathy or even being truly supportive because computers will tell all, absolving even a parent from real responsibility. Cora has been a victim of cleverly hidden bullying and her stepsister’s death was merely one more nail in the coffin of her self-esteem and self-doubt. As the mystery unfolds, Cora has little support and even the “help” she needs comes from a machine. As repulsive as it is compelling, this tale of a future world is as raw as it is telling, a flawed child is in crisis and the lines of right and wrong are smeared with 1’s and 0’s. A read that defies being ignored or forgotten.
I received an ARC edition from Skyscape in exchange for my honest review.
"We'll make our own normal, one that fits just right. Was that too therapisty?" "It was actually kind of beautiful."
There's no denying that I love this author's writing. I have always loved how she weaves such dark, real, raw, elements into her fantasy (and now scifi) works. UNCANNY is pretty close to contemporary, probably as close as we'll ever get from her, except for the fact that it's set in the future and there are many scientific advancements and elements at play in society.
"Sometimes I think I'm going crazy." "Sometimes, I think surviving looks crazy. But it never is, okay? Surviving is the best way to tell the people who have hurt you that they can go to hell."
One of those advancements being cannies, robots/tech with AI who perform a variety of roles from driving, cooking, cleaning, to being an actual presence in one's house and monitoring the safety, security, location, and health of its inhabitants. I absolutely loved this element, the complexity of it, and yet how seamlessly it had been woven into the world and the lives of the characters.
"I've been wondering -- do you breathe?" "I have a heat-diffusion system that is vented through my nose." "So.. no? You just blow hot air?"
As for those characters, well, in that regard this was a tough book to love. UNCANNY opens up with Cora trying to kill herself. Her stepsister has just died, in what seems to be an accident, and despite being the only witness, she has no memory of what happened and all the recording devices -- both the house and their Cerepins, basically implanted computers in their temples -- were shut off. At least.. so they believe. Cora is torn between her memories of a kind sister who only wanted to accept her in her life and the occasional glimpses of behaviour that showed otherwise.
"You're upset." "Wow, Rafiq, you're a real pro." "When we discuss your sister, your heart rate rises dramatically." "Now you're getting creepy."
What makes Cora's unreliable and confused memories harder is the presence of a second POV (in a way) as shown as video data being reviewed. Data that was recorded by Hannah and that shows her to be something other than what everyone believes her to be. But it also seems to support the evidence that Cora was unbalanced, traumatized by her childhood, and jealous of her new sister. So, who is to be believed? What's the truth?
Grief is an animal inside me, settled in its cave.
I don't want to say more than that because this is a story that deserves to be taken apart piece by piece as each moment is revealed. There's a lot on the go in this story. Fine had me on the edge of my seat for this ride. It was tough to read, excruciating to see the manipulations and sabotage being done, and yet incredibly compelling. We're seeing more and more of these unreliable narrators, these grey characters, and while I love the change up it does actually make for a rather stressful experience. And UNCANNY was no different.
All I know is there is something big and dark inside me, and I don't know how to get rid of it. This will never get better, no matter how perfect my robot therapist is.
In addition to the real-talk around self-harm and neglect as abuse, bullying, and survivor's guilt and trauma, I loved the dialogue about AI rights, wants and desires, free will; it was so deftly woven into the story and made a big impact at the end of it all. And that ending.. wow. That being said, the problem is that while it fit the suspense element to have two characters we couldn't be sure about -- who was lying, who was hurting, who should be believed -- ultimately it makes it hard to like either of them.. and therefore hard to love the book. Because it seems like only one character in UNCANNY is exactly as they seem. Well, maybe two.
So while I didn't love it, I did like it, because not knowing who to trust makes for a tense, fast-paced, page-turning experience.
3.5 "lying is well within my operating parameters" stars
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Wowsa! This was a well written psychological thriller-type story. I'm used to Sarah Fine including heavy issues, like abuse, in her stories. This one was heavier than her other books, without the lighthearted humor. Examines deep stuff, like what it means to be human.
