Ensnared Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
- Leah's Bookish Obsession
"Ms Stradling is an exceptional storyteller with a gift for creating amazing imagery and characters you just can't help but love. I simply adored this new take on Beauty and the Beast." ★★★★★
- Mary Anne Yarde, Award Winning Author of The Du Lac Chronicles
"Fast paced, sexy, and powerful" ★★★★★
- A Book Owl
"Rita made the line between villains and heroes so blurry that it will keep you guessing who's good and who's bad. I want to state that I didn't see that plot twist coming until the written words appeared on the screen." ★★★★★
- Maxxesbooktopia Blog --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- Publication date : June 6, 2018
- File size : 4996 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 414 pages
- Publisher : Rita Stradling Books; 2nd edition (June 6, 2018)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07DKZBBWG
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0991082281
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #841,616 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Rose comes up with the solution- Alainn will pretend to be Rose for a few weeks until they can complete the Rosette unit. Wanting to keep her father out of prison, Alainn reluctantly agrees and Rose inserts some chips to make her detectable as AI. Upon arrival, Alainn discovers that all Lorccan wants her to do is have dinner with him- he has a weak immune system and has had no social interaction in person. Alainn begins to stir things up as she gets bored and her rescue seems distant. As Alainn and Lorccan spend more time together, other feelings begin to grow.
I was really glad this didn’t have a Stockholm element to it. Although Alainn is sent to Lorccan’s estate, it is by choice, and it seems like imprisonment/captor and prisoner scenario, which is a nice change from some of the Beauty and the Beast retellings. The beginning and first ¾ of the book is really strong and well done. The only thing I wondered about was how on earth he could not know she was not a robot- but as someone with limited social interaction, I am willing to buy it. The last ¼ of the book got a little stranger as things spiral out of control and we begin to learn more about Rose and her programming. There is also the story of Alainn and Cara which is alluded to and kind of explained, but not fully.
Regardless, I think it was still a strong book and much better than I would have expected! I really loved their relationship and the build-up of it was more believable than I would have thought. Also, I laughed at the allusion to ‘Citizen Kane’ towards the end (won’t spoilt it but it was clever). It was just about the right length and character development was good. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
Ensnared was provided to me as an ARC via NetGalley, but I also purchased an ebook copy for 99 cents, so my opinions are not affected one way or the other.
Overall, this book strikes me as a rather unconventional, but enjoyable retelling. The magic of the fairytale is swapped out instead for robotics and AI and our characters are given more complex backstories and a lot of the basic details are switched around in a good way. The villain of the tale is also given a much different motivation than I've ever seen, which was refreshing, and we're given more to ponder than just "can you love someone despite their ugliness and flaws?" I give it high marks for its prose, creativity, and original outlook. I very much enjoyed Ensnared.
But, unfortunately, there are a few things I would quarrel with.
This mostly has to do with the author not elaborating/explaining/wrapping up parts of the plot. The blurb, for example, serves to tell us a decent bit of the backstory when in reality a book should be fully comprehensible without a person reading the blurb; this isn't really the case with Ensnared. If I hadn't read it prior to starting, I wouldn't have quite guessed that Alainn's father had accepted money to create an AI robot for Lorccan and that Alainn had a deep mistrust of Rose because these elements are vaguely and barely touched on.
Another issue is the big reveal of Alainn and Lorccan's past experiences--this is a bit poorly worked into the story because only a few small details feed into why they're important and the issues caused as a result are far too easily overcome or they're just kind of not addressed like they ought to be, which is sad because working these in better would have had a deeper emotional pull, make the characters more complex, and overall made the book feel more polished. As it stands, their backstories just kind of seem hazardously thrown in while the focus goes to seeing Alainn and Lorccan together and also focus on the robotics/AI part with Rose.
[ So the big reveal for Alainn is that her dad's gambling caused her and her friend to be kidnapped when she was 17 because he owed someone money. Alainn is alluded to have been raped and Cara ends up dead when the car the girls were in is sent over a cliff. The details that allude to Alainn having trauma because of this are essentially that she doesn't like elevators due to nearly dying in a car, she hasn't had relationships because she was assaulted, she dislikes robots because one helped kidnapped her and her friend, and she has felt depressed because she misses Cara and feels lik she played a role in her death. But really, outside of a few small mentions, these things don't really impact the story. She rides elevators begrudgingly, she has very little resistance to being okay with having sex with Lorccan, she doesn't really struggle with depression. We're mostly just told by Rose and Rosebud and Colby that Alainn was ever suicidal/sad.
