Author: Faith Gardner
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date Published: November 8, 2022
This is another great book in the Jolvix Episodes. Each can be read as a standalone. This one explores the not-so-distant future, when robots become lifelike companions, with perfectly smooth skin and anatomical correctness. For the Jagger adult kids, it’s a great surprise when their father purchases January, a frozen in time version of their mother who it was presumed committed suicide 10 years prior.
While January is still robot learning the nuances of language, she runs into her neighbor’s robot companion who has a complex view of life based on her longevity and readings of Emily Dickinson. They discuss their owners and the possibility of life outside the home.
In the meantime, in the setting of a Christmas time family reunion, drama ensues among the 4 children: Julianna (the peacekeeper), Jesse (troubled but the mom’s favorite), , a successful showoff, and , the most like her mother, still living in the guest house and living through addiction. They each have their own reason to believe their mother was murdered.
The best part of the book for me was how Gardner evokes both sympathy and fear through the characteristics she ascribes to January – a robotic inability to interpret things as other than black and white, along with our fear of the lengths with which tech can go wrong.
Thanks to NetGalley, Mirror House Press, and Booksprout for an advance readers copy.