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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Blog Tour - The Beast and The Bethany

 Blog Tour Review - The Beast and The Bethany

Written by Jack Meggitt-Phillips and illustrated by Isabelle Follath.

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .

The Beast and The Bethany is a horrible book, about a horrible man who tries to feed a horrible girl to a horrible beast. It's also absolutely brilliant!

Jack Meggitt-Phillips has filled this short novel with a really dark, macabre humour, the kind associated with Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket. No punches get pulled. People and pets alike get eaten up with gleeful relish. (As in pleasure, I don't remember the beast ever actually using relish.) There is a definite shortage of sympathetic characters, with the supporting cast including a very mercenary and rather mean spirited pet shop owner and a thoroughly greedy, unpleasant lady who runs the orphanage. Bethany herself, the young girl desired as a meal, is mean, spiteful and bullying and Ebenezer Tweezer is really rather nasty himself.

There's something so fun about reading about such deeply unpleasant characters, and The Beast and The Bethany really pulls that off so well. The humour is spot on, and somehow it never feels unpleasant, no matter how unpleasant the subject material really is. 

And somehow, despite all of their flaws, I couldn't help feeling for both Bethany and Ebenezer. That's the really clever trick in all this. Without excusing them or forcing them along redemption arcs, somehow I just didn't want Bethany to be eaten or Ebenezer to die of being 512 years old. 

Most of the illustrations weren't included in my proof copy, sadly, but the ones that did were enough to see that a fully illustrated final copy will be quite awesome. I really like Isabelle Follath's art in here, and she really captures the rather manic, madcap feel of the story.

The Beast and The Bethany is darkly comic with a fantastic cast of perfectly horrid characters.

I'm giving it five moons



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