Cora is missing hours of memories. She and her stepsister, Hannah, had been drinking. Around 5am, she turns the home AI system back on and authorities are notified. Hannah's broken body lies in a pool of blood at the bottom of the staircase. All surveillance was off and Cora says she can't remember what happened.
On the outside, Rafiq isn't discernible from a human. He's a very sophisticated AI robo-therapist engaged by Cora's parents to help suicidal Cora. He's the key to figuring out what happened that night.
This had me turning pages into the wee hours! The story got its hooks into me in the first few chapters and never let go. Highly recommended. Free on Kindle Unlimited.
So this one reminded me of an episode of Black Mirror. Times have changed, technology has advanced... the use of a Cerepin, a sophisticated brain-interface computer allows your every interaction to be recorded. Think of Alexa, Siri, or Cortona attached to your brain, recording your actions. It's kind of terrifying really.
Cora, a troubled teen finds herself in an even more troubling predicament. Her step-sister, Hannah, is tragically killed when falling down a flight of steps, and with her being the only other person in the house at time is being questioned about the incident. Only trouble is, Cora doesn't remember, she doesn't remember any of it. Will the review of her Cerepin provide the answers she seeks, or will it only bring more trouble for Cora?
Her step-father, Gary, hires an A.I. counselor, named Rafiq to help Cora deal with her grief, and to help her recover her lost memories. As Cora opens up to Rafiq, she begins to feel more for Rafiq, in a strange way, she can't help but feel attracted to Rafiq. She knows it's wrong, but he looks and acts so real... he feels real. Rafiq does what he can to earn Cora's trust, to help her open up, it's important that she remembers what happened. He wants Cora to be better. But what Cora doesn't realize, is that Rafiq has been programmed by Gary to deceive Cora, what Cora believes is empathy is all an act. Rafiq is incapable of empathy, so he lies and deceives Cora so that he may earn her trust to get the answers that Gary seeks, because Gary, he believes that Cora killed Hannah.
I actually really enjoyed this one. It was a mystery - sci-fi - thriller all rolled into one. Naturally, when we think of artificial intelligence, we assume that they will go "rogue" and take over the world. In Uncanny, there is a semblance of that here, but I was surprised by what Sarah Fine gives the readers. While we all expected this from an artificial intelligence story, she also gave us a look at the evolution of artificial intelligence. This is my first Sarah Fine novel, so I cannot compare this to her other work, but this novel gives you a good look at why it's important to stay in touch with our human nature. As technology advances the human race becomes lazy... especially our minds.
Really cool concept with the cerepin recording your entire life, very Black Mirror but I just can't get into this. Rafiq as a weird love interest is strange to me and I don't really like the main character.
Neat idea but I'm not fond of the execution. Might try some other works by this author and see how they hit me, though.
Uncanny's setting is a frightening future that doesn't seem too far off...with integrated AI controlling almost every aspect of our lives. Always watching...always learning. Despite having some eww moments with some AI/human love, I ended up really liking this. This story is infinitely thought-provoking and deals with a lot of existential type principals. The narration was mostly well done, despite the annoying level of screechyness that Bailey Carr's voice could reach.
๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏
Plot⇝ 4.2/5 Main Characters⇝ 4/5 Secondary Characters⇝ 4/5 The Feels⇝ 4/5 Pacing⇝ 4/5 Addictiveness⇝ 3.7/5 Theme or Tone⇝ 4.3/5 Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4/5 Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4/5 Originality⇝ 4.2/5 Ending⇝ 4.3/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope. ๏ ๏ ๏ Book Cover⇝ It sort of creeps me out. Narration⇝ Bailey Carr (3.5☆) & Scott Merriman (5☆) his voice was perfect for the AI Setting⇝ Year 2069 Source⇝ Audiobook (Scribd) ๏ ๏ ๏
OMG! what and epic read this book will have you guessing till the very end and the final piece of the puzzle is a jaw dropping moment you won't see coming or maybe you will I didn't still freaking me out.
