Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

ensnared-cover-rita-stradlingTitle: Ensnared

Author: Rita Stradling

Published: Expected December 18, 2017

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Kindle eBook, 380 pages

Source: NetGalley

Recommended For: Those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast with a futuristic/ science fiction twist

Goodreads Rating: 3.51

My Rating:✰✰✰

This was one of the first books that caught my eye when I had signed up for an account on NetGalley, it was definitely a cover buy. Though the second thing that had sold me on the story was that it was a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast – which, as you can tell, is one of my favorite stories. I didn’t go in to reading the book with any expectations, but wanted to see who it would shape and mold the BatB story to this new genre. I’d honestly say that if I hadn’t been told that it was a retelling, it could probably stand on it’s own since a lot of the original was swapped in some way.

**Spoilers ahead**

Some of the differences I noted that were flipped were:

  • Plain, average girl VS. a brainy beauty.
  • Good-looking friend, who may have had an interest in Alainn VS. good-looking, hyper-masculine character fawning over said girl.
  • Cybernetic monkeys who stayed their form VS. magical, spell-bound household items who turned back into people.
  • Killer robot named Rose/Rosette who tries to “fix” humanity VS. magical rose that ticked down the remaining “humanity” in the Beast.
  • Scarred man, trying to understand human connections because he was deprived of them VS. man who had human connection, but lacked the empathy that mattered.

But there was so much more that stood out as unique to the story without the connection to BatB. I was happy to see that there was a backstory to the motivations in the main character, Alainn. I wish there had been more to the backstory of Lorccan because there were events in the story that didn’t seem too fleshed out and I needed to know more. It was also refreshing to see how Artificial Intelligence was portrayed in the book – each AI had their own personalities and it didn’t seem out-of-place in the story. This retelling had bits and pieces of the original but did a fantastic job (even if later on) fitting it into a complex, scientific setting.

But I have certain feelings about the book and some things that I need to know more. Such as:

  • They did a great job of making things scientific, but why wasn’t there more backstory on why Lorccan was holed up in his tower because of an auto-immune disease. At the end of the book, it seemed like the doctors at the hospitals thought he was making things up…did his parents just make him “think” he could die at any point because they were controlling/manipulative or did he REALLY have an issue.
  • What did Alainn’s father fraud-wise to get him into so much trouble? Even though he had a gambling problem, it didn’t seem like he didn’t deliver the goods.
  • The romance between Alainn and Lorccan – even though Alainn was “sent there” to be a test for Lorccan’s physical relationship with Shelly, he was under the impression she was a robot. What are the social implications of a human and robot having “relations” in this world? She literally becomes the one thing he clings on to and doesn’t care if she’s real or not and that just sits weird with me. Also, how in the world did he not KNOW she was a human. Being around robots all the time, he really believed whatever she said?!
  • The character names. Seriously…you have normal names like Colby, Terry, Shelly, etc. and the two main characters have the most complicated names ever. Alainn and Lorccan? Just because it is science fiction, doesn’t mean that the main characters have to have “unique” names to make them stand out.

In all, I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t WOW me like others I’ve read so far – the kind of WOW that causes a book hangover. I would recommend it to others based on interests or if they made specific requests on a recommendation.

*I received an eBook ARC of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest opinion/review. I thank the author for the opportunity to be able to do so.*

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