“It’s because in my book, I say that robots as a species, albeit a new one, are as valuable as humans. I also say that robots, as a species, again, albeit a new species, are invested with great, inner power. Like all such groups, they must be watched, kept in check, and if necessary, actively restrained in their quest for advancement.”
Excerpt from Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider
So technically this site is not a book review site. But like most writers/authors, traditionally published, self published or not published at all, I read a lot. I used to read a lot more than I do nowadays, but the whole writing my own book (or books) thing has robbed me of much of my once-precious “free time.” But I still do read. To a lesser extent. And I’ve been advertising this book on both this site and over on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 2.0” for over a month. I just finished it last night and I feel obligated to post a review of it on here. Why? Because there’s more out there than just ENDWORLD – A Novel. There are other authors, “indie” or otherwise, that are writing and publishing quality material every day. Eye Candy is no exception. Plus, Ryan’s been a big help to me over the last month plus. The least I can do is tell you, my followers how much I enjoyed his most recent novel.
I’m new to Ryan’s writing. Pre-Eye Candy, I’d only ever read one of his books (A Shadow Passed Over the Son, the first book in the Go-Kids Series; book two is next on my “to read” list). Despite a basic familiarity with his work, I knew before I started reading it that I was in for something different. The Go-Kids Series is YA (“Young Adult”), and Eye Candy was billed as Ryan’s first post-YA novel. So it was, for lack of a better term, a literary anomaly. Well? It’s an anomaly no more. I finished it late last night/early this morning and my rating? Five Stars. I loved it. Here’s why (portions of this review culled from my Amazon and Goodreads reviews):
Generally the phrase “refreshingly traditional” is an oxymoron. Most things that are traditional are not refreshing, i.e. they’ve been overdone. Such is not the case with Eye Candy, which works as a highly effective extension of the future first envisioned by Issac Asimov in his Robot Series. Yes, Asimov. I went there. As many of you who know me know I heart Asimov. His Foundation Series was one of the main influences of my own writing. I’ve always considered my robots, i.e. the robots of ENDWORLD – A Novel a hybrid of the Terminator and R Daneel Olivaw (one of the main protagonists in not just the Foundation Series, but in his Robot Series, as well. See HERE). The world portrayed by Ryan in Eye Candy is a logical “next step” in the evolution of not just R Daneel, but the literary robot. In his world, the Three Laws of Robotics exist and are still adhered to, but robots are becoming more and more human-like with each, passing day. In case you don’t know what Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are, they are:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
They’re incredibly important to the plot of Eye Candy, so if you’ve never read Asimov and you’re going to pick this novel up on my recommendation, the least I can do is give you a primer. Anywhos, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I’ll just say that the proverbial line between “real” and “not real” is very thin, and you, the reader, will be left pondering that very question, even after a handful of twists and turns and a firm resolution that I, admittedly, didn’t see coming. I heart twists and turns almost as much as I heart Asimov. Kudos for keeping me guessing until the end, Ryan.
Eye Candy is more than just a story about robots, though. It has a message. And while it’s not overly laden with philosophical and spiritual themes, i.e. it’s not preachy (as much as I heart Asimov he did get preachy from time to time; not “Planet of the Apes” preachy, but semi-so), there’s just enough in the dialogue between the primary characters–characters like Danny Olivaw (nice shout out), Candace “Candy” Calvin and the myriad of other characters that populate Schneider’s futuristic LA–to keep the closet academic in me thinking. As for what that message is? In the words of Professor River Song, “spoilers.” I’m not going to give you any. But I promise that the message does not detract in the slightest from the story. The plot is well-developed and moves at a brisk pace, even for a 450 plus page, freestanding novel. And the culmination of that plot? Wow. If you like action, you’re really going to like the last 15-20% of the novel. Prepare to be dazzled. I was. I believe in the credo that “no amount of blowing sh*t up is too much.” Apparently, Ryan does, too.
Like I said before, I’d only ever read one of Ryan’s books pre-reading Eye Candy, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve fairly “gotten” his writing style. It is succinct and too the point without sacrificing description, and his reliance on dialogue to drive his story is very Asmiov-ian without being an overt rip-off of Asimov. In short? Eye Candy maintains a stamp that is distinctly his. I highly recommend it to the 18+ crowd. Ryan has made his bones as a YA author, but Eye Candy is not for that demographic. It stands as an incredibly strong foray into post-YA Sci-Fi. Interested? Grab your copy TODAY. Link to buy it HERE. And while you’re at it, be sure to check out his website HERE (www.authorryanschneider.com).
That’s all I’ve got, guys. Have a great day. Happy reading.