This story is catching, I can't deny that I have been so intrigued during the course of the plot, because in this book you never know who to trust in and that fact keeps you interested and wanting to find out all the matter. I liked that aspect, but I also had some problems with the plot in general, I feel that although it keeps the suspense at all times I was a liitle bit bored at times, this aggravated to that I'm not sure about the characters
The writing style is fantastic without doubts would read another book of the author, has that touch that makes you feel in the events placesur rounded by mystery and keeps you curious, that's great !. I also understand that the author is accustomed to writing paranormal and that kind of thing, so I'm not sure if it's her first Sci-Fi work, I may be wrong, but anyway I wanted to mention it because she did a great job, besides mixes a futuristic reality with a very contemporary style. I know it sounds confusing but it works lol
Cora is the main character, and the plot focuses on the suspicious death of her sister. Cora has many difficult decisions that she must take during the plot, as she is faced in the beginning of the book with the possibility of committing suicide and then we will also see other equally delicate subjects. I mention it because being a sensitive subject I think some sensitive people might find the book somewhat strong, but still everything is touched in a very respectful way. Going back to Cora is not a character that I couldn't connect, sadly I couldn't with any character and that is one of my main problems, even so it's not a justification to tell you that the book is not good, because in fact, it is! I think it's just been personal.
I strongly recommend that you get into the book without knowing anything about it, I think you'll be surprised and you'll enjoy it even more. I think you'll enjoy it if you like the mystery, the futuristic novels and the aspects of Sci-fi, which I think even though I'm not a fan of the genre, I've really liked it how the author has handled it in here
--- I received this book through NetGalley against an honest review. ---
I find the title of this book particularly well found, because this book was strange, disturbing and clearly Uncanny. We follow Cora, who has just lost her sister Hannah, she has no recollection of the night when she died, in parallel, we saw some flashbacks about the relationship between the two sisters and the latter was not always beautiful.
What is interesting is precisely this relationship, it is unhealthy in my eyes and we realize that everything could have happened on the night of Hannah's death, the author succeeds in maintaining a constant doubt and the resolution will be revealed only in the last chapters. I passed my reading wanting to know what happened, to discover these two sisters with characters so different, their past and the strangeness of what binds them. For this particular point, the book is very successful.
Another important point, the context of the book, the latter takes place in the future, and there is a whole issue around surveillance, freedom and artificial intelligences, besides one of the key figures is an AI, and I loved this character, but I will say no more about it. This context works perfectly for the plot and it is also a point that I liked.
So I loved this book, it managed to hook me in it plotwists and if you like thrillers this book will strongly please you.
Uncanny by sarah fine. Two sisters. One death. No memories. Cora can't remember when her step sister died. Did she do it? Or was someone else there? A very good read with good characters. Even I was unsure if she did it or not. Didn't expect that. 4*.
I had a hard time at first with the book. Cora was all over the place, in both reactions and thought patterns. It made it difficult to understand the narrative and try to recreate that August night. But I guess that was the point. The story is well mapped out to slip tiny information along the way, just enough to keep you hooked but never enough that you figure out the true sequence of events for that fateful night.
This book packed quite a punch at the end. Moved from 2 to a 4 star rating.
Part of the "Carlene must clear out her Netgalley shelf" mission.
Uncanny is a Young-Adult (I'd say New Adult) psychological thriller set in the distant future. There's AI everywhere, homes are equipped with intelligence (Smart House, anyone?), and humans wear Cerepins on their heads. These cerepins are modules connected to their temples, they record, stream messages and video back to the wearer, and in Cora's case, may hold the answer to what happened to her dead stepsister.
Sarah Fine takes readers on a creepy journey featuring all the right psychological thriller twists. Our narrator is unreliable, the sisters may or may not have been friends, and there is an awful lot of manipulation going on. I was invested in the story right away, but then it started to drag. Cora is an escapist and apparently incredibly naive, because she lets herself be swayed by just about everyone. I got bored of reading the same interactions between Cora and her sister over and over. It became predictable and soon made it possible to guess how things would work out. Of course, there is a great twist right near the end that I quite enjoyed, but not enough for it to take this novel to the next rating level.
