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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
42
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 April 2017
excellent story, Couldn't put it down.
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on 18 April 2017
I enjoyed this book. Very well crafted and hard to put down. It made me ask questions about my own views on humanity.
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on 11 March 2017
As always, Matt Haig writes beautifully
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Audrey’s father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo – but he’s not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he’s determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

Well, here we are. The funny thing is, I was dreading and anticipating this one in equal measure. Its Matt Haig, author of “The Humans”, THAT book. So I was equal parts faith and panic before I started reading. The faithful side of my reading soul told me that whatever market it was aimed at Mr Haig would be incapable of writing a book that I didnt get absorbed into. The PANIC button in my brain kept saying “What if you don’t like it. How could you say. You couldnt say. You would have to leave the country. Heck you would have to leave the PLANET” Yes ok I’m a little weird. Its just the way I am. All the best people are you know…

Anyway as I am still here on planet Earth and not writing this review from Mars I think its safe to say that the faithful part of my soul was satisfied..and I’ll tell you a little bit about why. In two sections if you like. The first part being straight up review and the second part being me and mine.

Echo Boy tells the story of Audrey and Daniel – one a Human teenage girl and one an Echo – an artificial lifeform built for service – but Daniel is unique amongst Echo’s and when Audrey’s life falls apart, redemption may come from an unexpected place.

There are many themes woven seamlessly into the narrative – love, loss, the pursuit of power, the ethical arguments on scientific breakthroughs and what they can be used for, all wrapped up in a story about life. What it means to BE alive.

For Young Adult readers it has some familiar twists – Boy Meets Girl but heck it aint easy, a future world that is harsh yet recognizable, the bad guys, the good guys, and a classic battle to survive in an untenable environment. So as far as that goes you can tick all the boxes and say, yep, young readers are going to love this one. They have protagonists they can root for, a book adventure to be had, an easy flowing narrative that keeps you involved and both some emotional moments and some full on action..Everyone is happy. Not everyone will love it of course. I’m sure that there will be more “picky” reviews than mine popping up but I would have no hesitation in recommending it as a top notch example of Young Adult fiction that Adults can also get their teeth into. And that would usually be that. But this is me reading and Matt Haig writing soooooooo….

Lets talk about me. Its one of my favourite subjects. I bring a little bit of me to each of my reviews I hope and in this case its more important than ever that I do so. For me more than for anyone else. So bear with me…

Like Stephen King, Matt Haig is one of my absolute Idols when it comes to the written word, hence the Panic button and the faith and all those things that happened prior to me staying up until 3.30 am this morning reading this on and off, and getting up at stupid o’ clock on a Saturday morning to finish it. I knew without actually thinking about it that there would be something in there to feed my soul. I think every reader has a writer that does that for them. I have two. Oh lucky me. Truly.

This book is not The Humans. That kind of thing probably only happens once in a lifetime and I’ve had mine – but still, in a lot of ways it IS. About humanity anyway…and for that reason this one will also stay with me, just in different ways.

Every so often, in amongst the story and the action and the compelling fascinating tale, one character would think or say something that just spoke to the very living heart of me. Things that are FELT but not vocalised because they are hard to put into words. Mr Haig can do it though. Oh boy can he. And I now have a few more quotes added to my life rules that I took from “The Humans” that will help me in the darker moments that still plague me. To remember that to feel is to be alive. And to be alive is one of the most amazing gifts we have.

A Book is a Map…

So thank you Matt Haig. And thank you for the review copy via Netgalley.
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on 24 April 2014
Last year I read The Humans by Matt Haig and it left me questioning my own existence and raised so many unanswerable questions that I wondered if I’d ever be the same again. The Humans was an adult novel and upon realising Echo Boy was a teenage/YA book I was rather intrigued.
Echo Boy is set in a dystopian future where humans have become reliant on Echos. Echos are highly skilled robots, made to look like humans, and carry out everyday tasks for their owners. Humans are also reliant on advanced technology but our protagonist Audrey is not like all other teenagers. Her father is a sceptic and doesn’t believe in all the new technology. This would be fine, if her uncle wasn’t the leader of the Castle Empire – the biggest Echo manufacturer in England. When something terrible happens Audrey is left facing an uncertain future but, what she doesn’t count on, is meeting an Echo who might save her life.

Daniel is an echo – built to look like a human but devoid of human emotion. Yet something about him isn’t quite right and he begins to feel ‘things’. He begins to feel emotions for others and soon he is left questioning where he too belongs in the world.

One thing I love about Matt is his ability to construct an in-depth and strikingly accurate social commentary between the lines of his books. Whilst this novel was a compelling and entertaining read about a robot and a human, there were far greater messages and ideas behind his words.

The notion of technology taking over was apparent from the beginning and it stirred up many further questions about our reliance on all things technological and how we are starting to become lazy as a race. It made me question my own dependence on technology and simultaneously ask what would happen if one day all technology failed – what would we do then?

Haig also explores the whole ‘coming of age’ theme and cleverly integrates the idea of peer pressure and conforming to social norms into the plot too. Does being different make you wrong? Is it right to do what everyone else does? He also touches on the subject of love and how it can span genders, races etc…it doesn’t have to be confined to just one man and one woman.

But perhaps the most interesting and enthralling strand of this book was the idea of what it is to be human. Haig attempts to shed light on the human condition – how we need emotions, that life is about experiencing joy and pain, that perfection doesn’t exist and doesn’t need to exist, that what we experience as humans is what makes us human.

