Book Review: I Heart Robot by Xan van Rooyen

When Tyri is accepted into the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra as a violinist, she's excited, despite her mother's admonitions, because music is what she loves most. When Quinn is accepted, he's excited too, but for different reasons---he wants to use violin to show humans that androids aren't that different from them and deserve rights too. As problems between robots and humans worsen, and as Tyri and Quinn get closer, they'll both have to figure out what they believe is right.

Book Review: I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, young adult, androids
Title: I Heart Robot
Pages: 246
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

I’ve read multiple books about androids fighting for the same rights as humans, about whether androids can feel emotions, etc., but I think this book did it in a way that was really well done and maybe more thought-provoking than the others I’ve read so far. It really delved into the issues and had me questioning what I believed and weighing arguments on both sides. Part of the reason for that was probably because we got to see the perspective of all sides, not just the side supporting androids. I don’t mean there were a bunch of POV characters (there were only two), just that we got to hear from characters who were on the extreme for androids and others who were on the extreme for humans (I’m talking extreme to the point of violence and killing) as well as characters who fell at various different points in the middle. That was really the shining point of this book, how thought-provoking it was.

The other thing that really stood out to me was how realistic the characters, their dialogue, their actions, etc. felt. A lot of it was kind of low-key in a way that was real, rather than dramatic or extreme the way books often tend to be. And speaking of the characters, Tyri and Quinn were both good characters—not completely perfect but generally good and likeable. And Rurik and Kit, while not quite as good or likeable, were interesting. They were the most flawed and represented the more extreme beliefs, but they both had good character arcs and got some redemption by the end.

As for the relationships among characters, I think the chemistry between Tyri and Quinn could’ve been a little stronger. I really liked the relationship between Tyri and Rurik though because it was realistic and believable as one of those relationships that’s struggling and in which the people just aren’t compatible and are growing apart, regardless of what their feelings are and how much they may want the relationship to work. I like seeing different types of relationships and struggles in books. I would’ve liked to see the possible chemistry between Quinn and Kit explored a bit more too since I also found their relationship interesting. But the romance wasn’t really the point of the story anyway.

Another thing I liked was the robot versions of human things, like how they got drunk by using some sort of program that kind of scrambled their code in a certain way.

Music is another theme throughout the book, alongside the android stuff, that some people might really enjoy, since both Tyri and Quinn played violin. Quinn even ended up with a sort of synesthesia that made music and sounds have colors and smells.

I did see the twist coming, but it’s really not the type of twist that affects your enjoyment of the story, so that’s not a big deal. And I liked the ending overall. Important things were wrapped up, characters got their arcs, and things were good without being too closed and perfect.

So overall, this was an enjoyable, well-written book with realistic characters and a thought-provoking premise about androids!


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28 thoughts on “Book Review: I Heart Robot by Xan van Rooyen

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  1. verushka

    I have Bladerunner on the brain, so this is actually kind of perfect timing. I’m impressed how well the author has treated the human vs android dynamic and relationship. That’s really hard to do for me, and sometimes I feel like it’s all been done before too.

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sounds like a good book. I haven’t read a whole lot of books about androids but I can see it being good getting both sides of the argument for the whole android rights situation. The fact that music is a theme which runs through the book does appeal to me, though. I am a huge fan of books and music so I always love when they get combined. And realistic characters? This does sound like a good read even if you saw the twist coming (sometimes I don’t mind that, as long as the story itself was strong as well, even without the twist).

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve read a few, and they tend to be similar in a lot of ways, so yeah, seeing more sides to the issue made this one stand out. I don’t really know anything about music (other than I listen to it lol), so that’s always interesting.

  3. S. J. Pajonas

    I’m so glad you liked this one. I remember when it first came out (I know this is a re-release) how I wanted to read it. I like this author a lot as we’ve had many interactions and she’s a wonderful person, so I’m not surprised that her books are lovely too.

  4. Olivia Roach

    Yes I usually find those kind of books more thought provoking. Having all the different emotions… it really brings it all together and we get to see and really understand how one situation can affect others differently! You’ve been reading a lot of three-ish stars books lately.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, seeing how it affects all the different characters really has more of an impact! Yeah, I’ve noticed that this whole year has been me reading a lot of books that are 3.5ish, good or decent but not GREAT or amazing.

  5. sjhigbee

    This one sounds really intriguing – thank you for a thoughtful review exploring what sounds like a really intelligent examination of this aspect of technology that we seem to be sleepwalking towards…

    1. Kristen Burns

      It did a great job exploring the android vs. humans thing! And yes, as scary as it seems to me, we probably will end up with human-like androids at some point.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Even better was that, in order to celebrate, his friend, who was also a robot, liked to not only get drunk but also go party with the homeless people. I just found that really funny, like, what a random way to celebrate good news lol. Thanks!

  6. Lola

    I like the sound of this book and that’s great you also get to see the point of view of the other side. It sounds very thought provoking how you hear from all kinds of different characters. And how it’s still only written from two points of view, but you do get to know the other characters opinions too. That sounds nice how the feel of the book is more low key rather than extreme and dramatic. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s also nice to find a book that has a more low key feel at times.

    I like how you describe the characters as realistic, that’s always a good thing in my opinion. Too bad the chemistry could’ve been a bit stronger. I had expected from the blurb the focus to be a bit more on the romance than what I understand from your review. Good to know that knowing the twist ahead of time didn’t diminish your enjoyment of the book. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, I liked how it stuck to only two POVs but still managed to explore all the different sides of the issues. And I agree, sometimes I do enjoy the dramaticness of books when it’s done well, but I also enjoy that low-key realism as well.

      The romance, like, helped drive the plot? But the focus was really the robot rights and whatnot. Thanks!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Agreed! It’s just that, I feel like all the other android books I’ve read have only shown the pro-android side and didn’t show the possible arguments on the non-android side.

  7. La La in the Library

    This sounds interesting. I like the music aspect of it, especially seeing that this whole machine AI composed music topic debate has been popping up a lot on music sites. Thanks for the heads up about this book, and for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  8. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    hummmmmm.. it’s a big mystery why you haven’t yet LISTEN to your blog spouse and read The Lunar Chronicles if you enjoy this kind of stories!!! Of all people! My own spouse doesn’t listen to me. Go figure 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Gahhhh I have no excuse other than there are so many damn books out there that I am overwhelmed by my TBR. But hey, YOU still haven’t even read Helldivers 2!

  9. Evelina

    This actually sounds great. I’ve never read anything that touches these topics! Or rather, centers around them. Despite being a sci-fi fan! So this is a very interesting find.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Really? I’ve read a few, which is why this one surprised me with how well it actually handled the topic and thus stood out from the others. It’s definitely thought-provoking!

  10. Jessica

    That sounds like a good book, but Overdrive doesn’t have it. I had been reading the Odd Thomas book series by Dean Knootz and the Maximum Ride book series by James Patterson. Some of the Maximum Ride books dealt with environment type issues that were thought-provoking. I agreed with James Patterson on some of the issues. One of the Odd Thomas books deals with time travel and it was very thought-provoking so much so it kinda made my head hurt.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Bummer that you can’t get it from Overdrive :-/ Sounds like you’ve found some other pretty great thought-provoking books though! Time travel can definitely be one of those brain-hurting kinda things. I tend to avoid time travel books.