Tag: Dystopian

Audiobook Review: Annie Bot by Sierra Greer

Annie Bot
Author: Sierra Greer

Narrator: Jennifer Jill Araya
Published: March 19, 2024
Audiobook: 9 hours 31 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: April 22-26, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

A powerful, provocative novel about the relationship between a female robot and her human owner, exploring questions of intimacy, power, autonomy, and control.

Annie Bot was created to be the perfect girlfriend for her human owner Doug. Designed to satisfy his emotional and physical needs, she has dinner ready for him every night, wears the pert outfits he orders for her, and adjusts her libido to suit his moods. True, she’s not the greatest at keeping Doug’s place spotless, but she’s trying to please him. She’s trying hard.

She’s learning, too.

Doug says he loves that Annie’s AI makes her seem more like a real woman, so Annie explores human traits such as curiosity, secrecy, and longing. But becoming more human also means becoming less perfect, and as Annie’s relationship with Doug grows more intricate and difficult, she starts to wonder: Does Doug really desire what he says he wants? And in such an impossible paradox, what does Annie owe herself?

Jessica’s Review:

Wow,  Annnie Bot is a book that will make you think… A lot!  It is Science Fiction that will one day become fact. It shows how AI can develop (I mean AI is getting a lot of attention now.  James Cameron tried to warn us about AI: Skynet IS real and coming for us all!  Beware of the Terminators!)

But seriously, this was a very good read.  It was hard at times to remember that Annie is a robot, she seems so real: And the emotion she has!  I kept reminding myself that this is a robot as the story progressed.  Robots apparently can have ‘real’ feelings. She’s a ‘cuddle bunny’ robot (AKA robot sex toy and we do get a lot of human/ robot sex in this novel).

We see how their ‘relationship’ goes and what happens when Annie has to go in for ‘check ups’.  This is an intriguing world Annie and her owner Doug live in. We get to go inside Annie’s ‘mind’ and ‘thoughts’ with the narration. We see her learn and gain more knowledge and, in some ways, become more human over the course of the novel.

This could definitely be a Dark Mirror episode! Except the ending would have to be darker. In some ways the ending was disappointing, give me more dark drama!!  Give me some more thrills. There was nothing wrong with the ending, that’s just me and what I like: Give me all the thrills and suspense!

I also enjoyed the Jennifer Jill Araya’s narration. She did a very good job ‘bringing Annie to life’ for the reader.

This is a very feminist story, but not overly preachy. As previously stated, once you are done reading Annie Bot, you will be thinking about it afterwards.

Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy to listen to and review. I give it for solid stars! This is Sierra Greer’s debut novel and I look forward to see what she has coming in the future!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK 

Audiobook Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox
Author:  Christina Dalcher

Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published: August 21, 2018
Audiobook
: 9 Hours 27 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 5-10, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Audiobook Description:

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is just the beginning…not the end.

Jessica’s Review:

I don’t think of myself as a feminist, but dang, this book got my blood boiling! In a future America where women have literally been silenced in multiple ways: They can’t have a job, vote, travel, use a computer or even read. And even more: They cannot speak more than 100 words a day. Females of all ages (even little children) have to wear a wristband that counts down how many words they utter. Once the counter reaches zero the women receive an electric shock and ff they continue to speak the shock becomes even stronger until… well we do actually see what happens in one case. 

This America has The Pure Movement which is responsible for everything. Yes, this book has political and religious undertones to it.  Many people think of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are totally silent and men make all of the decisions everywhere, including the home.  It’s not just women who are silenced: There are punishments for premarital sex and extramarital sex.  But it is just the women who are punished. Homosexuality has also been deemed a choice and there are camps where the LGTBQ persons are housed. They are housed in rooms with one man and one woman and are expected to reverse their ‘decisions’ and become heterosexual again. 

Our MC is Dr. Jean McClellan who has four children: Three boys and one young girl, so she is getting opinions from all sides. One of those sides comes from her own son who doesn’t seem to have any issue with The Pure Movement. He even tells Jean his plans with a girl. And Jean says, “what does she (the girl) have to say about that?!?” I’m sure not much since females can’t utter more than 100 words a day!

