Kristy's Reviews > Ensnared

Ensnared by Rita Stradling
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's review
Mar 10, 2017

it was ok
bookshelves: netgalley

Be sure to read the original review over at Deluded Rambling.

If you like to read about robots giving humans commands, then this is the book for you.

However, if you like to read stories with well-developed characters and plot, then stay away.

I hate ripping into these kinds of books. Obviously, these authors aren’t well-known and are trying to make their mark on the writing world. That being said… yikes.

The premise of Ensnared was super intriguing. Even the cover pulled me in. With all of the “Beauty and the Beast” fervor circulating because of the new movie, it seemed like a great book with an interesting viewpoint.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the very first page, I knew I was in for a long ride. Alainn, the main “Belle” character in this saga, is driving to have a chat with the main “Beast” character, Lorccan. In frustration, she utters the word “crap,” and the robotic computer voice tells her not to use profanity. Ok… Since when is “crap” a swear word? Already I could see that this character was going to be the “rebellious” and “unique” prototype heroine in most young adult stories. Problem is, this isn’t a young adult story, something I was not aware of until halfway through the book.

Anyway, the plot is a bit flimsy – Alainn’s dad is building a robot for Lorccan, but the robot has become sentient and doesn’t want to go. Because the deadline is tomorrow and there is no time to build a replacement robot, Alainn goes in her place (since the robot was constructed to look just like her, what a coincidence!). This is such a bad plan, but I was willing to go with it because it seemed fun.

Finally, we meet the mysterious Lorccan – and find he’s a pretty boring dude. Seriously. He’s super into routine and never, ever leaves his tower. He seemingly has no interests or hobbies. I guess he works out a bit at his in-home gym and watches movies? Oh, and he’s always wearing a suit, even though he lives alone and has never come into contact with another human being before. He has this sort of internet girlfriend, but that’s never really explained. Basically, just think your typical nerd, but with some kind of not-so-ugly scar on his face.

I guess this is one of the reasons he can’t tell that Alainn isn’t a robot? Because I’m pretty sure any person would easily be able to establish that Alainn isn’t a robot in one glance. But actually, maybe her lack of a personality is the key to this. While she has a little more humanity than Lorccan, she is still quite boring and underdeveloped. I mean, I guess she likes the outdoors, because she’s constantly mentioning her job as some kind of park ranger rescue person? Oh, and her best friend was killed by bad guys one day a long time ago, and she feels bad about it, or something.

Taking the place of all those dishes and knick-knacks in the original tale is a robotic maid service called Rosebud. She is constantly ordering Alainn around and telling her what to do. In fact, I’d estimate that at least 50 percent of the book is her giving Alainn commands such as, “Alainn, please leave your room,” or “Alainn, you must leave now if you don’t want to be late.” I get that she’s a robot and it’s her job to do stuff like this, but it got tiresome very quickly.

While Rosebud is a robot so it makes sense for her to talk in this robotic fashion, the humans were also written with very robotic dialogue as well. I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t say a person’s name every time I direct a sentence to them. Especially if they’re the only person in the room. Well, prepare to discover an entirely new method of dialogue, as these characters are constantly calling each other by name even though they’re already in the middle of a conversation with each other. It’s so unnatural that it made me just kind of skip some conversations.

Back to the plot. Alainn is ordered to eat dinner with Lorccan everyday. Nothing really happens at these dinners. However, before long, Alainn gets bored and starts asking Lorccan to play games and watch movies with her. Ok, makes sense – she is a human and humans get bored with sitting around a tower all day.

Here’s where it gets stupid (if it wasn’t stupid already). One day, they are watching a movie together. Lorccan starts massaging her, then suddenly, they are making out. WHOA. When did Netflix and chill with robots become a thing? Also, when did these guys start having romantic feelings towards each other AT ALL? There was no buildup and no chemistry whatsoever. Last thing I remember, Alainn said she could tolerate his presence. But I thought that was just because she was spending the rest of her time all alone locked in her room?

Anyway, Lorccan does come to his senses and puts an end to it. BUT, later that night…

Alainn hears him screaming in his nightmares (he does this a lot) and goes to investigate. She finds him naked and in a night terror. Creepy, but ok. Eventually she wakes him up, and… they start having sex. Whaattttt???

Yeah, remember that young adult vibe I was talking about earlier? That was completely shattered here. This wasn’t some sensual yet tasteful love scene. This was straight out of an erotic novel, especially the vocabulary. All of a sudden, these characters go from simply tolerating each others’ presence to being completely in love.

That’s right – not only is this a gratuitous sex scene – it’s the scene in which Alainn realizes she is in love with him. The two most boring and underdeveloped characters in literary history fall in love with each other with absolutely no warning or buildup… I guess it’s kind of perfect, really. They were made for each other.

So whatever, these two Mary Sues are now happily having sex on every other page, but the plot must go forward, so the original robot (her name is Rose) Alainn replaced eventually stirs the pot. She gets Alainn out of the tower and sends in a replacement robot instead. All should seemingly be ok, BUT WAIT! It turns out that (view spoiler)

I wish I was kidding.

A series of carbon monoxide poisoning, car crashes, and robot punching events later… Alainn and her father are in court to stop Rose from her evil, world-ending ways. That’s right, this book takes yet another turn and becomes a courtroom drama. Hmm…

I won’t share the ending, because if you ever do decide to read this trite work of art, I want there to be some surprise. But needless to say, the ending was just as dumb as the rest of the book. Ok, I’ll tell you.

(view spoiler)

This was just… not a good book. There were really no redeeming factors. I’m giving it two stars out of generosity and because, while it was a trainwreck, it was at least an interesting trainwreck. It doesn’t come out until December, but I would recommend you avoid it. Don’t be tempted by the cool cover and plot description (or this super awesome trailer that definitely would have ensured I never read the book)!

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Reading Progress

March 8, 2017 – Started Reading
March 8, 2017 – Shelved
March 9, 2017 –
41.0% "This book is far different from the last book I read... and not in a good way."
March 10, 2017 –
59.0% "Pretty sure the only thing that separates this from a young adult book is the gratuitous sex scenes that came out of nowhere."
March 10, 2017 – Finished Reading
March 13, 2017 – Shelved as: netgalley

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