As for Lorccan, we get told that he's in this tower because he had crazy and highly abusive parents who were convinced he'd die if he left or was exposed to any germs so he's disfigured by his mom to quell to leave, yet then we're told that Lorccan doesn't actually have any poor health problems like he's been led to believe... yet the story just kind of goes "eh, Lorccan will stay in his tower with Alainn and they make do." Like... if you're gonna say that the whole time he was trapped and unhappy in this tower... isn't the point for him to learn to not fear germs and to slowly start making his way to leaving the tower and interacting with people? Like, he has very little growth except that instead of being 1000% antisocial he's just very fixated on Alainn and having her in his tower with him all the time.
So, I will say that I feel this could have been an even better book and that I do take away some stars due to these shocking details about abuse/trauma not having the kind of importance and attention that they ought to have had, since the author decided to include them as major pieces to the character's backstories.
Still, not a bad read! I liked it a lot.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
From the moment i started reading i was fascinated by this totally different and somewhat weird retelling of a futuristic beauty & the beast. It shouldn't have worked but it did.
I found myself cheering on Alainne as she pretended to be Rose 76GF and i got very caught up in the whole tale.
Alainne herself i found to be a very unselfish individual, all she wanted was to help her dad and if that meant putting herself out well, so be it. There was also some past issues that she still has trouble coming to terms with, this gives her a bit of a hero complex as she wants to save everyone, even at the cost of her own safety.
Now Lorccan Garbhan, mmm what to make of him as a character, I would say that our Mr Garbhan is quite a strange fella, isolated from society by what i surmise where very paranoid unloving parents, Lorccan has evolved into an eccentric anxious individual, afraid of the outside world, he is also heavily scarred which adds to his apprehension of outsiders.
Lorccan Wants a robot to help teach him to interact with others mainly a love interest Shelby who he has only spoken to on the phone.
I don't want to give much more away I will just say, that I couldn't help smiling as these two emotionally scarred people fell for each other, It was lovely watching them both discover each other a calm before the storm. there is action, love, drama, psychotic robots and cute robot monkeys.
I would have liked a slightly different ending, not as open-ended, but that in no way takes away from this marvelously inventive tale and is just a personal preference, give this whimsical story a go, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy it, I devoured Ensnared in one sitting it hooked me like a duck.
I spotted this futuristic reselling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale and just couldn't resist. Yet it has to be said that it's the artificial intelligence part of the story that dominates here. If you have read Asimov or even seen the movie I, Robot then you will be all too aware of the very real concerns many have concerning the future applications of robotics. Whilst this is no "judgement day" it does tap into that very primitive fear in our hind brains .
So back to the story and indeed the romance. Alainn is the daughter of a genius inventor who unfortunately is both a gambler and a coward. Without giving away too much detail it's Alainn that goes to the home of Lorccan and pretends to be her fathers creation Rose 76GF. Lorccan is a scarred and hypochondriac man who just wants what's normal and he intends to learn how to interact using Rose 76GF. The problem is though Alainn is all too real and fears her humanity will give her away but what if there's an even greater betrayal coming?
So it's a sweet little romance and yes it sticks with the idea that Beauty saves the Beast. Yet for this reader it was overshadowed by the AI components of the story, particularly the second half of the book. It did seem inconsistent at times and the world building whilst somewhat futuristic just wasn't fleshed out enough for this reader. Also if brutally honest there are characters mentioned here from co workers to old friends that really didn't add much to the story and confused it somewhat.
What does work beautifully is Alainn. She's a flawed individual , not exactly with a death wish but clearly not someone who places great value on her own life. Although I have to say with a family as selfish as hers I'm not really that surprised! This leads me to Lorccan who has had a truly nightmarish upbringing which made me very sympathetic towards him although I do take exception to his love interest if I can call her that but to say more would be to say too much!
So my final thoughts are it's not perfect and when it comes to Lorccan I'm still left with unanswered questions. It is a fanciful piece and perhaps a little too far fetched but there are moments that really piqued my interest and if you enjoy imagining what the future holds as technology gathers pace this unusual romance might end up on your book shelf!
Love the characters who are ALL too human. Rose, the AI was cunning and devious and quite scary with plans for World domination as you would expect from previously portrayed examples of AIs over the years.
However Ensnared is a novel with a twist because although the plot combines familiar ideas with regards to evil AIs and automated buildings it also deals with human addiction, child abuse, violent crime, mental health conditions AND romance with an adult theme.
Really enjoyed this novel and finished it in one sitting. If you determine the quality of a novel by the need to read a sequel I would rate this as a 10.