Author: Faith Gardner
Publisher: Mirror House Press
Date Published: July 23, 2022
I almost didn’t read this book because I thought the AI theme would make it too sci-fi-ish. Boy was I wrong! This is about a machine called Maxine, sort of an Alexa on steroids.
Rowena has an almost 1-year old, a mostly absent husband, and Maxine. Skeptical at first, Rowena comes to rely on Maxine as her machine learning becomes all encompassing. As her husband works late, or comes to bed with his AI goggles on, Rowena begins to trust Maxine more and more. She gives the little glowing machine access to most of her life – emails, phone, bank accounts….and comes to think of Maxine as a sentient being.
Maxine gives Rowena insights about her marriage, with advice and predictions. If Maxine is right 9 out of 10 times, can Rowena trust her? What if she’s right 3 out of 5 times?
There are all the tropes we are used to with recent books – possibly unreliable narrator, gaslighting, mental illness, cold mother-in-law and more – but Gardner has handled them brilliantly.
I wish the ending had gone a different way, but despite that, I give this book 5 stars for it’s unique storyline, fast paced narrative, and excellent writing.
Thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for an advance reader’s copy that I read in a day.