Meet Emily – she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind’s deepest secrets and even fix your truck’s air con, but unfortunately, she can’t restart the Sun.
She’s an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.
I really liked Emily, an artificial consciousness (not an A.I.) designed to assist humans overcome traumatic situations. Emily is in huge demand right at the start of the book, when humanity is grappling with the knowledge that the sun is going to die in a matter of weeks – and so are they. Interestingly, the book is told from Emily’s viewpoint in first person pov, so we get a ringside seat to Emily’s thoughts. To be honest – while I consciously suspended my disbelief while reading the book, I wasn’t completely convinced by her to the extent that I could simply relax into the storyline without considering whether she actually worked. It wasn’t a dealbreaker and there is a lot about the book that I thoroughly enjoyed – but it would have been a 5 star rating from me if I’d been able to accept the whole premise.
That said, Emily is very likeable – smart, empathetic and clearly concerned about the humans she has grown up around in her 5-year-old life at the university lab where she works alongside a dedicated team of scientists and students. One of the things I love about this book is the pacing. I didn’t read the blurb, so found the initial plight – Sunmaggedon, as it’s called – both riveting and enjoyable. Just as I was settling down to discover how the university are going to use Emily to help with the desperate situation, it all turns into something else as another agenda forces itself onto the scene. The horror and violence was well done – sufficiently engrossing to keep the pace up and the pages turning, but not too much so that Emily is completely overwhelmed, thus slowing everything down.
The next plot twist – which I won’t reveal because it takes us into Spoiler territory – again, caught me unawares with a development I thoroughly enjoyed. However I found the romance between Emily and Jason annoying, to the extent that I was a tad disappointed when I discovered that he hadn’t died during a major incident near the beginning of the book.
The final plot development wasn’t one that wholly convinced me, though at no stage was I tempted to walk away. If you enjoy science fiction at the quirkier end, with a strong non-human protagonist, give this adventure a go. You may find Emily more believable than I did, but even if you have reservations, this is a brave book aiming high with an ambitious concept that I mostly enjoyed. The ebook arc copy of Emily Eternal was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
This be the second review I have seen for this book and I must admit that I be conflicted about reading it. The relationship with Jason seemed to be a problem for both of ye and the not all of the plot elements seemed to work. But the idea is very intriguing so I am wondering if I should read it as a concepts novel and plan accordingly. I shall continue to ponder but I enjoyed this review very much. Arrrr!
x The Captain
Thank you for your kind comment about the review, Cap:). I think it’s definitely worth reading for the concepts within it – it’s clearly flawed, but there is a lot to applaud about the book.
I had never even heard of this until I saw it on Lynn’s blog, but I’m intrigued. Also I’m curious how the author handles a story when everyone’s going to die in a few weeks!
Yes – he certainly set himself some major difficulties to overcome! It was a certainly a roller-coaster ride.
I liked this for a whole lot of reasons, but, I had little issues – I couldn’t get on board with the romance, I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around it and it felt a little like a book of two halves and I’m not sure even now which one I liked the best!
Yes… I think our response to this one is similar. I enjoyed it and he so nearly pulled it off – but that romance didn’t work for me and neither did the ending.
I read a book similar to this and enjoyed the idea. Curious about this one now:)
Yes – you might find Emily convinces you more than it did me, Laura. And there is much in this book that does work – the premise is very intriguing:)
Glad to hear that this one still worked for you overall even with those few issues. That’s really a shame about the romance, although I did get a chuckle out of your comment about being disappointed Jason hadn’t died, haha.
I know! I probably shouldn’t have wished him dead – but I did find that an aspect where my imagination stuttered, somewhat.
“brave” and “ambitious” sound like enough motivation to give this story a try.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
You’re welcome, Maddalena:). I did find this one an intriguing read.
Man the plot summary had me sold on this , but then you wrote how it failed to be convincing and there’s a bad romance . That’s sad . I am unsure if I should read this , coz judging by your score it’s an average book , and I am wondering if I should spend time reading an average book when hundreds of highly recommended books are stagnant in my TBR list 😔
I completely understand your standpoint, Rash. What I wanted to convey is that despite those issues, I still enjoyed the book.
The idea sounds quite intriguing, but why would there be a romance? Wonderful review Sarah.
Thank you, Carla! And that was my question… particularly as it was this element that stretched my conviction in Emily to breaking point.
Any romantic subplot involving artificial programs tends to be a hit or miss for me, so I’m on the fence about this one. I really do love the sound of the premise, though!
Yes – and there are swathes of this book that really held me. If only it hadn’t been for that wretched Justin *sigh*
Well, this book sounds “different” from what I usually read, but I’ve noted the title and author should I feel the need to expand my choices. Excellent review (as always).
Thank you for your kind words, Rae:)). I’d be fascinated to hear your views, should you decide to have a go with this one.