Friday, 24 February 2017

Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Title: Ensnared
Author: Rita Stradling
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2017
Pages: 270
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: New Adult/Sci-Fi
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

Ensnared was a tough one when it came to deciding upon a rating as there were things I enjoyed and things I disliked about it. In the end, I have settled on three stars, and here's why. On the plus side, I loved the idea for this Beauty and the Beast retelling: setting it in the future with a sci-fi twist. The situations in which the two leading characters started the story were interesting, and the work had the potential to be really compelling, but a few things let it down. Firstly, the relationship and character development for the leads peaked at the mid-way point and then plateaued, so, as a reader, you lost that strong connection with them. The twist in the plot came late, and was then resolved in a single chapter, which was a tad anti-climatic. Meanwhile, there were a few grammatical problems, including a few instances of comma splicing, among other things. Some of these mistakes were minor. I notice them because I'm an editor, but perhaps not all readers would pick up on them. The one thing that was unforgivable in my eyes, though, and which occurred twice, was the use of the incorrect phrase "I could care less". This should *always* be "I couldn't care less". The version without the negative is saying the exact opposite of what the writer means, yet I see it more and more frequently, especially among US authors, and it is one of my pet peeves. That is one of those things I can't let go.

Overall, I would recommend Ensnared to YA/NA readers who enjoy fairytale retellings. It has a lot going for it, despite the issues I outlined, and if you can overlook those, you'll probably enjoy the tale.

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