I think Uncanny is a great NA (not YA) read that true NA fans will enjoy. It's a solid, quick psychological thriller.
I really enjoyed reading this suspenseful science fiction novel. It is one that I could not put down! This fast pace read will make you question your every move and every conversation you have. When computers take over your every thought trouble and drama are bound to happen. This novel takes you an a roller coaster ride of thrilling suspense that is perfect for this time of year. A great book to read while snuggling in bed with a hot cup of tea and the lights on. Overall, a remarkable read from a truly creative writer that I look forward to reading more from.
This book!! When I requested it on netgalley I thought the description was interesting so after I was approved I quickly downloaded it and started reading right away. I thought the beginning of the book was ok, then it started to annoy me, and then all of the sudden it was like BOOM and everything started happening. So many twists and turns plus I'm a sucker for a mystery,and the end.... I definitely recommend this book to people who like mysteries, but if you don't like death or negativity I suggest not reading it.
I recently ordered a bunch of new books, and I had to get this one. It was in my to-read list for what feels like ages. The story looked so different and original, incredibly dark and twisted, and that eerie cover immediately made me fall for it.
Except the book itself was nothing like that, and I'm terribly disappointed about it. I don't have much to say about it, as it left me too cold and detached to have real, strong feelings about it.
First, the book in its little 300 pages, feels incredibly long. The story is stretched and stretched and you keep waiting for interesting things to happen. And they never come. The whole book is centered on Cora and Rafiq searching for clues on Hannah's death, but nothing is happening. Just nothing! You only get the revelation like 20 pages from the end, and I don't know if it was meant to be a shock, but I barely blinked at it. It all flows like a steady river and even the main surprise of the story feels dull. Hell, even the characters don't really react to it, and the ending is completely rushed, wrapped up in a few sentences, leaving you with a hundred questions. In the wrong way, where you feel like the author didn't know how to answer them.
The characters were also a huge problem to me. They're all numb and cold, not really developed. They feel like complete strangers, or robots and you never seem to get close to them. They don't feel very real, in the end. And when they seem to have some emotions, it's only incredibly annoying. Cora is almost unbearable to follow, always getting angry at everything without reason. To me, it seemed obvious she was mentally ill, but it's never developed in the book? And my God, what kind of parents refuse to seek any treatment for their children?!
And as if it wasn't enough, the romance is cringe-worthy.
So yes, this book was a real disappointment, too long and empty for my taste. I wished it had been more alive and interesting, because the story itself could have been so, so great.
Implanted communication has been being perfected since before 2015 so that was not unbelievable Having the ability to be traced is disconcerting but not unbelievable as the government has the capability of that now. I liked the canny being able to have free will and choosing his manner of death and believe robots of that sort is our future. His part in the book was also unexpected. The ending of the last few pages did surprise me and that rarely happens and was one of the best parts of the book. This book was one that I dreaded reading to give an honest review. It was well written, interesting, and something was always happening to keep me turning the page. Don't want to put spoilers here. I won this Kindle addition for my honest review.
UnCanny By: Sarah Fine I was asked by the author or publisher to give an honest review of this book. I give this one 4 tiaras:
I liked this book and read it quickly. I have some likes and dislikes of this book. Overall, this book was a good and quick read. This book is more of a book set in the future a few years. It has more robots, us being monitored more, and more. There are many ways to keep memories and videos of what we see and do every day. This comes into play for the young girl, Cora, one of the main characters. It can either save her or show that she has murdered her stepsister. The things that Cora goes through to get to the truth and the things that she has gone through before the death of her sister show how evil and unkind someone can be and what kind of people are really out there. It also shows what lengths true friends will go to, to help a friend and get to the truth. I had a hard time getting into the book at first and wasn’t really sure where it was going but by the end of the book I was really rooting for Cora and wondering how people could get away with so much without being seen. It really is sad that some people go through these things and deal with so much. If you choose to read this and are not sure if you can finish it, keep reading and wait until the end it really is worth it. Happy Reading!
