When you’re a genius who wakes up after a six-month coma without a lot of your memories, including sensory amnesia, you’re allowed to feel a bit lost in your own world. And so is the reader K. Aten drops deep at the heart of the matter right from the first page.
I won’t say more about the story, it would be too easy to spoil. I didn’t even read the blurb before beginning to read, I wanted my mind fresh and blank to give Aten’s imagination the space it deserves. I can’t recommend enough that you do the same and embrace the confusion. Let the author carry you away.
There’s a lot about Alex – Dr Alexandra Turing, Alan Turing’s great-niece and a roboticist whose life work is the Synthetica project – that’s reminiscent of someone on the autistic spectrum and/or with sensory issues. To be honest, there’s a lot about her that reminds me of me. And a lot that doesn’t. I can relate to the sensory issues and social awkwardness, definitely not to the seven degrees.
The story is told exclusively from Alex’s point of view. She’s got this refreshing way of seeing the world, that comes both from her memory loss and her personality. She’s also very literal, which is at times quite charming and funny. Getting to witness such a brilliant mind at work is a real treat (I’m very good at making my own brain pretend I understand all the tech stuff), but what I enjoyed the most what seeing Alex open herself to emotions and feelings, delight in food adventures, discover attraction and love. The whole story is intricate and smart in a way that made me feel my own mind work, test possibilities, make connections, yet Alex’s awakening to life and all it can offer is even better.
This book reads like a tribute to Alan Turing and Isaac Asimov, with a very well-written and quite hot romance thrown in. I’m not a huge Aten expert but I had the same exhilarating feeling reading this as with Children of the Stars, only stronger. Definitely 5*.