Sunday 26 August 2018

REVIEW: Jinxed by Amy McCulloch

Pages: 323
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 9th 2018
Buy The Book: Book Depository - A Great Read

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  "baku" - a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn't been accepted into Profectus - the elite academy for cutting edge tech - it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems ... real.

Jinxed is set in the not-too-far-off future, in a world that has advanced past the general use of smartphones. Inventor, Monica Chan, was inspired by her addiction to her smartphone to create robotic, animal companions that are able to do everything that a smartphone could, and more. These animals have become part of everyday life for people all around the world.

Our main character in this story is Lacey Chu. A creator herself, Monica is her ultimate hero. She dreams of working for the company that Monica started, Moncha, the company that her father also used to work for. Her ambitious and determined nature is something I admired about her character throughout the story. She had a goal that she would do anything to reach, but I appreciated how her opinions shifted as she learned more about the situation around her. 

Lacey discovers an abandoned cat baku and rebuilds it, calling it Jinx. I adored Jinx just as much as Lacey did. His witty comments were brilliant, and I was on edge waiting to find out what would happen to him next. Lacey’s growing bond with Jinx is one of the highlights of this story. With Jinx at her side, she ends up going to her dream school, Profectus

At Profectus, Lacey finds a friend in fellow student, Tobias. It’s pretty clear from the moment he’s introduced that he’s going to be a love interest, so there is a hint of romance within their story. What was more important to me, though, was Lacey’s relationship with her best friend, Zora, and her growing friendship with her whole team at Profectus.
  • Engineering. Lacey is a scientific badass with creator skills to be envied. We need more Mechanical Queens in YA.
  • Friendship. The friendship between Lacey and Zora is adorable and I want more of it. Also, the bond between people and their bakus is so interesting. Which leads me to…
  • Bakus. Oh boy, do I want a baku. Like, today. The idea of reaching a certain age and then getting to hurl your phone across a room to go and get a cute animal replacement? Count me in.
  • Mystery. There are so many things to wonder about in this story, and we end up with more questions than answers by the end of it. I’m not saying prepare yourself for a cliffhanger before you delve into this book, but be warned.
This is such an exciting concept that I had a feeling I’d love it before I even turned the first page. And I was right. There were chapters I absolutely could not put down, and the fast-paced ending had me on edge. The only thing that didn’t really work as much as the rest of the story for me was the romance between Lacey and Tobias. For some reason, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between them. But this is the first in a series, so I’ll probably change my mind further down the line!

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