Haig’s characters were full of strength, courage and personality which really helped me to form reliable opinions of them and led me to hate a few of them! Audrey and Daniel were just fantastic narrators and as we follow them on their journeys, I couldn’t help but fall in love with them both and everything they stood for and represented. Whilst I am walking away from this book with a feeling of contentedness and am happy to have been part of Audrey and Daniel’s story, I am also walking away with such a renewed view of life and what it is to be alive. And that is Matt Haig’s strength.

Haig consistently explores what it is to be human and leaves readers with questions that no one has the answers to.
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on 30 April 2014
**I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley to read & review. This is a 100% honest review.**

Audrey moves into her uncle Alex's mansion after the murder of her parents. She is forced to surround herself with the things that killed them, Echos. She has to deal with the grief of loosing them and the book follows her as she discovers the truth behind their deaths. But her preconceived ideas of what makes us human is about the be questioned when she meets a peculiar Echo named Daniel.

Echo Boy is told from two separate points of view. The first is Audrey Castle, the daughter of an ani-Echo fundamentalist and niece to one of the biggest Echo manufactures - you see the problem? She's a 15 year-old who throughout the story has to deal with the murder of her parents, and stricken with grief has to adapt to the new world around her. There were moments when I wanted to shake her into existence as she almost gives up on the world but Audrey's strength throughout is something to be admired. It takes a special kind of person to make some of the decisions she has to make.

The second point of view is of an Echo named Daniel. Technically he's only a couple of months old but was made to look like a sixteen-year-old boy, with blonde hair and blue eyes. But here's the thing, Daniel wasn't built the same way other Echo's are, he's different. He's more human that the others, and that's a dangerous thing to be. The question is, is it dangerous for him or for the human's surrounding him?

I'm not usually one for multiple points of view, but this is written so effortlessly I couldn't imagine it only have Audrey or Daniels experiences. It needs both characters to tell their stories.

This book is just.. wow! The story is constantly moving forward and the emotional messages behind the words are intense. This book covers not just what it really means to be human but what it is too love and the actions pride, greed and spite can lead people too. I think a reason I loved this book as much as I did was because the love story - which was very sweet - wasn't the main focus. When reading you knew it was there, you knew it was important but not to the point where the two character's merge into one. They had their own embedded stories that had too be told, and that wasn't over shadowed by an epic love story - which is what happens in a lot of books.

Echo Boy is gritty at times and sweet at others. You feel for the character's and it's such an easy book to get lost in.
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Matt Haig is becoming one of my favourite authors and I was very intrigued by Echo Boy. Set in a not quite dystopic future where the seas have risen, life is less than sacred and jobs are even harder to find unless you are an echo unit, that is, a lifelike AI made of flesh and blood. Echo units are considered to be a bit like marmite. People love them or hate them, and even those who like them often treat them with utter disdain. The book begins with our main character, Audrey, retelling the tale of her parents brutal murder at the hands of their newly purchased echo unit. A murder that was supposed to be impossible. However, as the story unfolds the truth becomes apparent with the help of Daniel, a very special echo unit.
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on 17 April 2014
Sarah: Mind Log 001

I woke up today not really knowing where I was and what I was meant to do. From what I can remember I had just spent the evening in bed finishing this book. I really thought I was going to read it in one sitting but I couldn't. I have kids who like to stay awake in the school holidays. I have to pick my battles.

What can I say - another fantastic read from Matt Haig. A poignant futuristic and yet very intriguing story about families and how things may not always seem to be what they appear. Set in 2115, I can only assume he has travelled forward in time as the settings and finer details of life then shine through and really make you wonder if we will end up like that. The robot revolution beckons and we have no idea! Loyalty, betrayal, love, angst, terror - all thrown into one neatly packaged book. It has been a long time since I have wanted to stay up into the wee small hours to read a book and it was great to join that club again. I forgot the sound a book makes when it lands on the floor after falling out of your sleepy hands.

I sighed when I read the last page - surely this can't be the end of the road for Audrey & Daniel, Matt? Encore?
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This YA novel didn’t quite transcend the genre to make me really love it, but I did enjoy it on the whole, and certainly I found it an interesting and thought-provoking read. It’s well written and well-paced, with a convincing storyline and credible characters – both human and non-human. And that’s very much the point – what happens when we create artificial intelligence with the potential to think for itself. The main protagonist is a feisty teenage girl who has to face just such a scenario following the death of her parents. The book is set some time in the future but in a world that is still recognisable even if technology has made great strides. It’s the sort of sci-fi I like, when nothing seems too outlandish and the reader feels that it could all happen just as described. An excellent piece of storytelling indeed, imaginative, dark and disturbing and a real page-turner.
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on 1 March 2015
I love dystopian fantasy, so this was right up my street. I was completely hooked after the first couple of pages and read in 2 days.

Audrey is fifteen and lives with her anti-technology parents. When tragedy strikes, she is thrown into a dangerous world where the enemies are everywhere.

Daniel is an ECHO (android) but doesn't quite fit in. If he is to survive, he needs to hide his individuality.

It is fast paced and the dual narrative flicks nicely between past and present and develops the two characters well.

Lover of Divergent/Hunger Games should give this a go. I'm looking forward to working my way through Haig's other texts.
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