Heat Factor: Hot A.I. countertop sex
Character Chemistry: He’s programmed to trust her, and she’s got a heart of gold, so it’s kind of inevitable
Plot: Girl meets A.I. next door
I had signed up for Audible Escape, and I’d seen quite a bit of buzz about this when it was released, so I decided to scope it out. Unlike most audiobooks that are read by one or two narrators (like if there’s a male/female perspective switch between chapters), this audiobook has more of a cast and sound effects, with Regina Hall performing most of the narration from Trinity’s perspective, but there are also points when Feodor Chin performs narration as Le Wei and there’s a cameo from Mindy Kaling as another A.I. This is a very long way of saying that listening to this book is fun.
Other than knowing that Trinity lives across the hall from a young man who’s kind of weird, and who turns out to be an A.I., I knew nothing about this story. Turns out, the planet has become something of a dystopian world that’s managed by the Hive, and of course there are all kinds of computer systems built in to make life run more smoothly…or spy on everyone.
The whole story takes place in the apartment complex where Trinity and Li Wei live, so we don’t get a robustly in depth vision of this society, but Cole paints enough of a picture to give us some feelings about what this society is like. We know something is hinky, and we don’t want to expose Le Wei to the authorities because bad things will happen.
Trinity is recovering from some kind of injury, but on the surface she seems absolutely normal. Young woman working, doing therapy, washing laundry, etc. She’s a delightful character, especially as she tries to figure out what the heck is going on with Li Wei. For his part, Li Wei is totally interesting simply by virtue of the fact that he’s an A.I. trying to figure out how to be human. His storyline is great.
And of course, this is a romance. You may ask, “How is a robot getting it on with a human sexy? How does that even work?” And the answer is, “This is a book, so you can imagine whatever you want, including skin and functioning sex organs. And also Li Wei is not a robot, he is totally adorable and also kinda hot, especially when he stops acting so computer-y and starts acting like a sexy young man.” Although, I’m gonna be honest, the computer-y thing is its own kind of attractive.
There I was, listening along, trying to figure out what was going on with Trinity and Li Wei, and then the end coalesced and I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!
Cole also pulls a future imagined reality of humanity not getting serious about its current problems, like global warming. She also touches on the ethics of being in a position of power over another entity (i.e. A.I. are programmed to be subservient to humans). It’s a nice mix of “let’s think about these uncomfortable possibilities” and a fun, sexy story. So if you listen to it, I think you’ll have fun with it.
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