Monday, September 2, 2013

A Slightly Disturbing, but Totally Engaging Sci-Fi Future

Premise: In this future world, robots are ubiquitous. Even your house talks to you. Gavin and Fleur may come from a middle class family, but even they have a family robot. But Eager is not like any other robot - he can think for himself and even has feelings. As Eager tries to understand the human world around him, Gavin and Fleur notice that the new ultra high-tech BDC4 robots are acting suspiciously. Now Gavin, Fleur, and Eager are drawn into a menacing world where robots and humans may not be as compatible as they once believed.

Title: Eager
Author: Helen Fox
Length: 280 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content Appropriate For: Grades 4-8

Three Adjectives That Describe This Book: entertaining, futuristic, nerdy

There aren't many robot-based science fiction novels for middle grades readers, and this one sets a high standard for future entries. First published in 2003, this novel has one key element that you would expect (What if robots turned on humans?), but it is far from predictable. Helen Fox creates a world that is fully believable and lot of fun.

I read three-quarters of this book in one sitting. That's how good it was. Helen Fox packs so many interesting details in these 280 pages that I was totally and quickly sucked in. From a failing robot accidentally preparing tomato soup at breakfast, to Eager's attempt to clean Baby Charlotte in the clothes washer. Eager is both humorous and dark.

Fox's world development is equally impressive. This future world has eliminated homelessness, but the gap between rich and poor is more vast than ever, with people carefully segregated into neighborhoods by career. The new technology invented by Fox adds color and reminds the reader that there are some cool things coming our way. Our characters enjoy full-body virtual reality and some really fun simulated learning environments.

And then there's the danger. The newly released high-tech robots are incredibly creepy. And the humans that love them without question are even creepier. When both humans and robots find themselves in danger, the reader can't dare to look away.

This book is a real page-turner and will have readers totally hooked on the world of robots, the adorable Eager, and the palapable dangers permeating every page.
4.5 stars

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