Book Review: I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

When I read the blurb for this book I knew I needed to read it. I wasn’t disappointed.

Suzanne van Rooyen writes an entirely believable future where AI androids are fighting for equality.

Tyri loves playing violin despite her mother’s insistence that she should forget music and follow the path of science like herself. Tyri has no intention of abandoning her music, so, when she gets into the Junior Philharmonic Orchestra she feels as though her dreams are coming true.

There she meets Quinn, a handsome violinist with exceptional skill.

Quinn, a Quasar android with a love of classical music and a desire to be more human, has earned his seat in the orchestra without admitting that he is a robot and has to guard his secret carefully. Tensions throughout Skandia are high between humans and robots, and soon, Quinn gets caught between the worlds of rogue androids and the humans he admires.

Both Quinn and Tyri are thrown headlong into a robotic revolution that neither of them wanted to be a part of.

Van Rooyen knows how to write smart, politically-savvy teens who are concerned with the larger world as much as themselves. Her writing feels authentic and well-paced, submerging me into the world of the book and making me care so much about these characters as they sacrificed and learned hard truths.

Despite the political revolution the story is set in, it is essentially a story about identity and discovering who you are – a preoccupation that all of us have in our teen years. I loved watching the characters – human and non-human – wrestle with this and discover incredible things about themselves and each other.

Reading the book as an adult though, I’ll admit to asking myself what feelings and thoughts I have about AI technology. I wondered how I might respond to the idea of machines being given autonomy, to the idea of a machine becoming truly sentient. I have mixed feelings about this in the real world and I can’t say the book solved those quandaries for me but I still loved being faced with them through this cool story.

I highly recommend it!

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