Colorless by Rita Stradling

Colorless

Title: Colorless

Author: Rita Stradling

Publisher: Rita Stradling Books

Date of publication: August 8th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Number of pages: 286

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Colorless

Hazel – Prequel

Colorless – Book 1

Where you can find Colorless: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her. 

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old. 

Their only target: Annabelle.

Trigger Warning: None

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Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Ensnared

Title: Ensnared

Author: Rita Stradling

Publisher: Kindle Press

Date of publication: March 6th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction

POV: 3rd person

Number of pages: 380

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

My review:

This book was very interesting to read but I really wouldn’t compare it to Beauty and the Beast. Honestly, I would compare it to more I, Robot than anything. I mean, I get where the Beauty and the Beast lines were drawn: a beautiful woman trapped by scarred (physically and mentally) man but that is it.

What I really enjoyed was the usage of robots and AI’s in the book. I also like that Rose, the main AI, was self-sufficient and admitted to starting on rewriting her programming. It was at that point where I went “Oh no” and started reciting the 3 rules of robotics to myself:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Just based on these rules of robotics and the fact that at least one of them were broken within the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. Seeing that AI’s are becoming more commonplace in daily lives (hello, Cortona, Siri, Alexa/Echo!!!), I was pretty interested to see where the author would take this book and I wasn’t disappointed.

I really felt that Alainn didn’t have a choice to masquerade as Rose when given the choice. Actually, she wasn’t given the choice. Rose, the AI, basically told her to do it or her father would go to jail. All Alainn wanted to do was to go back to work on the ski patrol and not clean up her dad’s mess (not delivering Rose as promised to Lorcann). But she did it because she loved her father and she wanted to keep him out of jail.

Lorcann was messed up. He never leaves his tower and only has automatons and AI’s as companions. He is a germaphobe (requires everyone to be decontaminated before they enter the tower). I put the way he is on his parents. They never let him leave, installed a fear of germs and I believe abused him (there was one scene where he was getting beaten by his mother). Let’s not mention the scars on his face. The whole side of his face is scarred. It really wasn’t gotten into about why he was scarred. If it was an accident or if the scars were done intentionally. He believed that he was a beast. His only relationship is with a woman that he talks to over the phone. Until Alainn, under the guise of being Rose, enters the tower.

I thought that the romance between Alainn and Lorcann was kinda creepy at first. I mean, he thought she was an AI that was programmed to be absolutely humanlike. She, however, was there to buy her father time to finish Rose. But it happened, as creepy as it was. I really thought, during certain scenes, that Lorcann had caught onto Alainn’s ruse. Oh, was I wrong.

The AI’s were split between those that obeyed the three rules of robotics and those that didn’t. I actually felt bad for Rosebud, Lorcann’s house management AI. I had thought the whole time that she was working against Alainn when she was trying to help her and ended up getting hijacked by Rosette and Rose.

The last half of the book was nail-biting. I mean, I was on the edge of my seat and was literally cheering Alainn on. There were a few plots twists that were thrown in that actually made sense and gave me more insight into Alainn’s character.

The author didn’t end the book after the rescue (consider this a clue). Everything after that was a build to the second climax of the book. I have never read a book where the author has successfully had two climaxes in the same book. So be warned when you think there is a lull. It isn’t and the other climax is something that I didn’t expect. All I am going to say about that. Read the book!!

How many stars will I give Ensnared: 4

Why: I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast paced with characters that you actually like and a plot line that is engaging.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**