“My vision is a society where autonomous, intelligent bots are as commonplace as computers are now. Think about that—how different our world could be. A world where disease, hunger, manufacturing, design, are all taken care of by AI. “
Why Did I Read This Book?
This book was the first book of the new book club run by Quite Literary! The book club is focused on reading contemporary fiction and discussing these novels with fellow bibliophiles over on Facebook.
I hadn’t heard of the book or author beforehand, and I always love finding new writers to learn about, as I find it very interesting to read about how authors get their inspiration to write books. JP Delaney, so I found out, has many intriguing novels out there and The Perfect Wife is certainly one of them.
What Did I Think?
I had no idea that this book was about robots and artificial intelligence. I had some strange idea that it was about plastic surgery (?!) but how wrong I was. The book follows a robot (or cobot as they are referred to in the book) who has been created by a tech whizz, Tim Scott, to replace his missing, and presumed dead, wife. Yet, it is believed that Tim was the one to kill her. The robotic Abbie has been created to help Tim find his beloved wife, but in doing so, things don’t quite seem to add up and secrets that Tim has fought so hard to keep hidden, begin to unfold.
I have never read a book like this where we are reading the robot’s narrative. Was it believable? I’m not sure. In some parts it was, especially at the start when everything and every behaviour was explained to Robot Abbie because she was very new to all this, but as the book progressed, her narrative began to feel like a human’s because of all the emotions and thinking involved. Could a robot feel/think like that?
That brings me nicely onto my next point. This book really sparked some interesting and deep thinking when it comes to AI, the future of technology and what that means to us and our lives. It is interesting to think how our lives have changed and been shaped by technological advancements during the last century, and as intelligence and data only continues to grow and strengthen, who knows what our society will look like in the next century. Will robots roam our streets and become second-nature to us, just like computers? If so, in terms of rights, where do they stop being robots and become human in terms of the law?
JP Delaney is very clever in the way he explores people’s fears about the future of technological advancements through this novel, making us constantly questions how far is too far? Is creating a robot version of your wife too far? Probably, but if it means that you could have your loved one back forever, what would you choose?
Although it is written so well and the themes explored are extremely thought-provoking, I did struggle with one part of the story. The uploads and memories. Tim uploads memories to Robot Abbie but how does he have hold of these memories to upload them. Even memories of her as a child and adolescent self, when Tim was not around. This bit for me didn’t make sense and made my brain hurt when I tried to think of the science behind it. I think JP Delaney could have explained this a little more in order to make the concept more believable.
I did thoroughly enjoy this read and I will let you decide on what you think of the ending. For me, I expected more and I had worked out what would happen in a few chapters before reading it. The book definitely kept me on edge and by the end, I didn’t trust anyone. Absolutley no character in this book, for me, was trustworthy and I loved that because it resulted in me not knowing where the next twist would come from.
Overall a different read to what I would normally go for and a great book if you are into your science fiction thrillers!