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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"Was he the only person alive on the planet? But that was the point with AI; you weren’t supposed to be able to tell the difference. It wasn’t intelligence, they were pretending to be alive, designed to deceive for the benefit of humans, who were cocooned from the pain of life by artificial life whether they wanted it or not." In The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane, Julian Jarrad is a lonely live-in math tutor hired by Governor Victor Renault to teach his children. He bonds with Renault’s wife, Esis, who is as distraught, depressed and as lonely as him. The relationship soon turns into an affair that leads to a path of madness－one that involves a "tragic reprieve in the arms of a sexbot."
Mark Lingane's The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror is an eerie glimpse of the world’s close future in regards to A.I. and sexbots. Memorable characters Julian and Esis are pitiful souls, trapped in a lonely, miserable life that is burdened with the expectations of others. That said, Esis is an enigma, rebelling against her fate in a gilded cage with a cynical attitude and drowning her sorrows in alcohol. Meanwhile, it's easy to root for Julian when he finds some way to change his life and to start his climb up the social ladder. The clear prose and dialogue sometimes dance between a poetic and a straightforward manner, delivering the "techno-gothic tragedy" plot that ends in a twisted Narcissus-inspired conclusion for the star-crossed lovers. It's a stark reminder of how far society will change; progressing technologically but degrading morally. Despite its disturbing, sad, and tragic nature, this is an intriguing and haunting read.