Although it's not labeled, this is a companion book to Beneath the Shine. It takes place in the same world and the characters and events are even referenced in Uncanny. But this story is completely different so you don't need to read Beneath the Shine to enjoy Uncanny.
In fact, the world of Uncanny is a bit different with emphasis on personal computing devices, artificial intelligence and privacy rather than social media. In fact, there is so much to set up about this world, that the first half is a bit clunky and tough to get into. Also, most of the characters are not really admirable people so I had a tough time engaging with the book.
If you can stick with the book, then things get better. Uncanny is really a psychological mystery thriller about Hannah's death. I enjoyed this part of the book is much more since it's suspenseful and creepy with lots of twists.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of the book for review.
When I first requested this book from Netgalley, who kindly agreed to send me it for review, I thought it sounded amazing, I was not wrong. I mean wow, this book! This story messes with your mind. It started a little slow and very confusing but as we got further into the story I was just drawn in. I needed this mystery to be solved. I loved the futuristic element to the story, but also that it didn't play on that too much, it was first and foremost a very compelling mystery. The relationship between the two sisters was complex and at times a little frightening, I didnt know who's side I was on. I personally had never heard of this author before but after reading this one I'll definitely be picking up more of her work.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Uncanny is the story of Cora and how she has to both come to terms with the death of her stepsister and the fact that she was the only person with her when she died under suspicious circumstances. In a future world where everything is recorded and mainstreamed the events of that night are nowhere to be found. With Cora unravelling under the pressure of blame it is up to those around her to both protect and exonerate her, even if that comes from the most unusual of sources.
Uncanny covers a lot of difficult themes, I was reminded a lot about 13 Reasons Why with the passive aggressive bullying suffered by Cora and the attempts at humiliation and playing on fragile mental health. Cora is a very broken young girl, thrown into a world of excess and struggles to keep her head above water, never fitting in with the popular crowd her new sister inhabits. Our smartphones scarily have become part of us, installed in our heads, never being able to escape the constant messages, video feeds and recordings. AI is all around, ready to catch the parts that you don’t want others to see, which makes the journey to uncover Hannah’s murderer all the more difficult when this failsafe apparently fails.
The story plays out in 2 POV’s, Cora’s and then also a retrospective with different video clips being reviewed of Cora and her step sister Hannah’s interactions. It’s these retrospectives which I struggled with at the start. The flow of them didn’t really work for me, there was no change in font or formatting to indicate video clip conversation versus the inner narrative of the person viewing the video file and I often found myself reading in Cora’s voice when I shouldn’t have been. That being said as new characters were introduced and clips starting catching up to present day, I found the voice that I needed to differentiate.
I did find Uncanny very difficult in the start, if it wasn’t for the fact I had committed to a review I probably would have put it down before I got to the good stuff. I’m glad I did persevere though as I did find it quite the page turner at the end as it became an intense murder mystery thriller, with some very shocking twists.
3.5. I liked this ... I found it just a tad hard to follow at times, and I'm still not 100% what exactly happened in those questionable moments. I was listening to the audio edition while multi-tasking, and that can keep me from complete concentration. Being on Kindle Unlimited, I did also have access to the kindle digital copy, and I glanced over it a time or two to try and clear some things up for me, but the timing jumps around a lot, so it is little hard to try to find certain sections to re-read and clarify.
This is a futuristic society. The year is 2069. There are brain implants that record events, there are robots, or cannies ... thus the play on words for the title. Uncanny.
The storyline has two perspectives ... Cora, told in first person present tense, and then a more mechanical/omniscient perspective. An analyzation of past events captured on video/audio. With this perspective, we (the reader) are able to witness things that lead up to "the event" and what actually happened. This perspective does shift somewhat part-way through ... also into first person.
