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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Innervate by Liza Bec is a short story told from two points of view. Sarah is a brain that has been engineered, and as an engineered brain, Sarah is expected to be perfect. And Sarah is perfect in many, many ways. Sarah the brain learns quickly and becomes a source of pride to her musician-loving owners. Unfortunately, a flaw in Sarah's construction is revealed when Sarah begins making musical mistakes, and, as a result, Sarah transitions to obscure and contemporary tunes to hide the bits that are out of tune. When this proves impossible, Sarah returns to the second point of view character, Hans, whose quality control measures are secondary to a much more lucrative side hustle.
Liza Bec has crafted a wonderfully engrossing story with Innervate that packs a huge punch despite its compact size. The underlying theme is neurodisability and the lengths we go to cover this up, as well as a plot so well developed that proves how amazingly talented and perceptive we are even as neurodivergent or with a neurodisability. It took me some time to piece together what made Hans part of the puzzle beyond a superficial fiddle. Still, the external forces that impact internal growth and acceptance are as important a part of the journey as anything we do ourselves. The writing is clean, tight, and engaging. The narrative is pitch-perfect and I didn't even realize until I finished the story that it is a narrative in its entirety. Overall, this is an excellent read. Very highly recommended.