Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters & Leo Tolstoy

Ben H. Winters teams up with Leo Tolstoy (from beyond the grave) to bring us his soon to be classic steampunk novel, Android Karenina, through the publishing house of Quirk Classics. You may recognize Mr. Winters from his previous work with Quirk Classics, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters which he wrote with the assistance of Jane Austen.

Anna Karenina is a woman with an above average life. She has is married to a man of means, has a son, and appears for all intents and purposes to have it all. This is not the case. Anna, though she does not initially realize it, lacks love. Her husband is a good man, but he is undemonstrative, even cold toward her. Enter the handsome Count Vronsky who highlights that lack in her life and even strives to fill it. If it were not for the robots and the aliens, this would seem like a 19th Century romance.

Aren't we glad Ben added robots and aliens?

Android Karenina is Anna's Class III, a robotic companion created to be there for her every waking moment and make her life easier. The android cannot talk, but is programmed to glow to enhance the look of her mistress's outfits and provides emotional support whenever necessary. She is Anna's closest friend and confidante. Every major adult character in the book has a Class III available to them. Count Vronsky has a mechanical wolf. Anna's husband, Alexei, has a very unique Class III in that it is embedded in his face and linked to his brain.

This is not a good thing.

Besides the Class IIIs, which serve as companions to humans, there are Class Is and Class IIs. Class I's and IIs are not so much robots as mechnical devices, like the coffee pot (Samovar) and the electric shaver.

Now as for the aliens...I really do not know what to say about the aliens without giving away too much, so I will say this: Yes, there are aliens and they are important. You will just have to read the book to find out how and why. Pay close attention whenever they start talking about the Honored Guests.

So, to recap, Android Karenina is a sort of romance with robots and aliens. All that adds up to a fun read to me. Probably for you too if you're reading this blog.

In celebration of the book release, Quirk Classics is once again offering prize packs. Each person is eligible to win one of 25 prize packs worth nearly $100. The pack includes:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith [My review of PPZ:DotD]
How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith
Dracula's Heir: An Interactive Mystery by Sam Stall
Extreme Encounters by Greg Emmanuel
How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is The Antichrist by Patricia Carlin
An Android Karenina Poster

Just check out the Quirk Classics message board and mention my blog [Creative Chaos] to enter to win.

Disclosure: Written in exchange for a review copy of the book

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