Friday 5 August 2016

Book Review of Automaton by C.L. Davies

Book Title: Automaton
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 200
Author: C.L. Davies
Date Published: 15 November 2011


In the not too distant future, after the huge successes of role-playing games and virtual worlds such as ‘The Sims’ and ‘Second Life’ and reality shows such as ‘Big Brother’, it was only a matter of time before somebody took the next step.

A remote island. An android population existing only to entertain. Their lives broadcast around the clock and around the globe. Their actions dictated by their owners. It’s the world’s biggest game played by thousands. Welcome to 'Gameworld'.

Dean 3012 is a good guy living on the Island. He loves his girlfriend, Lily, to pieces. With their first baby on the way, life is perfect. But when things take a sinister turn, the couple are plunged into a world of darkness and despair. Dean must somehow find a way to take control and fight for all their lives. Amelia watches the game, given the gift of a droid when she was but a small child. However, when her character’s happiness is threatened, how far will Amelia go to protect her?


AutomatonAutomaton by C.L. Davies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a very interesting story. I really enjoyed it.

Dean and Lily are interesting characters. They are characters who live in a virtual reality game, though they do not know this. In their world, they are living their own lives and are unaware of the outside world who watch them with close scrutiny. When Dean's owner sends a new instruction, it creates a ripple affect and lives are changed forever.

I have been wanting to read this book for some time. However, due to my rather large reading list, I have only recently been able to do so.

I started to read this book and was quickly hooked. In a way, this story reminded me of the computer game The Sims. It also reminded me of two movies: The Truman Show and Westworld. The author has taken a look at the "what if" scenario of what consists of virtual reality. If we lived in a game, would we know? And, if we did, what we do to survive? However, she has also explored the darker side of obsession, in this case Lily's 'owner', Amelia. Amelia is possessive and protective of Lily and when Dean's owner throws a spanner in the works by making him do something that threatens Dean's and Lily's relationship, Amelia becomes bent on revenge. What follows is a chilling tale that made me rather uncomfortable. So much so that I had to put the book down on more than one occasion. It has a very dark undertone that unsettled me. However, I had to keep reading in order to find out what was happening next.

This story is told through various points of view, which, although this gave the reader a broader understanding on what was going on, also caused confusion as I struggled to remember which characters were in the game and who was in the real world.
James Madison is the creator of Gameworld and the characters within it. Although he is only in a few scenes, I did like him even though I don't think he sees the characters he creates as real. He doesn't have an emotional connection to them and is a businessman through and through. However, the public love his Gameworld and have created an emotional bond with their characters. It is the modern equivalent of watching a television soap opera or Big Brother and the viewers developing feelings for the characters, though also having control of the characters' themselves. Scary!

My only complaint is that I struggled to form an emotional attachment to the majority of characters. The only one I felt anything for was Dean. This made it extremely difficult for me when I reached the end of the book, as I was left slightly disappointed in the way it concluded. However, other readers may have a different experience to myself.

C.L. Davies has written an interesting science fiction novel that takes a chilling look at virtual reality games and what can happen when it becomes all too real for those who live in them and for them. I enjoyed her fast paced writing style, though felt that the flow was somewhat compromised by having too many characters. Nevertheless, I would consider reading more of her books in the future.

Due to scenes of violence, I do not recommend this book for younger readers. However, I recommend this book if you love science fiction or horror genres. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


About The Author:

Born in Ashford in 1978, C.L. Davies moved with her family to the Isle of Man when aged five. She obtained her degree in English Lit at the University of Hertfordshire, and returned to the Island and qualified as a teacher. She has taught in a local primary school for nine years.

Davies loves the Manx countryside, and her small but gorgeous garden. She's a little obsessed with palm trees. As a demented but doting first-time mum, much of her time is spent caring for her new baby, who is both beautiful and bonkers! She's the centre of her world and the reason for everything Davies does.

Davies lives happily with baby beautiful, the spirit of their much-missed cat, Pudge, and fiance Dean.

She is the author of the acclaimed book Automaton and upcoming novel Resonance.

Unbelievably, Dean is yet to read the book ...

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