Audrey’s father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo – but he’s not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he’s determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.
At the end of 2013, I rambled and raved about how much I loved The Humans and then posted an adoring review of it earlier this year. It was easily one of my favourite books last year so I was extremely excited to be approved for Haig’s first foray into the world of YA fiction on NetGalley.
Daniel is a stronger character and much more interesting but isn’t exactly perfect. I loved how he was an echo (the name used for robots) but so irrepressibly human, an individual experiment designed to imitate emotion. It’s all well done; is it our feelings and desires and flaws that make us human or is it our flesh and bones? The only point I wasn’t sold on was Daniel and Audrey’s relationship. I know that Haig can write believable, meaningful love but this wasn’t it. I was ready to buy into Daniel being more than a robot and I would have bought into his being able to love but, as ever, I just can’t get on board with InstaLove.
I sound like I’m moaning. I’m not trying to, I’m just trying to say that this is a good book and that how much you enjoy it will probably depend upon what you’re expecting (i.e. whether or not you’ve read and loved that book that I’ll try not to mention again until I wrap up…). I like the ideas and Haig is a great writer so they’re done well, just in a way that I felt lacked depth. I wanted more of Daniel, more of his background and more on the world and the background. There was a bit set in a zoo that featured creatures (including some Neanderthals) brought back from extinction that was both fascinating and kind of heart-breaking and it was over too soon. So this is a good, light touch sort-of moral book with plenty of action and some classic bad guy behaviour but it wasn’t the tear-jerking, twisty science fiction tale that it I really felt like it could have been.
Date finished: 04 March 2014
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley – thanks, Bodley Head Children’s Books!
Genre: Science fiction; YA fiction
Pictured edition published: by Bodley Head Children’s Books in February 2014