I also like that Jean is realistic but also far from perfect. We also see how her decisions affect how events occur.

This is a strong debut novel from Dalcher, though the second half was almost like a second weaker story for me.  It was piggybacking off of the original story but going in its own way. There were also a lot of science terms used that might be confusing for some readers. I think listening to the book helped me versus if I had been reading it.  I was still invested in it and found myself listening to the book whenever I was able to!

Dalcher seems to like to write about controversial subjects looking at some of the other books she has written: Master Class which deals with standardized testing in the school system and The Sentence which deals with prosecutors seeking the death penalty put their lives on the line if the guilty are later found innocent. Both of those books I plan on reading/ listening to!

Julia Whelan is the narrator for Vox, and I can’t say anything bad about her! I just love her and could listen to anything she narrates!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Audiobook Review: Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Tender is the Flesh
Author: Agustina Bazterrica

Narrator: Joseph Balderrama
Published: August 4, 2020
Audiobook: 6 hours 44 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To:  September 27-29, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

Jessica’s Review:

 This is a novella at just over 200 pages or 4.5 hours long for the audiobook and it packs a punch the entire time!  I had read some about it so I hoped I had mentally prepared myself for it: and that worked! Tender is the Flesh is definitely not for everyone: It is not for the squeamish.  It is extremely gory, brutal, yet also thought provoking. It also brings up a lot of emotions just because of the topic: Humans being bred, farmed, and processed as animals once were. 

There are trigger warnings for just about everything: Be fair warned this would also be some spoilers, but I knew about these and didn’t feel like I was spoiled:

Cannibalism
Gore and violence
Mistreatment of humans
Sexual assault
What can happen to pregnant ‘women’ (mentioned in detail)
Animal Cruelty/Torture. 

**Please note that I was most relieved to know about the animal instance because if I had not known, I don’t know how I would have reacted.  It was still exceedingly tough to listen to and I very nearly skipped over that part. But I can say I did make it through.  Let’s just say if I had not known in advance about this short section I would have wanted John Wick to make an appearance in the book!

In this dystopian world, a virus has spread across all animals worldwide and humans can no longer eat them. If they eat animals then humans will die. Now Cannibalism is mainstream and legal. Eating human meat is called “special meat”. We have Marcos our main character who works in a processing plant, so we see first-hand how humans have become our meat source. This could be considered slow moving, but Bazterrica seemingly covered every detail for her readers in regards to this world.  Marcos wife has left him, and he works at the plant to earn money for his ailing father.

One day he is unexpectedly/illegally given a ‘gift’ of a female FGP (First Generation Pure), the most expensive kind there is. Marcos at first doesn’t know what to do with her. This is in essence the book.  We have multiple instances of cannibalism described which left much to be desired for this listener. So much of this book was hard to swallow, but it was like a train wreck: Once I started it I couldn’t stop! I wanted to see what was going to happen, though I had an idea of what was going to happen about halfway through and that thought ended up being correct. What was mean for shock value at the end was not for me because I had it figured out.  (Dang it- I hate it when I figure out the big twist!) 

This novella is thought provoking in so many ways: Would YOU eat human meat!?!? Could you bring yourself to do it?  How far has mankind fallen for Cannibalism to be so mainstream and not a big deal at all?  Thinking these kinds of things can cause you to just lose your appetite.

There was one small side story that was abandoned I would have love to see expanded on: A conspiracy theory exists that the virus was faked by the governments so society could devolve and ease overpopulation.  Maybe this small mention would be for a sequel? If that came to pass, yes I would read it!

The narrator is Joseph Balderrama and he did a fantastic job!  There were a few humorous parts in the novel which I didn’t expect. He really brought Marcos to life for me.  Just because of the general topic, this book must have been a challenge to narrate.

Will I read Tender is the Flesh again? No. Am I glad I listened to it? Yes.  If you think you might want to read this one, please take heed of everything I said in this review. I only gave it four stars because I figured out the ‘shocking ending’ otherwise it would have been 5 stars.   This is a book that will definitely stay with you after you have finished it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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