Well, that was all kinds of lovely and heartbreaking and thought provoking.
If you’ve been alive long enough, then you know the pain of losing someone you love. You know how it feels to wish you could have just one more moment, hug, conversation, lifetime with that person. What if you were given a second chance?
Nothing has been the same since Isla’s sister died.
When Flora died, it was like someone had drawn a line straight through our lives. Everything was divided into Before and After; the time our family was whole and the time that it wasn’t.
Now, three years later, Flora is back. An AI version of her is, anyway, but she seems so real. She looks like Flora, down to the smallest scar. She has Flora’s memories. She even laughs like her.
But not everyone is happy that this family has been reunited.
“Who’s behind this? What do they want? And what might they do next?”
This is a story about holding on and letting go, and how the people we love never truly leave us. It also raises some big questions. What makes us who we are? Is it our memories, our relationships, the way the people in our lives perceive us?
“Can anyone ever describe someone as they actually are, not just how we see them?”
Can robots ever truly experience emotion? Can technology ever replicate what makes us human and, if it can, what rights should AI humans be afforded?
The ability Flora had to comprehend her situation, including its limitations, and the exploration of the rights of AI reminded me of Mia and the other synths in Humans.
I didn’t entirely buy Marisa’s actions towards the end of the book and I wanted more information about the person who was behind the threats to Flora. Neither prevented me from powering through this book, though. I also may have teared up slightly at the end.
I really enjoyed the bond between Isla and Ùna, her younger sister. I loved Flora’s complexity and ways she both integrated herself into the family and became her own being as the story progressed. My favourite robot, though, was Stephen; his role was small but his attitude was big.
“I really believe that what we’re doing with Project Homecoming will change the world.”
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
On a small island off the Scottish coast, Isla and her family are grieving the loss of her older sister Flora, who died three years ago. Then they’re offered the chance to be part of a top-secret trial, which revives loved ones as fully lifelike AI robots using their digital footprint.
Isla has her doubts about Second Chances, but they evaporate the moment the ‘new’ Flora arrives. This girl is not some uncanny close likeness; she is Flora – a perfect replica. But not everyone on their island feels the same. And as the threats to Flora mount, she grows distant and more secretive. Will Isla be able to protect the new Flora and bring the community back together?