'Beautifully written; meaningful; top-drawer storytelling in the tradition of Atwood and Bradbury' League of Extraordinary Authors
Misty woods; abandoned towns; secrets in the landscape; a forbidden life by night; the scent of bygone days; a past that lies below the surface; and a door in a dream that seems to hold the answers.
Paftoo is a 'bod'; made to serve. He is a groundsman on the last remaining countryside estate, once known as Harkaway Hall -- now a theme park. Paftoo holds scattered memories of the old days, but they are regularly deleted to keep him productive. When he starts to have dreams of the Lost Lands' past and his cherished connection with Lifeform Three, Paftoo is propelled into a nocturnal battle to reclaim his memories, his former companions and his soul. Includes an appendix of suggested questions for reading groups.
'An extraordinary novel in the tradition of the great old school literary sci-fi' - NYT bestselling author Joni Rodgers
Plot:This novel is tightly plotted, and every tantalizing clue ultimately hangs together very well, without ever making the reader feel deceived. Readers will find themselves biting their nails worrying over how Paftoo and his horse will triumph, or at least survive. While not every question about the world, or even Harkaway Hall, is answered, most of the reveals can be attributed to Paftoo’s own limited knowledge.
Prose/Style:The prose in this book is engaging and evocative, conjuring striking images and surreal comic moments with equal skill.
Originality:The premise of a robot gaining and hiding sentience is not particularly new, but this was definitely a refreshing and remarkably human take on the concept. Using the connection with horses sets it apart from similar stories. Although this is a novel of ideas, it has its feet firmly planted in the pathos of an individual who cannot conform.
Character Development:The characterization of a mostly robot and equine cast is slow to build, but once it sets in, it works beautifully. Readers will find themselves cheering desperately for Paftoo, and may be surprised to be rooting for characters who started out as antagonists.
Blurb:A compelling tale about finding and keeping one’s soul, of the prices we pay for love, and how our worlds shape us and we shape them.
Date Submitted: April 14, 2019