Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Engines of Empathy by Paul Mannering

Until this morning, Charlotte Pudding was almost happy with her life. Apart from her homicidal toaster, dead parents, and general ennui.

Well, maybe not that happy.

Either way, now that she’s on the run from a shadowy corporation, seeking the secrets of her own family history and tolerating the inanities of a retired god, things are looking a bit more interesting. 
My Rating
My Review
Although I did look at the cover and read the available summaries, I still had no idea what to expect when beginning Engines of Empathy. However, I sort of enjoyed that. For no matter what expectations I could've conjured up, none of them would've even been close to the truth - and wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable. Engines of Empathy is the kind of novel that reminds me how much I love science fiction.
The concept of "empathetic engines" is incredibly intriguing - and I haven't seen anything quite like it before. This clean source of power, running off positive emotions and energy, is interesting to read about. This opened up a new world for readers to get sucked into - with toasters that gobble up all your bread and refrigerators that sassily remind you to buy more milk. The world-building is fantastic enough, and is also completely believable, which isn't always seen in science fiction and fantasy.
From the very first line, I was captivated by the writing. Throughout the entire novel, Mannering writes with a strong voice and a beautiful amount of sarcasm - expertly balanced with strong visuals and engaging writing. The personalities of both Charlotte Pudding and Vole Drakeforth are wonderful. They are the kind of authentic characters that can ground readers in more fantastical situations, as well as the kind of characters I'd love to have coffee with. The banter between the two of them is reason enough to give this novel a chance. I loved the build between their relationship and the dialogue both of them had - always true to character and always enjoyable.
The pacing of the novel is excellent. It's likely that readers will not be able to put it down. Sometimes, especially toward the end, it felt like conflicts were resolved a tad quickly, but they were still resolved in such a perfect way otherwise, I can hardly complain. There weren't any slow points of the novel that I can recall, which is definitely a bonus in science fiction.
From dealing with religious fanatics to battling an insane and power-thirsty corporation leader to an entire conspiracy behind this "utopian" way of living, Engines of Empathy really does have something for everyone. Fans of science fiction, you've come to the right place. Not a fan of science fiction? Well, I'd give the book a try anyway. It might have you becoming one.

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