Cora doesn't have access to all the information the reader does ... it's pretty obvious that Hannah has an agenda early on. Still, it's hard to know exactly what happened for sure, even as events are uncovered and confessions come out. SPOILER/QUESTION
But overall, the story kept my interest and I think it will stick in my memory. As always, interesting aspects of AI and advanced technology to consider as well.
This book was a mess. Not that it was bad, but it was a total mess of sensations - from being a commentary on today's reliance on technology to being a thriller, to being a weird YA romance, it was just all over the place - and honestly, the experience was (fittingly) slightly uncanny.
Cora is a classic unreliable narrator, and she is portrayed beautifully. Her trauma is vividly painted, even though we never get exact explanations as to what happened to her, and I find that impressive. Hannah was... well, she was portrayed beautifully as well. I noted pretty early on that she was a psychopath in the making, manipulative, a liar and absolutely narcissistic. I didn't know that karma was basically what hit her in the end, but I knew she was definitely a psycho. This revelation happens gradually though, and only when you look for it. Because of my very unique past - involving psychopaths - I saw the signs early on. My brain is wired to look for them, after all, but I'm not sure it would be as clear to someone with an untainted view of the world. Really, she was a beautifully rendered character.
And Netta... Oh my lord, did I love this little badass hacker chick. She was just awesome all the way through. Rafiq went through a quiet interesting transformation as well, mainly thanks to Netta and her previously mentioned legendary skills.
This book was a page-turner, it didn't end the way I expected, which is rare, and it was an interesting idea for the future. All in all, a decent read, and if it had been a little more neatly put together I would probably have completely adored it. As is, it's a 3,5 star read for me.
In this science fiction mystery, Maeve decides to marry Gary, a wealthy businessman. This makes Maeve's teenage daughter, Cora, and Gary's teenage daughter, Hannah, stepsisters (who become sisters when Gary adopts Cora). Hannah and Cora could not be more different. Hannah is beautiful, put together and popular. Cora is either autistic or mentally ill, and an unpopular mess. The sisters try to get along, but Hannah really doesn't like Cora, and sneakily undermines her. Cora is more blatant in her dislike of Hannah, so Cora gets in trouble for being unkind, difficult, etc.
Hannah falls down some stairs and dies. Everyone basically accuses Cora of murdering her. Cora cannot remember anything from that night, and the system that records everything that goes on was turned off. Human-like robots called cannys are part of society, and Gary hires a canny to counsel Cora.
The solution to the crime was a surprise to me, and so (especially) was the ending. I didn't see it coming. The problem with the book is that it is too long. Lots of words going no where. Also, Cora is wildly unlikable, and she is treated like garbage by almost everyone- especially males. Hannah is a bully but Cora is so annoying. Cora acts insane, so it's hard to believe her very capable and caring mother wouldn't get her some help- locking her up in a mental institution is the only avenue offered in the book.
Would I recommend this book? I don't know. I was compelled to finish it because I knew the plot was solid and hoped for a satisfying ending.
Sarah Fine’s Uncanny is a wonderful, deeply distressing, emotional read. I read this psychological thriller in a single sitting. Cora, CC to her mean girl sister, is a teenage heroine in a Washington DC of the near future, one in which cybertechnology has advanced rapidly but old traditions like flying kites and watching the annual Independence Day fireworks display are still in vogue.
The action of the novel takes place after a horrible night of tragedy at the home of Cora and her step-sister, in which one young woman dies and the other is suspected of her murder. The actual facts of the case are presented via playback of saved memory clips from the parties involved: What we know as social media has become a hardwired system built into the brain of its participants, so recorded memories are there for compilation and examination.
It takes a very special robotic therapist, hired to determine the heroine’s guilt or innocence in the death that horrid night, to find and reveal the whole truth. It is his journey from tool to autonomous being, as much as Cora’s story of clawing free of confusing partial memory, that drives this book.
A well-drawn cast of secondary characters adds to the complexity of this novel, among them a number of duplicitous teens who use their privilege and status to accomplish what amounts to character assassination, a number of domestic droids, and a genius hijab-wearing hacker who proves to be the truest friend imaginable.
