Echo Boy by Matt Haig
Author: Matt Haig
Publishing Date: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Bodley Head
Provided by: Random House Children's Publishers UK & Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads)
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.
I've read so many sci-fi books that have been haphazardly written and altogether dull that I've come to a point where I shy away from this kind of world. However, I had read so many great reviews for Echo Boy that I though I'd try one last time to get into my sci-fi geek mode. And I'm so glad I did! Echo Boy is, quite frankly, amazing! It's AI meets The Host with a touch of iRobot, it's exciting and thrilling and that ending! But I'm getting ahead of myself... lets start with the plot.
Audrey moves into her uncle Alex's mansion after the murder of her parents. She is forced to surround herself with the things that killed them, Echos. She has to deal with the grief of loosing them and the book follows her as she discovers the truth behind their deaths. But her preconceived ideas of what makes us human is about the be questioned when she meets a peculiar Echo named Daniel.
Echo Boy is told from two separate points of view. The first is Audrey Castle, the daughter of an ani-Echo fundamentalist and niece to one of the biggest Echo manufactures - you see the problem? She's a 15 year-old who throughout the story has to deal with the murder of her parents, and stricken with grief has to adapt to the new world around her. There were moments when I wanted to shake her into existence as she almost gives up on the world but Audrey's strength throughout is something to be admired. It takes a special kind of person to make some of the decisions she has to make.
The second point of view is of an Echo named Daniel. Technically he's only a couple of months old but was made to look like a sixteen-year-old boy, with blonde hair and blue eyes. But here's the thing, Daniel wasn't built the same way other Echo's are, he's different. He's more human that the others, and that's a dangerous thing to be. The question is, is it dangerous for him or for the human's surrounding him?
I'm not usually one for multiple points of view, but this is written so effortlessly I couldn't imagine it only have Audrey or Daniels experiences. It needs both characters to tell their stories.
This book is just.. wow! The story is constantly moving forward and the emotional messages behind the words are intense. This book covers not just what it really means to be human but what it is too love and the actions pride, greed and spite can lead people too. I think a reason I loved this book as much as I did was because the love story - which was very sweet - wasn't the main focus. When reading you knew it was there, you knew it was important but not to the point where the two character's merge into one. They had their own embedded stories that had too be told, and that wasn't over shadowed by an epic love story - which is what happens in a lot of books.
It's a book I would recommend to everyone. Even if you don't usually read sci-fi I'd tell you to give this a go. It has some real grown up issues as well as a lot of guns! Oh did I not mention the action scenes before? They're pretty great!
Echo Boy is gritty at times and sweet at others. You feel for the character's and it's such an easy book to get lost in. Thank you Matt Haig for restoring my faith in science-fiction!
When reading Echo Boy I made so many notes it was ridiculous! So I thought I would share some of my favourite quotes throughout the book.
"They are the end of humanity. People who sell Echos are selling the end of the human race."
"I had always been troubled by the way Echos looked; their perfect faces and bodies. It was a perfection that I had found ugly. Beauty was about imperfection because that was what made people special."
"Maybe that is what growing up was all about. It was about changing your mind. Opening it right up. Admitting to yourself that you were wrong."
"I cared because I related to her. This girl with no parents and nowhere to truly belong in a hostile world. I cared because I could save her."
"And maybe being human wasn't even down to DNA in the end. Maybe it was just about the ability to love, when you knew love was irrational."
P.S. I'm trying something new lovelies, I've created a play list of tracks I think fit perfectly with this book. So click play and let us know what you think!