Book Reviews

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, what jumped out to me from the synopsis was “A Near Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast “. Here’s the thing–I LOVE Beauty and the Beast. It’s my most favorite fairy tale and Disney movie. I did my happy dance, gave a loud, off-key rendition of Tale As Old As Time, and added it to my shelf. I even did my happy dance!

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Oh, and I loved it!

Goodreads synopsis:

31831180 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.

Review:

Alainn’s father is an inventor (just like old Maurice). He’s been commissioned to build an AI robot for Lorccan Garbhan (Beeeeaaaassst!). He designs Rose 76GF but is not able to hand her over within the deadline Mr. Garbhan has given. To prevent her father from being sent to prison, Alainn is convinced by Rose to take her place and act like a robot. What follows next is a heartwarming romance, meddling AI robots, and a story that will definitely make all the Beauty and the Best fans swoon.

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As you may have already guessed, Alainn and Lorcann fall in love. Their romance has its sweet moments and is slow to pick up. A thing to appreciate in this story is that Alainn voluntarily takes up the robot’s place. There are no questions of Stockholm syndrome here, like in the original story. While there is no Lumiere or Cogsworth, there are other cute supporting characters like the monkey robot, Blue, and the meddling AI, Rosebud.

The world building wasn’t really impressive. The setting could have been explained a little bit better. How did this world come to be? Why and how did AI become the norm? It would have been better if this had been explained.

I really liked reading about Lorccan and Alainn and would’ve preferred it if the author focused on them alone. The plot also includes some conniving on the AI front, which I cannot delve into for fear of spoiling the book. But this scheming is introduced towards the last 30% of the book and I was increasingly getting annoyed with it. Lorccan and Alainn still remain the central theme but this plot should have been foreshadowed more clearly. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to read in spite of it being introduced late into the book. Another problem I had was with the tragic backstories of the main characters not being explained clearly enough.

Rating:

I love Beauty and the Beast. I may have a few problems with the book but I found the story very fast-paced and intriguing. I was not able to put the book down at all and for giving me such an experience, I’m giving it 4 stars! 😀

Reading this book made me nostalgic and I’m singing this now about the retelling:

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise

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Do you like Beauty and the Beast? Would you read this book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments!

~ Shruti

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12 thoughts on “Ensnared by Rita Stradling

  1. I read this as well and loved it. My favorite Disney Princess was always Belle so I jumped on this as soon as it popped up on NetGalley. Will you be going to see the movie when it is released? I’ve already warned my husband that he’s going, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ikr! I can’t wait to see the movie a gazillion times and still hurt my cheeks from smiling so much at the cute moments!😁😁 (I’m also super proud of my ability to sing the whole of Gaston’s song with all the voices, too. So there’s that to look forward to. 😂)

      Like

  2. Hey Shruti! great review! I’ll try it out myself (I have a soft corner for fairy tale retellings, too). Listen, if you like ensnared, then I think you should check out the Lunar chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Book one is Cinder (retelling of Cinderella). It’s basically a futuristic retelling, with a bit of sci-fi. The next three are Scarlet (little red riding hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow white).

    Liked by 1 person

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