This novel is complex and riveting, a real winner. I unreservedly recommend it.
With a title like Uncanny, I wasn't sure what to expect from this new book by author Sarah Fine. I have enjoyed her previous series and looked forward to new things from her. This book is a great addition to her already great storytelling.
Uncanny is the story of Cora, a teenager who is found home alone with her Stepsister, Hannah. The only problem is Hannah is dead, and Cora can't remember what happened that night.
The interesting part of this book, is how the story is told. In Cora and Hannah's world. Artificial Intelligence (aka Canny) is a standard of life. The house has AI. The house staff are all AI. And AI watches everything...unless it's been manually turned off by two teenage girls left home alone. The story unfolds via a series of videos recorded via the girls, and the house, and friends video feeds. What unfolds will leave you guessing as to what is going on, and cringing, and feeling a myriad of emotions toward the family living in the house.
Wirl wind. Roller Coaster. Mind boggling. Those words all come to mind to describe this book. After the last page was read, I still sat there thinking through all the plot twists and general storyline still just gaping over how things play out.
So check it out and see for yourself. If you love a good, make you think kind of book, you'll really love this one.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was so good! So it takes place in the future and a lot of the story revolves around future tech and AI. There's a lot about privacy (or lack thereof) and ethics revolving around the advanced technology used (which is pretty interesting in itself, for me anyway). Everyone who isn't AI in this story essentially has a smartphone built into the side of their head (what they refer to as a Cerepin). The story is all about a slightly disturbed girl with some mental health issues (who was so well written) and her relationship with her step-sister and how her step-sister ended up dead. It told in alternating narratives (Cora, the girl mentioned above and a mystery narrator--don't want to give anything away!).
There are so many twists in this book, literally up until the last page. You think you have it figured out like four times during the story, but you don't. Just when you start to root for a character, or despise a character, something happens and your opinion changes. Mini-spoiler (maybe?) warning: you won't get the neat little happy ending you think you want with this one, but the ending is so good you will find yourself okay with it, even if it's a little bit disturbing.
In summary: this is a must read! You won't regret it.
This was a read that kept me riveted from start to finish. With such a heart-racing beginning, and a deeply intriguing plot that follows, I really enjoyed this novel.
I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I was thrilled to find it was a thriller (LOL, couldn't help myself.) The feelings of anticipation and shock I had while reading this were on par with what I felt while reading The Girl on the Train, so a high compliment. Fine kept me guessing towards the end, and brought forth heaps of sympathy on my part for Cora. The slow reveal of the murder mystery and the characters involved and lead up to the events were done with just the right amount of tease. The pace was perfect to keep me interested and sucked in.
The world-building is pretty fantastic as well. Fine's vision of the future is one that is not only frightening, but very possible. Surveillance around every corner, access to so much with a simple voice command—really does make one think about where we're heading.
I also enjoyed the abstract thinking that Fine illustrates with the Cannies. Do robots have feelings? Can they want or can they acquire free will? As terrifying a thought as it is, Fine lands a solid argument, both logical and believable. Likewise, it is written out well when we switch to Rafiq's point of view. Big round of applause from me!
This was amazing. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much at first from what seemed like yet another “did she or didn’t she” unreliable narrator book, but it definitely won me over. The gradual build of suspense and revelation was very well done - I feel like I gradually, at just the right pace, and very naturally figured out that . There were a few things I correctly suspected, but the book still often took me by surprise. And that seems like a great balance to me. It means that the ending is plausible - not completely out of the blue just for the sake of being a Plot Twist™ - but also not overly foreshadowed.
My only issue was with some of the debate regarding AI and free will - just because it seemed a bit forced and rushed. It felt more like side commentary than an integral part of the story. That said, was great, and obviously wouldn’t have worked without the whole AI/“canny” premise.
This may not be your read if you’re looking for deep, sci-fi discussions of robots and humans. But if you’re looking for a good murder mystery, you might want to check it out.