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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Release & Review - This is Me. by C.E. Wilson

Title: This is Me.
Author: C.E. Wilson
Publication Date: August 11th, 2016

Anthropomorphic Sentient Individualized Servile uniT

Rogan is a robot. More specifically, he is an Asist – a personalized humanoid servant that provides protection, assistance, and companionship for a lonely young woman living on her own in the city. Chloe is trying to get her big break, singing at bars and clubs all over the city at night while she pays the bills as a substitute teacher during the day. Ever since she activated him many months ago, Rogan has been her beautiful, dependable, obedient, dead-eyed security blanket.

One morning she is shocked when he disobeys a direct command in an attempt to please her and his dull artificial eyes flash a hint of something new. Is this the result of the adaptive Asist servility programming or is Rogan actually thinking? Can a robot think? Can a robot feel?

As Chloe struggles with these thoughts she is blindsided by the singular Niven Adams, a handsome, confident man with the voice of an angel who is everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. He’s the perfect guy for her, except for one problem. Niven doesn’t approve of Asists and takes an immediate dislike to Rogan. As Niven charms his way deeper and deeper into Chloe’s heart, Rogan tries to convince her that he is more than a mass-produced disposable servant.

With Rogan doing everything in his power to prove that his thoughts and feelings are real and Niven trying to persuade her to abandon her robot and have a normal human relationship, Chloe is trapped between the two things that mean the most to her. Does she embrace her relationship with the blond newcomer, or face that her Asist’s feelings may be more than features of his programming? 

What really makes a person a person?
Is it a ticking muscle inside their chest, or is it something more?

Pre-order: Amazon 

2.5 “Killer Concept” Stars

This is actually one of those books that makes me want to cry out of frustration. Look at that damn blurb and tell me if this doesn’t sound amazing?

I was dying to read this from the moment I heard of it (during a cover reveal blog tour), and I was more than happy to request an e-ARC.

The frustrating part? I didn’t like it half as much as I wanted to.

And I tried. I truly tried because I wanted to experience all the possibilities this concept could’ve brought to light. I wanted to watch a human fall in love with her A-SIST – her robot. I wanted to watch her fight those feelings because that couldn’t be good for her or real. I wanted to watch the robot develop feelings and go beyond what he was programmed to do. I wanted this epic love.

But that’s not what I got here.

In my opinion, the book started in the wrong place. When we meet Chloe and Rogan, they’re already involved in some sort of romantic relationship. Or at least a sexual one, and I felt robbed of the moment these two decided to take what should’ve been a A-SIST-companion relationship to the next level. Why wouldn’t I get to see it?

Why didn’t I get to watch Chloe’s decision to look at her A-SIST, Rogan, and go “hmmm, maybe he’s good for other things, too?” Or something a lot less cheesy.

I can’t say we didn’t get pages of Chloe trying to convince herself that Rogan was just a robot and he couldn’t possibly feel something genuine for her, and more pages of her doubting her decisions of being intimate with her. They were there, but they weren’t executed in a way that made me feel anything. And I blame it in my lack of connection with Chloe.

I didn’t like her that much.

Rogan? Yeah. He was an interesting character, though he could’ve been a lot more. But Chloe simply didn’t do it for me. When she wasn’t irritating the crap out of me (which was often), she was just… not very interesting.

The big conflict in the story revolves around Chloe’s relationship with Rogan and Niven. The first is her A-SIST and the robot she’s trying not to fall for. The second is a human who hates A-SIST (although I still don’t understand why) and the guy Chloe is trying to fall for.

My biggest problem with this love triangle is that it can’t possibly be consider one, no matter how hard the story tries. No one will root for Niven because he’s creepy and a jerk half the time. But Chloe, for reasons I can’t understand either, doesn’t seem to see it. She refuses to see what’s right in front of her face when Niven does something horrible to Rogan, and that just pissed me off.

The fact that Niven kept giving her ideas on how to get rid of Rogan and she caught herself contemplating them, when five minutes earlier she had just thought about how she’d never do that? Also not a good thing. At all.

To me, Chloe lacked personality, which explains why I couldn’t care about her in any level.

Like I said, Rogan was a much more interesting character, and although we got a few chapters here and then in his POV, I think the story could’ve benefited a lot from developing him further and giving him more space to shine. I would’ve taken a lot less Niven&Chloe for a lot more Rogan, and even Rogan&Chloe, because she was a little better when he was around.

There were other interesting elements to the story, like the relationship between Fitz and his mini A-SIST, that came as a way to show that you don’t have to have a physical relationship with someone to fall for them. It was a bit creepy (I have to admit), but I understood what the writer was trying to say. Not a bad message.

The world building needed a lot of work. I have no sense of when this story is supposed to be happening. I’m guessing the present from the pop references (Mary J. Blige, True Blood and stuff like that), but that would make no sense because we’re nowhere near having robots like the A-SISTS. Either make it sometime in the future or give me something to explain how our current word got the point that A-SISTS can be a thing. I didn’t get any of that.

The writing also didn’t pull me in, because I spent a lot of time thinking the dialogue was juvenile or getting distracted by the POV violation. Those were bad. Really bad.

I’m sorry I sound cranky, but it’s hard to contain my disappointment. I really, really wanted to love this book, but the problems I had with it were too big to ignore. Sad. Really sad. To be perfectly honest, those 2.5 stars are only there because I loved the concept and I wanted to like this.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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