Ensnared by Rita Stradling tells the story of Alainn Murphy, an inventor’s daughter who is willing to sacrifice her freedom in order to keep her father out of prison. If the premise seems familiar, it’s because it is. Ensnared is a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast in which the “Beast” is a wealthy recluse, Lorccan, who suffers from a severe case of mysophobia and “Beauty” pretends to be a humanoid robot in his service since the one he commissioned from her father wasn’t ready on the day it was meant to be delivered.
The plot had potential, but it left me somewhat disappointed. The world-building was sparse at best, and many of the characters felt rather one-note. The lack of world-building doesn’t necessarily take away from the heart of the story, which is essentially a romantic tale, but it did leave me with more questions than it answered. And a definite suspension of disbelief is necessary when it comes to Lorccan believing Alainn is a robot, especially as their interactions increase.
While I wasn’t particularly fond of the pacing of this novel, it was a quick read, and the surprise twist was interesting enough to keep me reading until the story was finished. And there were definitely moments I enjoyed…no spoilers, but the monkey robots were adorable!
Fairy tale retellings are very trendy at the moment, and I think that might be part of the problem I had while reading this story. There are so many retellings to choose from that it takes a real masterpiece to stand out from the crowd. And it’s easier to nitpick when you have so much material to compare it to. That being said, I didn’t think Ensnared was bad, I just think that there’s room for improvement.
3 out of 5 flowers!
***I received a free advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration.