by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters
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Android Karenina is set in the late 1800's, the same time period as the original Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. But I do not think Tolstoy ever pictured his Russia quite like this one. Groznium has greatly changed the way people live. Everything that isn't human is basically a robot. From the simple Class I's, like the I/Mouse/9, that keeps pests away, to the Class II's, such as the II/Governess/D145, that teaches the children, to the Class III's, the robot companions to the wealthy. The lights are even simple Class I's. The streets are guarded by ever vigilant 77's.
They search day and night for Janus's, or traitors, and members or traps of the UnConSciya. A militant group that has formed of mainly scientists who feel the government is not doing enough to forward scientific
Now instead of simple balls, they dance at "floats" Where gusts of air propel the dancers up high over the heads of fellow guests so that they may "fly" through the air. The wealthy are attended by their Class III's.
Each one "built-to-suit, their qualities created to match the needs of the recipient". They also are able to light up or dress to match or off set their human in the most attractive ways. They also love their humans and without them are lost and incomplete. So they do whatever is in their power to protect them.
But beneath this beautiful technological dream there are still cracks.
There is the UnConSciya. They attack indiscriminately and without warning. Only the rich, or upper class receive Class III's. They have become so dependant on them that they no longer use their own memories. Instead they record them and have their companions play them back for them. Without them they are "forced to remember in the way of children", with their minds. And then there are the "Honored Guests". Beings who some believe watch over the human race and will someday come for them in
three unnamed ways.
And in this futuristic Russia of the past we meet Anna and Vronsky. Two star crossed lovers, who none the less decide to go against society, as well as their own family's, to be with one another. Little do they know they are fighting the future as well as the past in their efforts to be together. While being the main characters, they are not the only ones.
There are also Levin and Kitty. Two others whose own love story plays out alongside Anna and Vronsky's. And is irrevocably tied to Anna and Vronsky's as well although none of them realize it. As well as the Oblonsky's, Stiva and Dolly. Who are prime examples of how an average couple from that time frame would behave, and why they would behave that way.
The story as a whole it took me a moment to get into. I think the biggest reason was because I was struggling to let go of the fact that I had not read the original yet and kept feeling that maybe I was missing something, or maybe I should be comparing the two. To anyone who decides to read this book may I say: DON'T.
Android Karenina is a stand alone novel in it's own right.
Should you try to compare the two it will take away the enjoyment you could get from it. That being said once I got over that little issue I really enjoyed this book.
I loved the way the characters were exceptionally well developed, and stayed true to form. If they made decisions at the end of the book that would have differed from their original out looks in the beginning it's because they themselves had grown and evolved and you were with them when they did. As for the characters themselves I know it is probably horrible
to say but as a person I really didn't like Anna. I felt she was selfish and cruel. All the characters start out a little self absorbed but a few actually learn to become better people. In my opinion not Anna.
However by the end of the novel, while I still really didn't like Anna, I did feel sorry for her. Just like one of her beloved androids she really had no control over her own life, and everyone deserves to be able to live their life on their own terms.
This book has definite plot twists and turns, and while I suspected the villain from the start, the end itself even left me surprised.
*spoiler alert -end*
If you love steam punk definitely pick up this book. If you love historical romances or fiction, definitely pick this one up. If you love books that give an honest view of its characters as people and is well written and even insightful into the human nature, again pick up this book.
Based on this one alone I am definitely putting the rest of Quirk'sbooks on my list. I have even picked up a copy of Anna Karenina, however I doubt Tolstoy will redeem her as well as Winter's decided to.
Review post created for SteamPink event by AimeeKay of How can you help?
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fyi: paperback is currently $4.94 at the amazon
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