Robot Boy primarily revolves around Isaak, a boy who discovers he was not born human, but was created as a weaponized robot. One night, a girl named Azure helps him escape from a group of soldiers who are hunting him down in order to destroy him. Isaak and other robots find refuge with a secret organization called the Underground—a place where humans and robots work together towards a future where they can co-exist. Isaak struggles with the choice to hold onto his humanity and risk death or become the very thing he was made to be in order to survive.
I am a huge fan of science fiction. The title of the book and the description caught my attention, and I had very high hopes for this novel. It is described as a fast-paced and high-stakes story. Unfortunately, I believe it doesn’t deliver on that promise. The first chapter definitely drew me in. It started on a high note with plenty of action and left me curious, wanting more. However, the quick, action-packed momentum loses its steam when readers are introduced to Isaak. The pacing slows down and everything comes to a screeching halt.
Isaak is about to turn eighteen. There’s something his adoptive parents know about him that he doesn’t and they hate him for it. His mother has a sudden freak-out moment, repeatedly calling him an abomination. The scene drags on for too long and the repetition of some words become tiresome very quickly. Some authors tend to hit their readership over the head with an important concept too many times. I can only assume this is due to inexperience and/or missing or ignoring it during the editing process. The best thing authors can do for their readers is not to underestimate them. They are quite intelligent and can pick up on clues.
I personally didn’t enjoy the novel, though I always like to give something a try, either reading the first three chapters or first 100 pages (whatever comes first). In case you were wondering, I only managed 100 pages before having to call it quits. The length of the novel is too long. With some proper editing, I think it would have help morph the story into something smoother with a quicker pace. Also, it is written in such a way that it feels like a report. If you want to be a great writer and tell a great story, always remember the old school rule of storytelling: Show, don’t tell. Leave the reporting to news reporters and use more imaginary in a story to help readers care about it and its characters.
Another thing I noticed was that any character who wasn’t Isaak was merely called “he” or “she.” They’re faceless characters. Things happen to them, but I asked myself: why should I care about them? There isn’t enough background on them that makes me care about them when something good or bad happens to them. I wasn’t a fan of the mention of abuse, rape and the poor representation of a transgender character. I thought it was disrespectful and handled poorly. Ultimately, that is where I had to draw the line in the sand and stop reading. I found no enjoyment in reading this novel.
Something authors need to remember is a reader needs to feel connected to your story somehow. If they don’t care about the story or the characters, an author risks a reader’s devotion to continue reading and they’ll simply move on to something better.
*Disclosure: An advance reading copy was provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are solely my own, not that of the publisher or the author.