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This would have to be one of the freshest and most entertaining books that I have read this year. Quirky and fun – it had elements of Jasper Fforde’s “Thursday Next” books and Douglas Adams’ “Dirk Gently”, with the added spice of originality.
I loved the world that Charlotte Pudding lives in, a world in which technology was run by emotion. A world in which if you were gloomy and negative your toaster would burn (or eat) the toast, a world in which cars required therapy. The concept of sentient, even slightly sentient, everyday objects appealed to me, and brings with it its own code of ethics.
It starts with a misbehaving toaster and an old writing desk. With the introduction of the well-dressed but seemingly insane Vole Drakeforth and an invasion from a pair of antique collectors who are more than they seem, Charlotte’s life is turned upside-down. The answers may lay in the hands of the anti-empath-tech Arthurian sect, or perhaps in the very heart of the Godden Energy Corporation. Either way, everyone suddenly seems very interested in Charlotte and her writing desk, and you’re in for a roller-coaster ride as she tries to unpick the pieces, solve the puzzle – and maybe just save the world.
Madcap entertainment at its best. Highly recommended for a quick read that will hook you from the get-go and keep you racing for the climax, with surprises at every turn.
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
Engines of Empathy
by Paul Mannering
Published by Paper Road Press
For distribution enquiries, please contact Paul Greenberg from Greene Phoenix Publishing.