The first of a planned trilogy by recording artist Curtis, this debut novel continues themes from his early song of the same title.
“There once was a boy / Who was made, not created” begins the song on “8Bit Heart” (2010), Curtis’ first album. Continuing the narrative of a created boy is Isaak, adopted into a family in a tiny Ozarks town and now kicked out of the house by his adoptive mother, who sees him as a monster. Isaak has always felt disconnected and alone, and now he must begin a journey in search of himself. It turns out he’s a Robot, created, he is told, in a secret project to create a race of synthetic humans meant to be “soldiers, designed to spare human casualties in future wars.” As he and a band of allies in the Underground are pursued by Sheriffs intent on reclaiming them, Isaak realizes he has unusual powers that make him dangerous. Isaak’s frequently overwrought first-person narrative is complemented by related stories that introduce other characters and lend history and context but detract from the pull of his story, making it difficult for readers to be fully involved in it and its themes of humanity, love, and connectedness. Isaak does not describe himself, though he does describe other characters' appearances, including skin color.
A fascinating premise and plenty of action will attract fans who have patience for all the many extra threads. (Fiction. 14-18)